Read Works for National Poetry Month

Linked to Read Works just a few minutes ago, but here is a timely link for poems to celebrate National Poetry Month, which is always in April. Bet you will find some good poems!!


Read Works…for really good expository articles!!

My students (preservice teachers) use this website, as do I for quality short texts we use in class activities. The website lists informational articles by grade and Lexile levels. There are many options as well for locating what you need–search by topic, by units of study, and more. Reading research informs us, and the trend today, is to use short pieces of text when we wish to focus on comprehension. Read Works is an amazing site!!

The Writer’s Desk

The Writer’s Desk

Author Ralph Fletcher’s blog, The Writer’s Desk. His skinny little book, Breathing In, Breathing Out, remains an inspiration to me. His writing style is simple and direct and kids can relate well to him, as he does not leave them in the language jungle trying desperately to find their way out. He connects. This blog, appropriately named, opens windows into his writing life. Each day or so he provides snippets of his thinking about writing, pieces of his notebooks, tips for writers of all ages, and more. Check him out!

Thinking ahead to April—Poetry Month

Teachers—I know we are barely into March, but if you do anything with poetry, April is National Poetry Month, and here’s a great project! And, if you do visit the link below, while you are there you should take a few minutes and browse to see all that has to offer for you to bring the beauty and pleasure of poetry to your students.

Poet-to-Poet Project

Happy February!

February is Valentine’s month, and here is a Valentine for you!

This link will take you to a broadcast of a 2008 NPR All Things Considered program that features former poet laureate Ted Kooser sharing the scoop on his little book of poems called simply: Valentines. The little tome came about from a personal story that is delightful. I take my copy out every February.


I hope you enjoy this treat. Not only does Kooser share the story behind Valentines, but you can listen to him read several of the selections from Valentines on this site.

Love The Horn Book!

The Horn Book has been around at least as long as me!! And, the good news is you need not subscribe (though it’s a fabulous publication!)–now you can receive newsletters to your email.

My newsletter today included Notes on Nonfiction.


Copied below is a link where you will be directed to the page where you can sign up for emails.

The Horn Book newsletter

Pictures Speak Thousands of Words…

Linda Rief’s classroom

Middle School teacher and author-extraordinare’s (Seeking Diversity: Language Arts with Adolescents, Vision and Voice: Extending the Literacy Spectrum) classroom in pictures and detail. A peek into Rief’s classroom and worth the visit to Flickr!

Awesome Stories!

Awesome Stories!

AwesomeStories is a gathering place of primary-source information. Its purpose – since the site was first launched in 1999 – is to help educators and individuals find original sources, located at national archives, libraries, universities, museums, historical societies and government-created web sites.
AwesomeStories is about primary sources. The stories exist as a way to place original materials in context and to hold those links together in an interesting, cohesive way (thereby encouraging people to look at them). It is a totally different kind of web site in that its purpose is to place primary sources at the forefront – not the opinions of a writer. Its objective is to take the site’s users to places where those primary sources are located.

The author of each story is listed on the preface page of the story. A link to the author provides more detailed information.

This educational, curriculum-support teaching/learning tool is also designed to support state and national standards. Each story on the site links to online primary-source materials which are positioned in context to enhance reading comprehension, understanding and enjoyment.

When you become a member of Awesome Stories … You can see everything on the site (including an extensive image data base), explore all its features (including narrated stories), dig deeper (with lesson plans and text documents) and hear from us once a month (with a newsletter profiling current events and hot topics).
Join the site today.  It’s all free!

Here’s an example. Since Pearl Harbor Day is Friday…check out how Awesome Stories is on top of it!

Pearl Harbor Day

The 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

The 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

Lists of any kind with specified numbers (the 10 best, the 50 most…) both intrigue and challenge students (and adults!). At this link you will find a list of the 100 most beautiful words in the English language. This would be great fun as a start-of the-school-year challenge to students to have them notice language at a deeper level. Challenge students to notice and collect words they think are beautiful. And, what makes a word beautiful? The meaning, a memory or moment associated with the word, or the way that it rolls off the tongue? A good discussion in and of itself.

Have fun!