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Dear Accelerated Reader, It’s not fair.

Dear Accelerated Reader, It’s not fair that you assign fewer points to nonfiction than fiction. For example, students who read The Hunger Games (GL 5.3) get a whopping 15 points, but students who read Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Hopkinson (GL 7.4) receive a measly 7 points. Yes, Titanic is only 289 pages compared …Read more

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New book by Tonya Bolden – Searching for Sarah Rector

New book for late-intermediate and middle grade students – Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America (Bolden, 2014). Let me start by saying that Tonya Bolden has become a “go to” author for me; her research is meticulous, thorough and her writing is appropriate for her audience with rigorous and rich content. …Read more

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Recommended Nonfiction Authors & Books for Middle School Classrooms

I’ve received several inquiries about which nonfiction books to purchase for middle school classroom libraries – in the content areas and in ELA classrooms. Here are few thoughts – Science books I’d invest in – Scientists in the Field series – these titles are well written and align with the Next Generation Science standards. They …Read more

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New 6-8th – They Won’t Be Able To Put This Down

Neal Bascomb has written a gripping account of an international effort to capture Adolf Eichmann – the SS official who basically visualized, organized, and ran the Holocaust. Eichman disappeared for over a decade and, while Europe and the U.S. got caught up in the Cold War, a tenacious few kept hunting for ex-Nazi officials who …Read more

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Read This Book on Titanic Not That One

A Night to Remember (Lord, 1955) is listed as an exemplar text in Appendix B of the Common Core. It’s okay, but not stellar. Instead I would recommend reading Titanic: Voices from the Disaster (Hopkinson, 2012). It is a better exemplar of what 6-8th grade students should be reading. See my blog on Hopkinson’s book …Read more

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Prepare Students for the Joy of Summer Reading

Are you getting that “WE’RE ALMOST DONE” feeling? (Speaking to many of my peers in the northern hemisphere who are almost out of school for the summer šŸ˜‰ So sorry if you’re not!) This is a great time to host lots of space and time for students to JUST READ FOR ENJOYMENT, hoping this time …Read more

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Be a Nonfiction Book Whisperer – Please!

Anybody read The Book Whisper: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child (Miller, 2009)? Miller reminds us that one of the best ways to teach reading is to provide space and time for students to do a LOT of reading of high-quality texts. She challenged her students to read 40 books in a year and …Read more

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Trapped by Aronson – Close Reading Excerpt

Recently, a group of middle school teachers and I engaged in close reading of a short excerpt of text from Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners From 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert (2011). I’ve reviewed this book in a previous blog and discussed the strong 21st century theme of how people have to …Read more

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Review and close reading excerpts – Titanic: Voices From the Disaster

“Don’t you know what happens in the end?” My husband could not understand why I wanted to leave the dinner table early to finish this book.Ā Ā  Yes, of course, I know the ending, but Hopkinson’s writing had me in its grip – one of the reasons this book was awarded a Sibert Honor Award for …Read more

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Close Reading of Invincible Microbe excerpt (Murphy, 2013)

TheĀ Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a CureĀ  is Jim Murphy’s new book, co-authored with Alison Blank. Murphy’s book The Great Fire is a Newbery Honor book and listed as a text exemplar for informational texts at the middle school level in the Common Core Standards Appendix B. Invincible Microbe would be an …Read more

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