“Mae Among the Stars” by Roda Ahmed

A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts! Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space. This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.

 

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“1,001 Ants” by Joanna Rzezak

About 1,001 Ants: We’re on an adventure with 1,001 ants! Come visit the ants in their home, meet their queen, and discover how they look after their colony. Then join them on a walk through the countryside, discovering plants, insects, mushrooms, and animals that live outside and in our yards. Spot the ant with red socks hidden on every double page, and enjoy a pleasant stroll through the undergrowth―seeing things that humans are usually too big to notice! 1,001 Ants is an engaging nonfiction storybook for children full of fascinating facts about nature. With lively and appealing illustrations, it’s a must-have for children who are curious about bugs and the animal kingdom.

 

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“Little Libraries, Big Heroes” 
 By Miranda Paul, Illustrated By John Parra

Todd and his friends love heroes. But in school, Todd doesn’t feel heroic. Reading is hard for him, and he gets scolded for asking too many questions. How will he ever become the kind of hero he admires? Featuring stunning illustrations that celebrate the diversity of the Little Free Library movement, here is the story of how its founder, Todd Bol, became a literacy superhero. Thanks to Todd and thousands of volunteers—many of whom are kids—millions of books have been enjoyed around the world. This creative movement inspires a love of reading, strengthens communities, and provides meeting places where new friendships, ideas—and heroes!— spring to life.

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Getting to Know Our Students: The Heart of Differentiation in the Balanced Literacy Classroom

By Margaret Mary Policastro, Diane Mazeski, Noreen Wach (Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois), and Tom Magers (Broadmeadow Elementary School, Rantoul, Illinois)

From the Illinois Reading Council Journal, Fall 2019
Recently, at our Summer Reading Clinic open house, a parent asked if we “ever had success with a student who doesn’t like to read?” As we were thinking of a response, her son, who is just going into 1st grade in the fall, was telling us how much he likes “bones and skulls.” He took out an object from his pocket and showed us a small dinosaur skeleton that he had put together. Collectively, we responded with positive thoughts about how all of these interests would be an important factor for the first day of the clinic and moving forward with him as a reader. On opening day, we had an abundance of books awaiting him about skeletons, bones, dinosaurs, and skulls. We were eager to see how he would respond. Indeed, within minutes of surrounding him with these books, he was totally engaged, curious, and captivated by the informational texts with which he was encircled. The photo in Figure 1 captures the essence of what happens when you match books to students’ interests. In this instance, the student going into 1st grade had access to books that had pictures, diagrams, and illustrations for him to comprehend. One pop-out book dis- played dinosaur skeletons. Since that first day, we noticed how his interest in these topics is both dense and deep—a knowledge base of information far greater than most of his peers.

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Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe

A beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known African-American fashion designer who battled personal and social adversity in order to pursue her passion of making beautiful gowns and went on to become one of society’s top designers. Having made dresses for Jackie Kennedy and Olivia de Havilland, Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them. Source: simonandschuster.com.

 

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Summer Reading Log

These reading logs are a great way to keep students practicing their reading skills throughout the summer!

How to implement in the classroom:

Students need to know that reading does not stop because school is out for the summer. Give these sheets to your students before the end of the year. Tell them they will be posted when they return in the fall. Have a cornucopia of books for them to access over the summer. Make arrangements with your local library to have a stack of the logs available.

My Summer Reading Log for the Classroom

Formative Feedback: Student To Student

William, (2011) defines formative feedback with the following: Feedback functions formatively only if the information fed back to the learner is used by the learner in improving performance. If the information fed back to the learner is intended to be helpful but cannot be used by the learner in improving performance, it is not formative. Feedback must embody a model of progression whereby a series of activities must be designed to move the learner from current state to goal state. We need to ensure that feedback causes a cognitive rather than an emotional reaction. (It is not a compliment or a criticism). The purpose of feedback should be to increase the extent to which students are owners of their own learning.

How to implement in the classroom:

Student to student feedback is important. Teach your students how to comment constructive about their peers work. Teacher must model, demonstrate, and explain student to student feedback and provide examples. Be explicit about what is allowed on the feedback and what is not appropriate. Have students read their feedback and discuss if they agree or not and why. Ask if they would change anything after reading feedback.

Formative Feedback Student to Student Information Sheet

Formative Feedback Student to Student Information Sheet

Formative Feedback For Students

Allows teachers to record observations of students’ literacy skills during class and provide feedback for students and parents.

How to implement in the classroom:

Formative assessment and feedback needs to be ongoing and continuous if you are measuring the developmental level of a student with fidelity. These pads can be used to include anecdotal information, quick assessment checks, observations, concerns, etc. You may want to send one home to a

parent (make and keep a copy for your files) acknowledging a student’s fine contribution or perhaps a friendly note to have them work on a particular skill with their child.

Formative Feedback Pads 4×6

 

 

Close Reading Account For Students

These forms guide students in documenting and becoming more aware of their close reading skills.  Forms are available in three levels: Primary (Dark Blue), Intermediate (Green) & Upper Grades (Light Blue). In response to the need to shift instructional strategies to highlight close reading, we have developed a close reading kit which includes the three levels of reading forms. This kit grew out of concern about how to document students’ close reading and is meant to be an active tool that students use during guided reading, independent reading and writing, and in the language and literacy centers.

My Close Reading Account Intermediate Level

My Close Reading Account Middle Level

My Close Reading Account Primary Level

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