Special Needs, Spectacular Reads

posted by Gina

One of my greatest challenges as an elementary school teacher was finding the kind of read-aloud that appealed to my entire class and motivated my students to read the same or similar books on their own. Skill levels in my classroom ran the gamut from a student who was reading high school books to another who didn’t know the alphabet.  Interest in school ranged from the reluctant student I saw maybe once a week to the always-there, always-early.  I had stereotypes on both ends of the gender spectrum, and those who defied every one.

In addition, the constant question: where to find the protagonists who reflect my students?  Where can my students who struggle find themselves as the hero?  Continue reading “Special Needs, Spectacular Reads”

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All hail Wendy Mass

©2013 Beret Olsen
©2013 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Ages: 8 and up

A couple of years ago, I received an unusual text.

“GO GET THE CANDYMAKERS AND READ IT ALOUD TO YOUR KIDS,” it advised.

It seemed rather urgent, so though the book wasn’t yet out in paperback–and weighed in at a hefty 453 pages–I “Amazon-ed” that thing and got started immediately.

Now comes the hard part:  explaining why you should get the book, too.

Unlike my friend Gina, I’m not one of those people who regularly seeks out new youth literature. I’ve been burned too many times by inane codswallop like the Rainbow Magic Fairy books. If I could remember who introduced them to my kids, I might even unfriend them, since over the course of the following ten months, I was forced to read at least 42 of those.        Continue reading “All hail Wendy Mass”