Category Archives: Pay It Forward

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. […]

March 26

Check Out the Author Fan Face Off by Stacey Rattner

Dear Teachers and Librarians of Middle Grade Readers,   Are you looking for something new and exciting for the first 10 minutes of class? The last 10? A different way to promote reading? Look no further! “Author Fan Face-off” may just be what you are looking for.   In late summer, when the pandemic was […]

Imagining Impact: An Educator’s Reflection on a Language Mistake by Nawal Qarooni Casiano

All the materials were queued. Slides ready, Jamboard links copied for dropping into the chat. Sign-in and evaluations prepared. I was flushed with gratitude for classroom teachers who were attending after juggling kids in some version of remote or hybrid learning; I was determined to set my face to smile and overwhelm the Zoom room […]

October 09

What’s in a Name? 5 Children’s Books Inspired by Authors’ Own Experiences by Ashley Marron

Our name is the first word we might hear, the first word we might say, and often the first word we write. Names allow us to build empathy, self-esteem, and a sense of belonging.  Learning students’ names – whether the educator or the student is essential in making our classroom communities. Kohli (2018) expressed that […]

July 24

“Feeling like a dandelion”: A COVID-19 online book club adventure by Deborah Van Duinen

Author Katherine Paterson tells the story about how, a few days after 9/11, when she did not know what had become of her son John’s brother-in-law and close friend who worked in the South Tower, she realized she was scheduled to speak at a middle school in a neighboring town. “What in the world does […]

June 27

Rewrite the Rules of Reading by Jen Kleinknecht

Do as I say, not as I do.  Sometimes I fear that is our attitude towards reading. As adults, we allow ourselves  to experiment with audiobooks and new genres, read books that are just great fun, read without pausing to jot notes, and abandon books we dislike. Do we allow children the same privileges, or […]