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Reading & Language Arts

139 Posts authored by: tengrrl

cowboy.jpgKindergarten teacher ReGina Harvey reports that “Teaching kindergarten students to think for themselves is a challenging task. I am frequently looking for new and inventive ways to spark imagination and enhance comprehension.”

 

Harvey found a solution in fractured fairy tale resources like the lesson “Cowboys and Castles: Interacting with Fractured Texas Tales.” Harvey reports, “Using the story Cinderella was an ingenious way to motivate the girls to learn, and the book Bubba the Cowboy Prince was an even more engaging enticement for the boys.” Read more about Harvey’s experiences in the ReadWriteThink Community Stories section, and for more free literacy activities,  just keep reading!

 

Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: Cowboy by Sam Howzit, on Flickr]

read-classroom.jpgDo you want to be a Verizon Education Blogger? Do you want to write about educational issues or classroom activities? Determine your theme and consider who your audience will be.

 

A good  blogger can engage readers and make them watch in anticipation for your next post.  Here are some tips:

 

  • Make your blog personal by writing in the first person.
  • Share your experiences, opinions, and ideas.
  • Encourage and respond to comments left on your blog.

 

Include pictures in your blog, chunk your text, and keep the overall post to the general topic.  Answer specifics when they arise in the comments.

 

Post your blog URL on your class webpage, in your school district newsletter, or anywhere else you can get the word out. If you are interested in becoming a Verizon Education Blogger, please write support@thinkfinity.org.


Featured Resources

 

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: Blogging by mrsdkrebs, on Flickr]

pink-girl.jpgWho wants to be cooped up when beautiful summer days beckon? ReadWriteThink summer resources include this  reading and writing activity that gets children outside and encourages them to explore the world around them, whether it’s in their own backyards, in the woods during hikes, or at parks or beaches.

 

For even more summer-friendly literacy activities,  just keep reading!

 

Featured Resources


From the Calendar

  • July 9: Nancy Farmer, three-time Newbery honoree, was born in 1941. Students write original short stories in the science fiction genre based on some of Farmer's works and society’s most hotly-debated issues, such as cloning, toxic waste, and brain implants. (For grades 3–8)

  • July  10: The Scopes Trial began today in 1925. Students brainstorm a list of objects and processes that have changed over time and use the Timeline tool to sketch out the evolution of the item they have chosen. A giant class timeline can be created to show the evolution of the items students have investigated. (For grades 5–12)

  • July  11: Children’s author Patricia Polacco was born in 1944. Students share family stories of their own by writing original poems and reviewing parts of speech using the Diamante Poems tool. (For grades 3–8)

  • July  11: Author E.B. White was born on this day in 1899. Author E.B. White, most well-known for his famous children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, received high acclaim and awards for many of his works of fiction. (For grades K–5)

  • July  12: Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817. Students make mental “snapshots” of a natural setting, then capture the details of their setting by writing and then creating a class booklet of the nature walk. (For grades 1–12)

  • July  14: Author Laura Joffe Numeroff was born in 1953. Using one of Numeroff’s books as a model, students use the circle plot structure as a culminating project for a unit of study completed in the classroom. (For grades 3–8)

  • Later this  month, find lesson plans and activities on Ida B. Wells, Jack Kerouac, John Newbery, the first moon landing, Ernest Hemingway, and more!

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: Anna reading outside by Sam Pullara, on Flickr]

ReadForMySummer_logo_portrait2.pngThis summer, ReadWriteThink is pleased to partner with the Pearson Foundation’s We Give Books. Their summer program, Read for My Summer, highlights a book each week in three different age categories (0-3, 4-7, 8-10) that caregivers can read with a child from the free, online We Give Books library.

 

For every book read online, children can elect to donate a book to a selected public library, providing greater access to books for low-income kids. Learn more and find related family activities on the ReadWriteThink site—and for even more summer-friendly literacy activities,  just keep reading!

