Archives

The 2023 Caldecott Medal award winner will be announced January 30, 2023, which means it’s time for my predictions on which book will take home the top prize and who will be runner-up. The ALA awards will be given out sometime in mid-January. Members of the Caldecott committee work hard all year to choose the book they think is deserving of this distinguished award. Members of the committee read thousands of picture books throughout the year. Then they must narrow their choices down to 7 titles each. Once they have this much smaller list, they spend hours debating about which book should receive the top honor. Every year I always come up with my own list of titles that I believe will be contenders. This year I have come up with 15 books that I believe should be on the list (although I have not read nearly as many
When you think of reading, charts and graphs probably aren’t the first things to come to mind. But when reading nonfiction texts, these elements play a role in understanding the text. Many times I’ve asked students to read a caption or refer to information from a chart, only to get a blank stare back. This just tells me how important it is to directly teach text features in nonfiction. What are nonfiction text features? Text features are the elements of an informational text not found within the main body of the text. This includes elements that come before and after the text (such as the table of contents or glossary) and the elements surrounding the text (such as labels and graphs). To help students understand the importance of text features, I like to give them a few examples. In one example, I will have them read directions to another
If there is one thing that makes people fall in love with reading, I believe it is the ability to visualize. The ability to take the words on a page and turn them into a mental movie. It’s visualizing that allows you to immerse yourself into a book and escape the here and now. While this skill comes naturally for some, it is a skill that often needs to be taught and practiced for many. Today I am sharing my favorite picture books for teaching visualizing. How to Teach Visualizing Teaching students to visualize is such a fun activity that students really love. Why? I believe it is because it connects two of their favorite things – being read to and drawing. Over the years I have found that the best way to focus on this skill is by reading to the students and having them listen. This takes
Have you thought about creating a book walk, but not exactly sure what it is or how to create one? The good news is that running a book walk in your classroom or library is pretty simple (and if you set it up just right, you can reuse your book walk materials for years to come). What is a Book Walk? A book walk is like a gallery walk, but for books! It works best with picture books or books with lots of graphics, like a graphic novel. During a book walk, students will move around the room and look at each page of the book. This is a great way to incorporate movement into reading. If you have students who just can’t seem to sit still in their seats, this can be a great solution. It’s also just a nice way to change up your reading routine and
Teaching students about character traits in reading is important but can be difficult to do. Character traits are such an ABSTRACT idea that some children have a hard time understanding what character traits are. Students typically have to use inferencing skills to “read between the lines” of what information the author is giving you about the characters in the story, such as what the character is saying and doing.  How to Teach About Character Traits Start by defining exactly WHAT character traits are. Then together, make an anchor chart about character traits. Have students help you name certain traits that they believe characters in stories might have. Make sure to get them thinking about character traits on the OUTSIDE and on the INSIDE! I like to do another lesson about positive character traits vs. negative character traits. (Some traits can even be neutral).  Finally, my biggest piece of advice
Are you constantly looking for picture books to teach about the main idea of a story? Some people confuse the theme with the main idea. The theme or central idea of a book is the lesson, moral or message the reader takes away after reading. The main idea is what the book is about and can usually be stated as a short summary. It’s important for students to start understanding the main idea (and supporting details) of a story after reading it. This means that they should be able to retell the story to show their comprehension of it, stating the main idea and at least three details that can support the main idea of the story. Some Tips for Teaching the Main Idea A read aloud can be one of the most overlooked strategies that can be used to teach main idea and supporting details. When performing a