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Resolutions from the KidLit Community

While I’m not big on making my own new year’s resolutions, I do love to take time to reflect on my year of reading and plan what to read next! These bookish resolutions from the kidlit community — compiled by my friend Madelyn Rosenberg — offer lots of ideas for titles to read and a great glimpse of the goals writers set for themselves.

Winter Break Wonders

This may be the season for celebrations, family travel, and out-of-town guests, but it is also a great time of year to engage kids in all kinds of joyful and meaningful learning experiences. To help make the most of winter break, Reading Rockets’ sister project, Start with a Book provides parents and caring adults with ideas and activities for fun and meaningful interactions around books and things of kid interest.

The Wimpy Kid Meets the National Ambassador

At An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville, MA, Gene sits down for a lively conversation with Wimpy Kid author (and bookstore owner) Jeff Kinney.

As a kid, Kinney was a prankster and a devoted reader of his sister's Judy Blume books. He later discovered fantasy (The Hobbitt, The Lord of the Rings, and the Xanth series), comics (The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes), and the genius of Carl Barks (Donald Duck comics).

Summer Harvest

How was your summer?

Young girl in the garden

Like most summers, it went by way too quickly for me. But there are a couple of things I think will be helpful to do to preserve this summer’s bounty of reading and learning.

Summer Writing: It’s Cool to Collaborate

Pairing fiction and nonfiction is a great way to engage readers. So is pairing a book with an activity or experience to extend excitement or enhance learning. But there are other kinds of great pairings when it comes to books. Here are Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang to tell you about how they paired up as co-authors and how working with a partner can help get kids excited about writing this summer.

How Do You Make a Good Reader? Just the Basics

Teacher question:

What makes good readers? What are kids lacking making them not so good readers?

Shanahan's response:

Jason Reynolds: The Beauty of Words Is Magic

Gene sits down with award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds. They talk about the unusual story structure in All American Boys, the inspiration for the book, and how writing it emerged from a deep friendship (full of “uncomfortable, healthy conversations”) with his co-author, Brendan Kiely. With his book Ghost, Reynolds wanted to explore the whole concept of “running” — and what it means to run toward, or run away, from something.

Disciplinary Literacy: The Basics

A slew of letters seeking ideas on disciplinary literacy:

Teacher 1: The Common Core highlights that every teacher is a reading and writing teacher in their discipline. I think this idea is important in combination with the best practices for content area learning. My main interest in this is based on helping students who struggle to learn to read in early grade levels, and, as a result, can quickly get behind when "reading to learn" in the secondary grades.

How Should We Combine Reading and Writing?

Teacher question:

So today I was conducting a workshop. I was told the teachers wanted information about reading/writing connections. Easy, right? Then I was told that they departmentalize K-6! At every grade they have a reading teacher and a different writing teacher. Any thoughts, comments, best practices, or research that would go against or support this practice? I know what I believe to be correct, but would love to have your opinions in this conversation. 

Shanahan's response: 

Two National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature, Sitting and Chatting

American-born Chinese Gene Yang sits down with Chinese-born American Katherine Paterson to talk about the books that most influenced them as readers and writers. Paterson — the child of Christian missionaries — spent her early years in Huai'an and Shanghai. Her first language was Chinese, but the books that she remembers most vividly from her childhood were the works of British writers such as A.A. Milne and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Pages

"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney