March 1, 2015

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Science Learning | A Medley of Resources

invent to learn

As the authors of new title on inquiry and literacy note, “simply reading about science” cannot replace the “actual doing of science.” Here are a few new titles that offer guidance and suggestions on incorporating hands-on and project-based learning in science and other classrooms.

Professional Reading | August 2013


Books on YA fashion programs and Pura Belpré’s work

A Common Core Approach: ‘Teaching with Text Sets’

text sets

The authors of the Common Core State Standards don’t spell out how text should be taught–that’s been left up to teachers and curriculum developers. A new book offers a framework for developing a content-rich, standards-based curriculum.

The Summer Slide and the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap

summer reading cover

The significant decline in reading skills many students experience over the summer is no secret, but it’s particularly damaging for children in low-income neighborhoods. ‘Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap,’ edited by Richard L. Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen, offers an in-depth look at this disparity and offers solutions that go beyond recommended reading lists.

Professional Reading | May 2013

Practical advice for teen services.

Meeting the CCSS Through Poetry | Professional Shelf


Can kids garner a passion for literature without Shakespeare, Silverstein, Salinger, or Sendak? Not in the opinion of the “lead architect of the Common Core Standards Initiative.” In celebration of National Poetry Month, we offer three titles that illuminate the intersection between the study of poetry and the goals of the CCSS.

Book Review: Professional Reading | March 2013

Check out SLJ’s professional reading section, where you’ll find new read-aloud selections by Rob Reid, among other titles.

Book Review: Professional Reading | February 2013

Check out SLJ’s professional reading reviews.

Fresh Paint: A New Building, a New Team, a New Me


My father is a Marine, so by the time I was eight I was quite adept at packing up my things. I vividly remember when we moved to Beaufort, SC. It was 1996, and it was the first time I ever took advantage of a move. Instead of trashing my old clothes and childish toys, I fixed up parts of my personality that needed improvement and tried out some new traits. I asked people to call me “Al”, giving the role of tomboy a spin. I also spoke up a little more and put myself in more social situations. I used this experience to invent a whole new me.

‘Pathways to the Common Core’ | Professional Shelf


“Pathways to the Common Core” offers solutions and directions for teachers looking for a way to understand and implement the Common Core State Standards into their lesson plans.

Book Review Professional Reading: January 2013

BERNIER, Anthony, ed. VOYA’s YA Spaces of Your Dreams Collection. 224p. appendix. charts. diags. further reading. illus. index. photos. websites. VOYA. 2012. pap. $50. ISBN 978-1-61751-011-3. LC 2012935470.
Bernier has compiled every “YA Spaces of Your Dreams” column for VOYA since its inception in 1999 through 2010. The book is divided into three main parts by size of the teen space (less than 500 square feet, 501 to 1000 square feet, and more than 1001 square feet), and the sections are organized chronologically by publication date. It provides […]

Pew & Berkman Report: Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy

Pew logo

The Pew Internet & American Life Project, in collaboration with the Berkman Center at Harvard University, has recently released “Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy”. The report—the first in a Pew/Berkman Pew logoseries with a focus on youth privacy issues—combines a number of quotes taken from focus group interviews conducted by Berkman’s Youth and Media team with Pew data from a nationally representative phone survey of parents and their teens, with a focus on the use of social networking sites. The report is fully downloadable, and may be searched online as well.

Clustering and the Common Core


Achieving the level of complex thinking in the classroom required by the Common Core standards can feel overwhelming, particularly when students will be reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing in this capacity throughout the day.

Does Character Matter?


In “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character,” Paul Tough challenges the notion that academic achievement rests primarily on the types of cognitive skills measured by IQ tests. Could it be that success is, in fact, more dependent upon non-cognitive skills or character traits such as social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity?

On Common Core | Content Over Coverage


One of the most common complaints about state or local curriculum standards is that they focus on covering a range of topics while sacrificing depth of understanding. Chances are you’ve heard your colleagues bemoan that these standards are “a mile long and an inch deep.” Are the Common Core State Standards any different?

Professional Reading: October 2012

BAXTER , Kathleen A. & Marcia Agness Kochel. Get Those Guys Reading!: Fiction and Series Books That Boys Will Love. 220p. illus. index. photos. CIP. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $35. ISBN 978-1-59884-846-5. LC 2012005430.

Baxter and Kochel group the books into nine subject areas, from sports to historical fiction. Each chapter is then subdivided by readers’ ages: younger guys (grades 3 and 4) and older guys (grades 5 to 12). Lastly, within each age grouping, titles […]

Professional Reading: August 2012

CHANCE, Rosemary & Laura Sheneman. Crash Course in Family Literacy Programs. 127p. appendix. bibliog. charts. diags. illus. index. websites. CIP. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $30. ISBN 978-1-59884-888-5; ebook $30. ISBN 978-1-59884-889-2. LC 2011044094.
The material in this slim volume is presented in a dry, unengaging, and somewhat disjointed manner, and the intended audience is unclear. Although the book seeks to address public and/or school librarians and library administrators, it is uncertain whether it succeeds at reaching any of these […]

Professional Reading: July 2012

KEANE, Nancy J. 101 Great, Ready-to-Use Book Lists for Teens. 264p. bibliog. CIP. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $40. ISBN 978-1-61069-134-5. LC 2011051428.
Meant to serve as a continuation of The Big Book of Teen Reading Lists (Libraries Unlimited, 2006), Keane’s new volume presaents another giant compilation of YA materials. All titles listed were published prior to August 2011. The book is divided into seven parts that are subdivided into themed lists such as “Genres,” “Readalikes,” and “Teaching Literary Elements.” The […]

Professional Reading Reviews, May 2012

DUNCAN, Donna, Laura Lockhart, & Lisa Ham. The New iSearch, You Search, We All Learn to Research. 148p. (How to Do It Manuals). charts. bibliog. index. CIP. Neal-Schuman. 2011. pap. $60. ISBN 978-1-55570-758-3. LC 2011033986.
The authors make the case that through a combination of strategies, standards, research, and social media, the iSearch research process can help students develop a better understanding of the logical and important steps involved in structuring research. It can also improve […]

21st-Century Learning: Are We Ready? | Curriculum Connections

Think about the number of times in a day that you make your way to Google (or another search engine) or how frequently you check your cell phone (whether or not it’s smart); we depend on information and communication that’s just a click or swipe away. Now, consider the technology available in classrooms with one or two outdated desktops.