Reading

Poetry 180 Brings the Love of Language to High School Classrooms

When the Covid-19 pandemic took off in March, the poet and creator of Poetry 180 Billy Collins started reading a poem every weekday on Facebook Live. The readings—mostly of contemporary poems, peppered with the occasional classic by Shakespeare or John Donne—have been a surprise hit, with 47,000 followers. One woman in Paris left a comment saying that she listens in bed before she goes to sleep, while another in Australia joins with her morning coffee.…

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How Reading Aloud Helps You Bond with Your Kids

We’ve all heard about the benefits of learning to read quietly and independently. A big part of learning at school is all about reading, but it’s not always easy to find time for more reading at home. Families have busy schedules filled with after-school activities and homework. Plus — let’s be honest — with all the tech at kids’ fingertips and school days already filled with required reading, it can be hard convincing kids that…

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Living Poets Make English Class More Exciting and Inclusive

The importance of teaching living poets can be highlighted by Amanda Gorman. When the young Black poet in a canary yellow coat dazzled audiences at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, high school teacher Melissa Alter Smith was ready. Using a lesson plan from a friend and fellow teacher, she’d prepared her students to watch Amanda Gorman’s performance and analyze her words. Other teachers took notice, too, and additional lesson plans about “The Hill We Climb” circulated…

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7 Books To Help Address Tough Subjects With Kids

2020 was — to borrow a phrase from a popular kid’s book — a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. That means having to discuss a lot of tough subjects with our kids, and for parents, one of the year’s hardest jobs was trying to explain the state of the world in a way children can understand. “We are living in challenging times,” says children’s book author Matt de la Peña — and kids are…

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How to Teach Close Reading to Elementary Students

Addressing the differing needs of students can make teaching reading a daunting task. Students are expected to have a deep understanding of what they read and provide answers grounded in text. One way for students to interact with the text is through close reading, which can become a powerful classroom tool for fiction and nonfiction texts across grade levels. Teaching close reading to younger students is very doable–here’s how. SETTING THE STAGE At the beginning…

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10 Ways to Use Color-Coding in the Classroom

Color-coding strategies are fun, but they also wield a deeper value–colors can have a positive impact on memory and attention. Using color-coding is a great way to provide scaffolding for students who need it and engage those who don’t. As a bonus, it can be applied to every aspect of ELA! READING 1. Want students to analyze a text? Ask them to read with color. This color-coding strategy helps them to delineate between a main…

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Here’s the Key to Getting Students Talking About Reading

Here’s the thing about getting students talking about reading: you need a concrete place to start. As in journal response prompts to respond to a text, the stems below are created to help students better understand what they’re reading. Because the focus is on critical thinking and critical reading rather than mere ‘talking,’ I left out more obvious stems like ‘I agree…’ or ‘I disagree…’ or ‘I like…’ or ‘I dislike…’ because opinions are useful…

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Top 10 Best Children’s Books of 2020

As the year comes to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the best children’s books of 2020. Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris (picture book) One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: they would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground! This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned…

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13 Ways Schools Can Promote Literacy Through Independent Reading

In the age of modern literacy, independent reading and student choice can easily take a back seat to having students take on more challenging texts. Motivation and choice play key roles in successful literary programs, however, and strong readers are those who read a wide variety of genres and text types. In the quest to build capable readers, promoting independent, self-selected reading remains key. Creating ravenous, lifelong readers doesn’t just happen; it takes a school-wide…

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Look Out for These Signs Your Child Could Be Dyslexic

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability in reading. Dyslexic kids have trouble reading accurately and fluently. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and writing. Raising a child with dyslexia is a journey. As you move through it, you’ll gain a lot of knowledge about your child’s challenges with reading—and about the many ways you can help her succeed at school and in life. If you’re concerned your child may be dyslexic, here…

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