 

Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

ISTE2013logo.pngISTE 2013, the annual conference exploring educational technology, kicks off Sunday, June 23, in San Antonio. If you are attending, be sure to check out these sessions featuring the ReadWriteThink site:

 

  • ReadWriteThink: Encouraging Reading, Writing, and Thinking across the Curriculum, [Concurrent Session :  Lecture], Wednesday, 6/26/2013,  11:45am–12:45pm CDT, in SACC 001A, with Lisa Fink

  • A Day with ReadWriteThink.org: Tools, Apps, Technology  across the Curriculum, [Concurrent Session : BYOD], on Wednesday,  6/26/2013,  1:15pm–2:15pm CDT, in   SACC 008AB, with Lisa Fink

Also don’t miss  NCTE President Sandy Hayes, on Monday, June 24, at 2:30pm, in SACC 217D for her session, Mashup and Remix: Reading,  Writing, Research, and Reaching the World. Hear Mila Fuller, NCTE Deputy Executive Director, on The Impact of  Graphic Organizers on the Persuasive Writing Process, on Wednesday, June 26,  10:15am-11:15am, in SACC 101.

 

To learn more about other Thinkfinity partners and activities in San Diego, join the ISTE Conference 2013 group. And for even more summer-friendly literacy activities,  just keep reading!

 

Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

dinodig.jpgWe have added even more new summer activities to our Parent and Afterschool Resources in the last week. These family-friendly activities include everything needed, so let the summer learning begin with our six newest activities on the site:

 

 

For  classroom materials on  other  timely topics, just keep reading! We have materials on Anne Frank, Flag Day, and more!


Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: digging faux dino bones by woodleywonderworks, on Flickr]

summer-reading-2013-bear.jpgBefore kids head out of the classroom for the summer, share the Parent and Afterschool Resources with their families. The family-friendly activities will keep kids learning all summer long. Families can find everything they need on the site—from  age-appropriate book suggestions to rainy day activities.

 

Our four newest activities show some of the options available on the site:

 

 

For  classroom materials on  other  timely topics, just keep reading! We have materials on spelling,  Walt Whitman, and more!


Featured Resources

From the Calendar

  • May 26: Sally Ride, first American woman in space, was born in 1951. After exploring information about Sally Ride on the StarKids Who’s Who site, students write a letter using the Letter Generator to Dr. Ride. (For grades 3–8)

  • May 27: On this day in 1907, Rachel Carson was born. Students learn about Rachel Carson, explore different environmental websites, and write a Diamante Poem about a particular habitat. (For grades 3–12)

  • May 27: Memorial Day is observed in the United States today. Observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the United States military. In addition to having celebrations with family and friends, many people visit cemeteries and memorials and place flags on the grave sites of fallen servicemen and women. (For grades 5–12)

  • May 28: National Spelling Bee Finals are held this week. Students discuss why certain contests get more publicity than others and what counts as “knowledge.” (For grades 7–12)

  • May 31: Today is Walt Whitman’s birthday. Students write and illustrate their own children’s stories using the text from a Walt Whitman poem. (For grades 7–12)

  • In June, find lesson plans and activities on  summer reading, Flag Day, Juneteenth, author birthdays, and more!

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: Summer Reading by Enokson, on Flickr]

Updated Venn DiagramCircle up comparisons! We’ve updated our Venn Diagram interactive.

 

Students can create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles with the newly updated tool. Students identify and record concepts that can be placed in one of the circles or in the overlapping areas, allowing them to organize their information logically. Students may view and edit their draft diagrams, then print the finished diagrams for reference.

 

Check out this example Venn Diagram created by students in class after reading chapter 16 in Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue from @ms_zicha on Twitter.

 

For  classroom materials on  other  timely topics, just keep reading! We have materials on Mister Rogers, Scott O’Dell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and more!


Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

americanbornchinese.pngSince 1978, May has been a time to honor the heritage of Asian and Pacific Americans and their contributions to the United States. Originally a week-long event, the celebration now lasts through the entire month.

 

Share texts written by Asian and Pacific Americans with students, whether you look to picture books for young adult novels. For starters, you can listen to the ReadWriteThink Text Messages podcast episode Teen Identity and Tough Situations, which discusses the graphic novel American Born Chinese and other books that explore characters who struggle to know when to stay true to themselves.

 

For  classroom materials on  other  timely topics, just keep reading! We have materials on Get Caught Reading Month, Children’s Book Week, and more!

 

Featured Resources

 

From the Calendar

  • May 1: May is Get Caught Reading Month! Students celebrate Get Caught Reading Month by doing a reading-related service project such as planning an intergenerational reading day or organizing a book drive. (For grades K–12)

  • May 1: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is in May! Students consider the portrayal of Asians in popular culture by exploring images from classic and contemporary films and comparing them to historical and cultural reference materials. (For grades 9–12)

  • May 3: National Public Radio began broadcasting in 1971. Students make predictions about the content of some of NPR’s programs, then listen to the programs and report on the contents and discuss with the class. (For grades 7–12)

  • May 5:  Today is Cinco de Mayo. Students choose to research a piece of art, music, dance, literature, or food that suitably represents Mexico and create a presentation for the class. (For grades 7–12)

  • May 5: Today is Leo Lionni’s birthday. As a child growing up in Holland, Leo Lionni taught himself how to draw and later became an author and illustrator of children’s books. Leo Lionni is the winner of four Caldecott awards. (For grades K–5)

  • May 6: Teacher Appreciation Week honors our teachers.In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, students read a book about a teacher and follow up with an activity related to the book using the Venn Diagram, Letter Generator, Story Map, or Essay Map. (For grades 3–12)

  • May 8: Celebrate blues legend Robert Johnson's birthday. Students learn about blues music and brainstorm subjects that might give them “the blues.” Finally, they write their own blues lyrics and have the option to perform. (For grades 5–12)

  • May 10: Newbery Medal winner Christopher Paul Curtis was born in 1953.Students brainstorm a list of civil rights-related issues and use the Acrostic Poems interactive to create poems. (For grades 3–12)

  • May 11: Pedro Albizu Campos leads the Puerto Rican Independence movement. After learning about the story of Pedro Albizu Campos and his commitment to Puerto Rican independence, students research and share their learning about another nationalist figure from around the world. (For grades 6–12)

  • May 13: Celebrate National Children's Book Week! Children show support for their favorite Children's Choice Book award finalist by designing a promotional book cover. (For grades K–6)

  • May 14: Star Wars creator George Lucas was born in 1944. Students use the Hero’s Journey interactive to describe how Luke Skywalker meets each stage of his journey, and then brainstorm other works that use the formula. (For grades 7–12)

  • Later this month, find lesson plans and activities on the first Academy Awards ceremony,  Raymond Carver, Malcolm X, and Charles Lindbergh.

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: Gene Luen Yang: American Born Chinese by Wolf Gang, on Flickr]

Dia_Hi_Color_233.jpgMake your plans for El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), which takes place on Tuesday, April 30th.

 

Developed under the leadership of author Pat Mora, this event focuses on providing children with books in many languages and making reading an integral part of their lives. It’s a wonderful time to  have students read, write, and share  multilingual stories with one another.

 

For  classroom materials on  other  timely topics, just keep reading! We have materials on William Shakespeare, Coretta Scott King, the Library of Congress, and more!

 

Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

 

—Traci Gardner

2013-IRA-web-logo.png

Meet  ReadWriteThink staff and authors in San Antonio, April 19 to 22, for  IRA's 58th Annual Convention. You’ll be among the 10,000 reading and literacy professionals who attend to expand their personal knowledge as well as share what they’ve learned with their colleagues.

 

Stay up-to-date by following @IRAToday on Twitter (#IRA2013) for live coverage of the event. You can also connect with IRA on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You can also check out this year's program online, and then  download, print, or save to your  hard drive. Be sure to review the program addendum for changes that occurred after the program went to press; info will be updated throughout the conference.

