Tag Archives: reading

Help Your Students & Families Find the Best Summer Learning Opportunities

You’ve been their teacher for nearly ten months. It seems like only September that a new gaggle  of hungry learners entered your classroom. What a journey it has been!

Summer is fast approaching, which means: Continue reading

President Obama Announces ConnectED Library Challenge and #BooksforAll Project

Every child deserves the chance to learn and thrive in an environment that is enriched by the latest technology. Two years ago President Obama announced ConnectED, a signature initiative focused on transforming teaching and learning through digital connectivity and content.  Today, building on the progress made to date, at the Anacostia Library in Washington, D.C., the President will announce two new efforts to strengthen learning opportunities by improving access to digital content and to public libraries: new eBooks commitments and the ConnectED Library Challenge.  LEE & LOW BOOKS is excited to be a part of this new program!

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What is Día de los niños/Día de los Libros? 5 Questions for Pat Mora

Día de los niños/Día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) is an annual celebration of books and literacy that takes place each year on our near April 30. The American Library Association says:

Día is a nationally recognized initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. It is a daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures.

Pat MoraDía’s founder, and one of its biggest proponents, is award-winning author Pat Mora. We asked her 5 questions about the holiday and how to celebrate it:

What is bookjoy and how do you hope Día will cultivate it in young/early readers?

I coined the word bookjoy to convey the private and delicious pleasure of enjoying time with books. Little ones can thoroughly experience bookjoy long before they’re readers if the adults around them share excitement about books.

What impact is Día having on communities where it is celebrated?

Día strengthens communities because it brings diverse children and families together to celebrate all our children and to connect them to bookjoy. Día is a year-long commitment to share literacy creatively with culminating celebrations held in April on or near How to Celebrate Día de los niños/Día de los LibrosApril 30th.

Do you feel that the recent push for more diversity in publishing (especially with the We Need Diverse Books community campaign) has sparked renewed interest in Día?

I hope so. We celebrate Dia’s 20th Anniversary April 2016. For years, I’ve written and spoken about the importance of a national book community, including publishers, authors, illustrators, and award committees, and reviewers that reflect the diversity of our children. Those of us in this community need to participate in creating a body of children’s literature that honors our plurality.

What would you say to a library or school that wants to celebrate Día but doesn’t have many resources at its disposal?

Those of us committed to Children’s Day, Book Day, in Spanish El día de los niños, El día de los libros are creating a tradition in the same way that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are traditions in our country. Exciting: honoring all children and sharing bookjoy with them. Some April observances are small and some are big, but the important element is annually sharing this tradition. Literacy is essential in a democracy. Let’s celebrate kids and books!

What role does community play in the celebration of Día? How can individual readers support or celebrate Día?

Readers enjoy sharing an important value in our lives: books! We can ask our nearby or local schools and libraries if they celebrate Día and be prepared to explain what it is and why it’s important. We can volunteer to help or provide a donation. Many Día celebrations include book-giveaways and books as prizes. Schools and libraries welcome our support. When diverse groups of diverse ages join together for children, it energizes communities.

7 tips to help make reading with your child this year achievable

Every time we visit the dentist, the hygienist asks how often we Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.19.41 PMfloss. We all know the correct and only answer is “every day.” We squirm under the light as we try to come up with an answer that gets us as close to saying “every day.”  We leave feeling guilty and promise this is the year to change only to find ourselves in the same spot six months later.

This uncomfortable, familiar exchange reminds me of a lot of the conversations with parents about home reading habits at parent-teacher conferences. After each assessment cycle throughout the year, I would ask parents how reading was going on at home (outside of daily homework). Continue reading

Teaching Students to See Themselves as Readers

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Katie CunninghamGuest blogger Katie Cunningham is an Assistant Professor at Manhattanville College. Her teaching and scholarship centers around children’s literature, critical literacy, and supporting teachers to make their classrooms joyful and purposeful. Katie has presented at numerous national conferences and is the editor of The Language and Literacy Spectrum, New York Reading Association’s literacy journal.

“Guess What?. . . I Can Read This Book All By Myself!” These are exciting words for any teacher or parent to hear. When we hear them we know the child in front of us sees himself or herself as a reader, often for the first time. Right now, teachers across the country are wrapping up their first round of reading assessments, using the information to make choices about small instructional groups, and determining teaching points to support all of their students as growing readers.
But what assessment measures do we have that gather information on who sees themselves as readers? Are we listening closely enough for those words? When we hear them what do we do? More importantly, when we don’t hear them, what can we do?
Can I Have a Pet? from our Bebop Titles
Can I Have a Pet? from Bebop Books

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Integrating Common Core Standards: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening in Grades 2-3

Katherine Aliguest bloggerKatherine Ali is a dual-certified elementary and special education teacher. She recently graduated as a literacy specialist with a Masters in Science from Manhattanville College. She has experience teaching internationally in northern China and now teaches in the Bronx, NY.

In order to be active participants in the literate world, students must be reading, writing, speaking, and listening at all ages. The natural interplay of language looks slightly differently across grades levels, but the foundations and mission are the same:

Reading:  Text Complexity and the growth of comprehension

We want our students to ascend the staircase of text complexity and simultaneously sharpen their comprehension skills.  Students, of all ages, need to build stamina through independently reading more rigorous and complex texts.  Additionally, read-alouds allow students to access content and concepts they may not be able to decode themselves.

Writing: Text types, responding to reading, and research

Opinion pieces, research-based projects, and narratives are the three main categories of student writing the Common Core State Standards focus on.  It is also imperative that our students engage in the writing process and expand their writing style using the conventions of the English language.

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What does close reading look like in First Grade?

Jaclyn DeForge thumbnailJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be modeling how to do a close reading at several different grade levels.  Last week, I wrote about close reading in Kindergarten. Next up: Close Reading in First Grade using the H level text Pop Pop and Grandpa by Mary Dixon Lake and illustrated by Christiane Kromer.

Pop Pop and Grandpa

In terms of student questioning, start general and move up Bloom’s Taxonomy by gradually increasing the rigor.  For example, say you want to focus your close reading of Pop Pop and Grandpa on the setting and events of the story (1st grade Literature Standard, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, strand 7, from the Common Core Standards).  Here are the questions I would ask:

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What does close reading look like in Kindergarten?

Jaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be modeling how to do a close reading at several different grade levels.  First up: Close Reading in Kindergarten using the D level text Bedtime Fun by Barbara J. Newkirk and illustrated by Laura Freeman.

In terms of student questioning, start general and move up Bloom’s Taxonomy by gradually increasing the rigor.  For example, say you want to focus your close reading of Bedtime Fun on character development.  Here are the questions I would ask:

Question 1 (Knowledge):  Who is the main character in the story?  Who is the story mostly about?  Who are the other characters in the story? How do you know?

Question 2 (Comprehension): What was the big thing that the entire story was about? How do you know?

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Fabulous Follow-Up Questions

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

Whether doing a Read Aloud, facilitating a Guided Reading group, or asking students to respond to their Independent Reading, the follow-up questions you ask AFTER students respond are just as important as the initial question you pose.

The most highly effective teachers I’ve ever worked with always ask some variation of the following questions after each answer:

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