In this age of rigor, text complexity, and higher standards for younger and younger readers—why do wordless picture books continue to be so popular?
Wordless, or minimal-text, picture books:
- enable children to explore the art of storytelling and world-building
- are a wonderful medium for expression and creative thought
- are a natural introduction to inferencing, a metacognitive skill that is often taught in the later grades
- help readers practice reading facial cues and studying visual context clues for vocabulary and plot development
- engage visual learners or visually-motivated readers
- alleviate struggling readers who may feel overwhelmed by dense text and long print sections
- offer a launch pad to a lifelong love of other visually-rich formats, including comics and graphic novels
Why choose a wordless, or minimal-text, picture book for your next storytime?
Summer is quickly approaching, which means more time to read picture books aloud to the children in your lives! Below we’ve compiled a list of amazing multicultural books to read aloud to children. And maybe they can even read aloud to you! Continue reading
Kick off the end of the school year with our beautiful printable 2018 Diverse Summer Reading List for Grades PreK-8! This list provides engaging and entertaining suggestions to build off of summer suggested reading lists from your school or library. These books are fun ways to start a great summer of nonstop reading! Our list includes both fiction and nonfiction, bilingual Spanish/English titles, and a diverse range of cultures—in other words, the right book for every reader! The collections are available on our website for purchase:
Summer Reading Collection Grades PreK-2
Summer Reading Collection Grades 3-5
Summer Reading Collection Grades 6-8 Continue reading
Last October was the release of Ahimsa by New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant middle grade novel.
In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use “ahimsa”—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government.
Accompanying this title is the Ahimsa Teacher’s Guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions on the Indian freedom movement, colonialism, civil disobedience, and the connection to the civil rights movement in the United States. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve shared a few prereading questions, discussion questions, and resources from the Ahimsa teacher’s guide. Continue reading
In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. In January, we explored goal setting with students to start off the new year. Today, educator Lindsay Barrett offers a culturally responsive approach to Valentine’s Day in the classroom.
In this blog post, our Literacy Specialist, Katie Potter, discusses how educators can use texts, like Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, to keep lessons fresh and engaging.
Out with the old, in with the new? How about—supplement and complement the old with the new?
When I read our middle grade novel, Step up to the Plate, Maria Singh, I was immediately reminded of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson that I read with my fifth-grade literature circle in NYC (and in middle school almost 20 years ago!) and the challenges teachers face to make required core texts fresh and relevant to students, especially when a text (no matter how many awards) may “feel” old to students.
In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. In November, we explored discussing Thanksgiving in the classroom. Today, educator Lindsay Barrett offers a culturally responsive approach to goal setting with students to start off the new year. Continue reading
Last month was the release of I Am Alfonso Jones written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. In this book, Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.
When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.
Accompanying our title is the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions of race, racism, and social justice in the classroom. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve gathered a few prereading questions, discussion questions, activities, and resources from the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide.
In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. Last month we explored bridging the familiar and unfamiliar in literature discussions for second grade. This month, educator Lindsay Barrett offers guidance on culturally responsive teaching in third grade by going beyond “The Single Story”.
Which best describes why you are reading this post:
A.) Your child is a struggling or reluctant reader
B.) You are looking to refresh your family’s bedtime reading routine
C.) You are trying to restart your family’s reading routine
D.) You are trying to create a family reading routine