Content Area Literacy

July 24, 2015

From a reader:

Any thoughts on top 2 or 3 literacy concepts on which you would focus librarians? Grades 4-8?

My response:

Let me say how happy I am that you are available to students and teachers. As I make my way across the country I find fewer and fewer school-based librarians. Unfortunately, you appear to be part of a...

July 16, 2015

Carol and her family share their gardening adventures. They learn the virtue of patience when it comes to gardening with some help from a book called And Then It’s Spring, and experience the satisfaction of growing their own fruits and vegetables from seed.

The other day, Addie asked me, “Mommy, why was there a tomato warning?”

“A tomato warning?” I repeated, confused...

July 10, 2015

When I was 8, there were two boys, Chris and Paul. They were both tow-heads, gentle and quiet, with loping walks; and both could draw beautifully… if a teacher struggled to draw a straight line or a round circle on the chalkboard, she’d ask Chris or Paul, who could do it, seemingly without effort.

Oh, and by the way, they were identical twins. I couldn’t tell Chris and Paul apart. Few...

July 8, 2015

Addie explores the idea of becoming President. With a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, and a candid “what if I were President” interview with her mom, we get to see the world through the eyes of a five and half year old.

About a month ago, Addie came home from school, and said to me, “Mom, you can become President.”

“OK, why is that?”

“Because you have to be 35 to...

June 9, 2015

Carol goes bug hunting with her three-year-old son Taylor, and realizes a great adventure can be had right at home, alongside bug-themed books and apps.

Our bug exploration started on Taylor’s last day of pre-school. As a parting gift, his teachers had put together a summer care package for the kids, a giant green bucket filled with goodies to use during the summer. To Taylor’...

June 1, 2015

In Carol’s first blog post about her summer adventures with her kids, she uses the Start with a Book site for the first time. She shares the fun times (and mishap) they have exploring a topic Addie is learning about in school, money.

For our first Start with a Book adventure, we explored the topic of money. Addie’s learning about quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies in...

May 18, 2015

This is it! Our last Laura Ingalls Wilder landmark — her beloved home at Rocky Ridge Farm. It seems fitting to end our Little Journey here, where Laura and Almanzo ended their own wanderings in 1894.

The Wilders originally purchased 40 acres in the heart of the Ozark hills. Their success with poultry, apples...

March 23, 2015

Would you add some thoughts about visual literacy, that is, questioning the artist/illustrator in the same way we are questioning the author/text … prior to analyzing the text. Thank you.

I’ve been carrying this question around for a while, trying to think up a good answer.

On the one hand, I’ve never been a big fan of “visual literacy.” It’s not that I’m insensitive to...

March 16, 2015

So the woman who runs my local children’s book store told me that more and more parents of young children are asking for “nonfiction beginning readers” because “that’s what Common Core wants.” Really? In kindergarten and first grade? Aren’t beginning readers supposed to develop their decoding and word recognition by reading simple stories (the ones populated by talking pigs).

...

March 9, 2015

Russell Freedman was raised by parents who were involved with books and authors, so perhaps it is not surprising that he was attracted to writing. It is fortunate for readers of all ages that he was ultimately drawn to it as a full-time career.

Although Russell Freedman has written about a range of topics, he is best known for his narrative nonfiction in history and biography. He...

March 2, 2015

On the Little Journey, both Avery and Janet had a special interest in schools where Laura studied or taught since Avery has always loved to play school and Janet has taught students at all levels — from early elementary to graduate school. Janet writes below about the striking differences and not so surprising similarities we found between the schoolhouses in De Smet and those of today....

February 17, 2015

I would like your thoughts on some instructional practices that I am seeing an increase in amongst the schools that I work with What do you have to say about decreasing or eliminating science/social studies instruction for those students who have not met proficiency in reading (as determined by a screener or other assessment tool) to allow for RTI time?

We all deal with...

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"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book." —

J.K. Rowling