 

ReadWriteThink Sessions

At this year’s IRA Annual Convention, the ReadWriteThink team is back to share practical tips on  technology into literacy lessons in these sessions:

 

  • Increasing Literacy Across the Curriculum Through Mobile  Learning and ReadWriteThink.org (#1674)
    Hear from Natalie Spangler from Lewisville Independent School District in Texas and Kristin Townsend from the Verizon Foundation present Increasing Literacy Across the Curriculum Through Mobile Learning and ReadWriteThink.org. The Lewisville Independent School District is committed to leveraging mobile learning through "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) and school-provided devices as well as in-depth professional development provided to teachers through the Verizon Innovative Learning School project. Attendees will hear first-hand how high school teachers and students are benefiting from mobile devices and how they're leveraging digital resources from ReadWriteThink.org to support reading and writing across the content areas to support the Common Core State Standards.
              Time:  Saturday, April 20,  1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
              Location: San Antonio Convention  Center, Room 217B

  • Using ReadWriteThink.org to Address the Common Core  Standards and Engage Adolescent Learners (#1675)
    Laurie A. Henry, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, teams up with Scott Filkins, English Language Arts/Social Studies Coordinator for Grades 6-12 at Champaign (Illinois) Unit 4 Schools, in this session. The Common Core State Standards call for adolescent readers to be proficient consumers and producers of a range of narrative, informational, and persuasive texts, both in English classes and in content areas throughout their school day. Literacy educators Laurie A. Henry and Scott Filkins will share a range of approaches for using formative assessment, themed book lists, cross-disciplinary reading and writing, and digital technologies to engage students and elevate their achievement as readers and writers. They will incorporate a range of resources from ReadWriteThink.org. Session participants will be encouraged to explore resources using a BYOD format.
                Time: Sunday, April 21,  11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
                Location: San Antonio Convention  Center, Room 217C

 

Be sure to visit the Reading & Language Arts group in the Thinkfinity Community for discussion questions linked to each session. Add a comment to the session discussion questions to be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. Only  substantive comments are eligible, and comments must be posted by April 28.

 

Meet the Editors

Talk with  ReadWriteThink.org staff about  how you can contribute to the ReadWriteThink site during one of these two times:
        Saturday, April 20, 9:00  p.m.-11:00 a.m. in the IRA Bookstore
        Sunday, April 21, 2:00 p.m.-3:00  p.m. – IRA Bookstore

 

Stay Tuned After the Convention

Emily Manning will be interviewing  children’s authors for Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers, ReadWriteThink.org’s Podcast for Grades K–5. Watch the website in upcoming months for podcasts featuring these authors:

 

  • Kirby Larson
  • Shana Corey
  • Jen Bryant
  • Erica Perl
  • Matthew Kirby
  • Georgia Bragg
  • Jean Reidy
  • Salina Yoon

 

If you need more information about the IRA Convention, email IRA Customer Service with your questions and comments.

 

 

—Traci Gardner

poetry-books.jpgEach year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft. Various events are held throughout the month by the Academy of American Poets and other poetry organizations.

 

In honor of National Poetry Month, introduce your students to a variety of poetic forms. We have resources for Theme Poems, Acrostic Poems, Diamante Poems, or STEM Poetry. And don’t for get the the Word Mover App for iPad, which students can create “found poetry.”

 

For  classroom materials on other new and timely topics, just keep reading! We have materials on copyright, author birthdays, and more!

 

Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: 2012-142 Poetry Books by mrsdkrebs, on Flickr]

Poet-Tree.jpgApril is National Poetry Month, sponsored by Academy of American Poets and other poetry organizations. Our friends at the Academy of American Poets have already shared a guest post with information on Poem in Your Pocket Day, the Dear Poet project, details on the National Poetry Month poster and more.

 

Now it's time for some poetry fun from ReadWriteThink.  We have  thirty poetry activities for you, one for each day of the month of April! If this activity sounds familiar, that's because this is our third year to celebrate National Poetry Month with a poem a day.

 

Check out the calendar for April below. Each day has a link to a different kind of poetry writing, either a specific poetic form, like sonnets or acrostics, or poetry focused on a particular topic, like seasonal haiku or color poems. The materials range in grade levels, but can usually be adapted for any age (even college students). Just click each day for a month full of poetry fun!

