As an educator, my main focus was the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs). But what works for them will also benefit other students. I’ll continue to add general reading activities and resources to this page, as well as those related to specific books. I’ve been helped along the way by many wonderful teachers and writers, and hope to give back a little by growing this page into a valuable resource. Please join the email list to get the latest blog posts.
First, a couple often overlooked resources:
Authors Notes in back matter often contain information about an author’s connection to a story. These help readers understand two key ideas: Author’s Point of View and Author’s Purpose. Author Notes can also be a valuable tool to help young writers find their connection to a topic, the key to great writing!
Author and Illustrator Websites contain a plethora of classroom-worthy material such as interviews, articles, activities, and educator guides.
Resources for featured MIDDLE GRADE books
Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli – Literature Unit Teachers’ Guide and Student Pages
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney – Activities
Additional Resources for featured PICTURE BOOKS
Especially for Educator series
Websites of Authors and Illustrators of guest posts often share activities and educator guides.
See also my Perfect Picture Book Friday book recommendations. Each post includes several activities. And you’ll find many more recommendations with activities HERE.
A Splash of Red, The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant – Literature Unit
Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern – Activity Page
The Great Pasta Escape by Miranda Paul – Activity Page
It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee – Activity Page
Outstanding in the Rain: A Whole Story with Holes by Frank Viva – Activity Page
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say – Activity Page
Whose Hands Are These? by Miranda Paul – Activity Page
Activities for Picture Book Biographies
NONFICTION QUICK NOTES: A quick one page organizer to guide student thinking through informational text. (grades 2-6)
A School-wide Heritage Timeline: Nonfiction Learning Fills the Hallway by Paula Januzzi-Godfrey
Writing Personal Narratives PDF
Blog post: 3 Reading Response Categories to Genuinely Engage Students with Texts
Exploring Active Nonfiction Through the Ages by Tom Bober
Real Reviews! Students Write Nonfiction Book Reviews for the School Library Catalog
A Deep Dive into Nonfiction by Kim Haines
VOCABULARY THAT STICKS – Tried-and-True Short Activities for Daily Practice of New Vocabulary
SYNONYM-INOES: Activities to get past tired overused adjectives. (grades 2-6)
- Sleep’s Link To Learning And Memory Traced To Brain Chemistry
- How playing an instrument benefits your brain – Anita Collins
- Unstoppable Learning – This TED Radio Hour contains five excellent segments on learning.
- Neil Gaiman on Why We Read and What Books do for the Human Experience
- Sight Words Are So 2016: New Study Finds the Real Key to Early Literacy
- What’s Going on in Your Child’s Brain When You Read Them a Story?
- Why Millions Of Kids Can’t Read, And What Better Teaching Can Do About It
- How reading aloud can help you bond with your kids and make them a better reader
On Writing and Story:
- Pulitzer-Winning Poet Mark Strand on the Heartbeat of Creative Work and the Artist’s Task to Bear Witness to the Universe
- Mac Barnett: Why a good book is a secret door
- How Brain Research Can Make You a Better Writer
- Your Brain on Fiction
- On reality in children’s stories: Why Children’s Books Should Be a Little Sad
- Author Carmen Deedy (The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!) TED Talk (warning: not for kids, contains expletive)
- Nonfiction: Let’s Talk More About Sources
- Creative Writing Glossary (Thanks to Shelby for sharing this!)
- Why Does a Hardcover Book Cost $18? by Harold Underdown
On School Improvement:
- John Hattie’s new study on The Politics of Distraction – free download, and several short videos on What Works Best
From Ava, sent by her teacher: School Bus Safety – Including Tips for COVID-19
3 thoughts on “Parent/Teacher Resources”