Category Archives: Pay It Forward

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 […]

June 12

Summer Reading and Learning for Teachers by Clare Landrigan & Penny Kittle

Jamie shows up early for class and wraps himself around a Matt de la Pena novel. You have heard a story like his before: he’s never been a reader, is not interested in novels (or grades), but is now putting in extra time to read.   It’s not the book club he’ll be meeting with […]

May 22

Why Book Clubs Prevail In Any Type Of Learning Environment by Lorraine Radice

One the literacy courses I teach at my university is for pre-service and current teachers in a secondary content-area program.  The course invites education majors in various disciplines like social studies, business, TESOL, chemistry, English, and beyond to think about themselves as contributors to the literacy lives of students through a content-area lens.  I love […]

May 08

Helping Kids Cope During Scary Times by Kris Barr Paquette

As we slowly watched the Covid 19 virus spread across the world until it affected our state, our county, our town we held out hope that by some miracle our little community would go on as normal.  Our state governor called a state of emergency as the virus began to spread through Michigan communities.  She […]

April 26

It’s Time for a #VirtualFieldTrip to the Everywhere Book Fest! by Anna E. Jordan

There were plenty of things about field trips in the “before times” that were difficult. Budgets for busses were minimal, permissions slips never came back, charging for events magnified inequities between students, and chaperones were often hard to find. Even so, we know that authentic experiences with experts inspire children and give classroom learning context. Our […]