                                                                                                                                       

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1: Nonsense Poems2: Acrostic Poems 3: Seasonal Haiku4: Shape Poems5: STEM Poems 6: Bio- Poems
7: Riddle Poems 8: Nursery Rhymes9: Color Poems10: Two- Voice Poetry11: Headline Poems12: Diamante Poems13: Rebus Poems
14: Parody Poems15: One-Sentence Poems16: Name Poems17: Magnetic Poetry18: Letter Poems19: Bilingual, Spoken-Word Poetry20: 5Ws Poems
21: Free Verse22: Alphabet Poems23: Concrete Poems24: Found Poems & Parallel Poems25: Cinquain Poems 26: Limericks27: Traditional Sonnets
28: Astronomy Poetry29: Sports Poetry30: Catalog Poems

 

If you’re looking for even more poetry fun, be sure to download the Word Mover App for iPad. Students can create “found poetry” by choosing from word banks and existing famous works; additionally, users can add new words to create a piece of poetry by moving/manipulating the text.

 

 

[Photo: 106/365: Poet-tree by LibAmanda, on Flickr]

kids_tablet.jpgSTEM, mobile devices, and the Thinkfinity Community are perfect together! Learn about how to locate high-quality STEM resources for all grades. Explore free lesson plans, interactives, and activities as well as community support at Thinkfinity.org. Make the most of BYOD, tablets and smartphones with the fabulous STEM resources.

 

You’ll find everything you need in our archived video, featuring Barbara DeSantis, the In-Class Support Technology Specialist at the Sayreville School District.

 

For classroom materials on  other new and timely topics, just keep reading!

 

Featured Resources

From the Calendar

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, please contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: CERDEC supports STEM Career Day by CERDEC, on Flickr]

women_locomotive.jpgMarch  is National Women’s History Month. Find resources to learn more about famous women in our list of 50 women, all of whom are featured on the ReadWriteThink calendar.

 

The link for each famous woman listed below  takes you to a calendar entry with lesson plans, a classroom activity, and links to related resources. So click through, and learn about activists, authors, poets, and other women who have left their mark on America and the world:

 

  1. Joy Adamson, animal rights activist
  2. Louisa May Alcott, novelist
  3. Laurie Halse Anderson, novelist
  4. Marian Anderson, opera contralto
  5. Maya Angelou, poet, author
  6. Susan B. Anthony, civil rights activist
  7. Mary Azarian, picture book illustrator
  8. Natalie Babbitt, author
  9. Elizabeth Blackwell, first American woman to earn a medical degree
  10. Erma Bombeck, humorist
  11. Judy Blume, novelist
  12. Gwendolyn Brooks, poet
  13. Eve Bunting, author
  14. Virginia Lee Burton, picture book author
  15. Rachel Carson, naturalist
  16. Janell Cannon, picture book author
  17. Kate DiCamillo, novelist
  18. Emily Dickinson, poet
  19. Lois Duncan, suspense novelist
  20. Amelia Earhart, aviation pioneer
  21. Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim the English Channel
  22. Nancy Farmer, novelist
  23. Esther Forbes, author
  24. Anne Frank, diary writer and Holocaust victim
  25. Nikki Giovanni, poet, picture book author
  26. Karen Hesse, novelist
  27. Mary Hoffman, author
  28. Billie Holiday, jazz and blues singer
  29. Helen Keller, author, political activist
  30. Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist
  31. Ursula K. LeGuin, sci-fi and fantasy author
  32. Annie Moore,  first immigrant to enter Ellis Island
  33. Pat Mora, poet, author
  34. Toni Morrison, novelist, picture book author
  35. Joan Lowery Nixon, mystery novelist
  36. Laura Joffe Numeroff, picture book author
  37. Barbara Park, chapter book author
  38. Rosa Parks, civil rights activist
  39. Pocahontas, ambassador
  40. Patricia Polacco, picture book author
  41. Sally Ride, first American woman in space
  42. Faith Ringgold, author, quilter
  43. J.K. Rowling, novelist
  44. Cynthia Rylant, author
  45. Anna Sewell, novelist
  46. Leslie Marmon Silko, novelist
  47. Alice Walker, novelist
  48. Ida B. Wells, African American journalist
  49. Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, author, producer
  50. Jane Yolen, author

 

If you want even more resources, check out the National Women’s History Month calendar entry as well as Science NetLinks’ Women's History Collection and EDSITEment’s Women's History Resources.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: “Rosie The Riveter” @ California State Railroad Museum by Loco Steve, on Flickr]

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