Category Archives: Pay It Forward

December 02

Our Eleventh Nerdversary: Where Have All the Nerdy Readers Gone? by Donalyn Miller

I don’t ask people, “How’s it going?” anymore. The pre-pandemic response, a reflexive, “It’s fine,” doesn’t really cut it these days. People have something to say about how it’s really going. No one is fine.  The challenges of the past three years have carved us down. Parts are sharper. Parts are missing. Some parts are […]

November 12

A Menu of Mentors: Reading for Possibility by Lynsey Burkins and Franki Sibberson

“Educators ‘layer texts’ when they teach and learn from multiple powerful texts. These texts are print and nonprint and are intellectually compelling.” Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, Cultivating Genius Anyone who knows us knows that we love a good text set! There is nothing like curating a set of books that helps move children forward as readers […]

October 16

Working on the Nonfiction Sections in my Classroom Library by Colby Sharp

In writing The Commonsense Guide to Your Classroom Library with Donalyn Miller, we wanted to make it very clear that we didn’t have all of the answers when it comes to classroom libraries, and the work of a classroom library is never complete. As we read more children’s books, get to know more readers, and […]

September 02

Sharing Your Purpose and Talents with the World by Jacqueline Liesch

We walked as a group up the red dirt road, past the schools, up the gravel walkway to the library. The hand-carved doors to the library show different parts of the reading process: between mother and child, a child carrying books, reading around the fire, while symbolizing opening the doors to the community’s future through […]

June 10

Book Walks Are Back by Kate Narita

We just finished our nonfiction book walks, and my students are more excited about reading than ever. Wait! What’s a book walk? I first learned about book walks on Twitter in the fall of 2019 from Maryland school librarian, Karina Hirschorn. She posted pictures book piles on her library tables and students rotating, exploring the […]

October 02

Verse Novels: The Genre We Need Now by Jen Kleinknecht

Poetry is, and always has been, my favorite genre. The musicality, the imagery, and the bare-boned simplicity of saying so much with so little are what make me love poetry. It’s no surprise then, that I love verse novels. The verse novel  is defined by the Academy of American Poets as a hybrid form in […]

August 21

Reaching All Readers with Personalized Book Baskets by Melissa Williams

Readers’ advisory is my favorite part of my job as a Middle School Librarian, and offering a personalized book basket service communicates to students that they are all readers; they just need to find the right books to stoke their reading flame.  Implementing a book basket service encourages struggling readers by supplying titles that they […]

May 23

2020 – 2021: When Teaching is Like a Bad Cooking Show by Colleen Cruz

My favorite cooking show, and I know I’m not alone in this, is the Great British Baking Show. I love all the support and positivity of the show between the contestants. And I also love the seeming fairness of it. Times and ingredients are within the realm of realistic possibility. Almost all of the mistakes […]

May 21

Shaping Pathways Through Content Area Literacy: Instructional Models for Teaching with Text Sets by Erika Thulin Dawes and Mary Ann Cappiello

Literature-based instruction is having a moment and we’re confident that you’re as excited about that as we are. Not only do we have more access than ever to an array of well-written titles representing diverse perspectives and experiences, but current curriculum conversations are also recognizing the potential children’s literature holds for fostering critical literacy and […]

March 27

We Need True Stories: How Reading Memoirs Will Change You by Jen Kleinknecht

  Life is unbearably hard sometimes.   It has always annoyed me when someone tells me to “Buck up” by pointing out people who have it worse than I do. Telling someone to stop being sad, afraid, or angry is futile. It’s insulting, tactless, and a roadblock to understanding another human being. But it’s true. […]