Every child wants to be successful, but school can be a tough place for vulnerable students. To pull them into the success loop requires both an understanding of their plight and a willingness to fully support them with targeted strategies, writes Suzy Pepper Rollins.
To motivate students to embrace independent reading, Kasey Short recommends we help them find the right books, use authentic assignments for accountability, and provide the time to read – all to help build a classroom climate where reading is valued, enjoyed and celebrated.
Principal Rita Platt is learning to sign, both to communicate with a new student and to renew her empathy for the hard work we ask students to do every day. She also has a fresh appreciation for learning targets. “Seeing the purpose of our work is critical to motivation.”
In Enticing Hard-To-Reach Writers, Ruth Ayres offers wide ranging ideas and resources to help all students become writers because “when writers believe their words matter, nothing can stop them.” We begin, reviewer Mary Langer Thompson notes, by getting our hearts right.
We know adolescents read far less than younger children. Classroom practices often don’t help, writes ELA teacher Cheryl Mizerny. By discarding strict regimes, she says, educators can increase the love of reading among tweens and teens and put the joy back into books.
Ralph Fletcher’s approachable book offers useful, practical guidelines on how to implement effective writing teaching. ELA teacher Erin Corrigan-Smith notes his emphasis on choice, voice, purpose and play will help students enjoy the daily writing he recommends.
Middle graders are unique, often unpredictable writers who are thirsty to refine their own personal voice. To help them succeed, literacy consultant Patty McGee recommends offering adolescent writers individual feedback that is present, empathetic, and choice-filled.
As she introduces the idea of symbolism with their first read-aloud of the year, Mary Tarashuk finds a new way to teach her fourth graders about choices. She’s calling this discovery “harnessing the power of paper airplanes.” It’s a great formative assessment tool, too.
Young writers will blossom when teachers trade in their red pens for an appreciative approach to feedback, says consultant Patty McGee. As writing mentors, teachers help students achieve quality writing with originality, voice, and style. McGee includes more than a dozen teaching tools.
With its ready-made product menus and immediate applicability, Differentiating Instruction with Menus is one of those books that won’t gather dust, as teachers will turn to it for quick reference throughout the school year, says ELA and gifted facilitator Kim Rensch.