From Shaping Youth – Aug. 27, 2011:   Last week the NYTimes Arts Beat ran a solid session on reluctant readers with an extra oomph of focus on boys, GuysRead.comstyle tips about literacy lag and an interesting video of uber-authors James Patterson (Read, Kiddo, Read project; the Maximum Ride series) and Rick Riordan (the Percy Jackson series). Aside from the NYTimes’ sensationalized “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?” headline which seemed to be a self-defeating hook to glean more eyeballs, it DID make me think a lot about the messages pummeling kids about reading as if it were a Mary Poppins tune “Just a SpoonRead More →

From Education World: Independent silent reading has been viewed as a time-honored educational tool. Yet today, many teachers sacrifice it for direct instruction, arguing that there are more effective ways to spend the time. What do the experts say? Read the rest of Cathy Puett Miller’s  Education World article Here For more on Silent Sustained Reading, read “Sustained Silent Reading” Helps Develop Independent Readers (and Writers) What strategies have worked for you in encouraging SSR in your classroom? What improvements and changes have you seen?  Please share with us and our blog readers!Read More →

Edward Bloor’s latest, A Plague Year, takes a somber, sobering, yet ultimately hopeful look at the damage caused by meth.  Set in Autumn 2001 in the small coal-mining town of Blackwater PA, A Plague Year is one freshman’s journal of the epidemic that swept through his town, turning people into zombies, thieves, and dead bodies all within a matter of months.  Tom’s always been focused on getting out of his depressing coal mining town, planning an escape to a college in Florida.   But lately something’s not right in Blackwater: it’s always been a run-down town with few prospects for getting ahead, but now crime is on theRead More →

“Just about the time I was thinking things weren’t turning out so bad after all, events took a turn for the worse.”  So says Jack Catcher, teen protagonist in Joe R. Landsdale’s latest, All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky.  And this remark captures the flavor of this book, and Jack’s adventures in it, perfectly. Set in the deepest part of the Great Depression, in the dustbowl of Oklahoma, Jack’s parents have just died – his mother from a wasting sickness and his father from grief – and now he’s not sure what to do.  He’s got no food and no money, and the bankRead More →

Scapegoat: The Story of a Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-Up Coat by Dean Hale, illustrated by Michael Slack, is an adorable story about a mischievous young boy named Jimmy Choat and his family’s put-upon goat, Patsy Petunia Oat. Missing coat? Broken boat? Messy tote? Blame it all on the goat! As the week progresses, more and more missing and broken items plague the Choat’s, and Jimmy happily blames everything on Mrs. Oat the Goat. But what happens when someone hears and tells the goat’s side of the story? This absolutely adorable picture book is filled with fun and playful rhymes and alliteration, and is a blast to readRead More →