April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Wii Learn: Surprise elementary grade students with a fun way to learn math

For the past two years, we have been using a tool to support math instruction in our schools that is as familiar to many students as riding a bike—the Nintendo Wii. Viewing the video game console through the eyes of an educator has opened up a world of mathematical applications through which students can master concepts, teachers can align with the Common Core Standards, and classrooms can reflect students’ experiences and interests.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative […]

ALSC & YALSA 2012 Audio Picks

In this Article

The Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of the American Library Association (ALA), released their 2012 audio picks at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Dallas, TX, in January.

The items on ALSC’s Notable Children’s Recordings list, for children 14 years of age and younger, exhibit especially commendable qualities, show respect for children’s […]

ALSC & YALSA 2012 Notable Video and Film Picks

In this Article


The Notable Children’s Videos list is compiled annually by a committee of the Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The titles were released in January 2012 at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Dallas, TX. The videos, for children 14 years of age and younger, exhibit especially commendable qualities, show respect for children’s intelligence and imagination, […]

Why I Write Poetry: A really good poem can reach kids in wondrous and unexpected ways

People often ask me—in a slightly mystified tone of voice—why I write poetry. I know what they’re thinking: poetry is a bit outside the mainstream; many readers don’t seek it out, and some avoid it. So why deliberately choose it?

In some ways, I think poetry chose me. I’ve loved it right from childhood, drawn to those tiny sculptures of words on the page. The words themselves enchant me: so vivid, so concise, so rich […]

A Labeling Dilemma: Identifying special needs materials in general collections | Feedback

We’d like to take issue with School Library Journal’s review of Terri Couwenhoven’s “The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes in the Tween Years” (Feb. 2012, p 140).

The reviewer evaluated the book as if it were written for an audience of typically developing girls. But in fact, the book is intended for girls with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or autism. The accommodations made for its audience are the strengths of the […]

Numbers All Around: Math

Math is everywhere. Sometimes it’s obvious-on a test, counting money, etc.-but other times students don’t even realize they’re using it. When they get wrapped up in the topic, they can begin to appreciate the importance and beauty of math and become motivated to learn more. There are times when the basics have to be covered (see Enslow’s “Ace Your Math Test” for a great series for that), but there should also be opportunities for students to get interested in a […]

The Art of Video Games

Spectacularly illustrated and insightfully written, these handsome volumes will be of interest to gamers as well as to teens that are considering careers in the industry.

Get the Big Picture

The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect (Welcome Books, 2012; Gr 7 Up) provides an overview of 40 years of video game history and draws attention to the evolution of this medium into a unique and compelling form of creative expression. This sumptuously illustrated volume has been released […]

All Aboard!: Implementing Common Core offers school librarians an opportunity to take the lead.

By Rebecca Hill, 3/30/2012

OK, so school librarians weren’t invited to the party. When members of the National Educational Association, the National Council for Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and the American Federation of Teachers met in 2010 to draft new benchmarks for language arts and literacy for our nation’s K–12 schools—the Common Core Curriculum State Standards (www.corestandards.org)—there weren’t any media specialists at the table. Even though school librarians have […]

Full-Time School Librarians Linked to Higher Student Reading Scores

Want to see students get higher reading scores? Then make sure their schools have a media specialist.

According to new research from Library Research Services, which reviewed standardized test scores from Colorado schools in 2005 and 2011, reading scores statistically increased when schools retained or gained a school librarian. “There is a positive and statistically significant relationship between advanced reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing trends,” reads the report, published last month.

In schools that had an endorsed librarian or hired a […]

Fuel for Your Fire | SLJ’s Average Book Prices 2011

Good data offers a reality check that’s invaluable for building libraries

Following a longstanding tradition, our March editorial brings readers the list of average book prices* . These numbers continue to be a critical piece in the growing data puzzle that we must solve as we plan for the future. Developed by Albert Greco, a professor at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business and senior researcher at the Institute for Publishing Research, the figures provide a key perspective as you […]

Why Read?: Exploring the link between literacy and the imagination

Though it happened more than 50 years ago, I keep the sensation of that moment. It’s every bit as vivid as the memory of pedaling my bike down the sidewalk and suddenly realizing I was alone, that my father was no longer there steadying and guiding me. Or the feeling of counting backward under ether, “ten…, nine….”

I was in first grade, I know that, in Miss Carnahan’s class, though I don’t think I […]

Tough Love: Marie Lu’s dystopian thriller offers plenty of explosive action and romance

Your first novel, Legend, triggered a major bidding war, Hollywood can’t wait to turn it into a movie, and you’re only 27.

It’s just been a really, really exciting ride. I wake up all the time and I pinch myself, because it’s all just so overwhelming sometimes.

Legend features two teens from opposite sides of the tracks in postapocalyptic L.A. Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal, and June is a military protégé who’s charged with taking him down. […]

ALSC & YALSA 2012 Book Picks

ALSC Notables Children’s Books

Younger Readers

BARTOLETTI, Susan Campbell. Naamah and the Ark at Night. illus. by Holly Meade. Candlewick. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-4242-6.

BENTLY, Peter. King Jack and the Dragon. illus. by Helen Oxenbury. Dial. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3698-6.

BURKERT, Rand, retel. Mouse & Lion. illus. by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. Scholastic/Michael di Capua Bks. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-0-545-10147-9.

CUNNANE, Kelly. Chirchir Is Singing. illus. by Jude Daly. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-375-86198-7; PLB $20.99. ISBN 978-0-375-96198-4.

Creative Tabletop Gaming: ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ and Libraries (Oh My!)

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has been available for 37 years in a variety of editions, and it still remains the standard for tabletop role-playing games (RPGs). Like similar games, play largely exists in the imaginations of its participants. Play is aided by limited visual aids such as maps and tokens, and dice are used to determine the outcome of certain events.

The Dungeon Master (DM) plans, organizes, and describes the action, and each player (between 4 and 6 […]

The Environment: Seeds of Change | Focus On

Melting ice caps. Endangered species. Polluted rivers. Habitat loss. Frightening news and images of environmental destruction can lead to hopelessness. When politicians propose eliminating environmental regulations and international leaders cannot agree on ways to halt climate change, how can the average person make a difference? Although the books introduced below do not ignore the challenges facing the planet, they suggest ways children and young adults can take action.

Elementary school students might adopt simple changes at school and home as […]

Give Them a Big Hand: Puppets are great motivators for children who are learning to read

One of the most surprising early literacy questions we’ve encountered is about puppets. It came from a youth librarian whose director insisted that he couldn’t see how using puppets “has any value whatsoever, as far as early literacy is concerned.” “What can I tell him?” she asked us.

Oh, my. Where to start?

Print motivation, most likely. What motivates children more than having fun? Puppets are nothing if not fun. A puppet sharing a story enchants a preschool […]

Addition by Subtraction: What happens when Accelerated Reader books aren’t appropriate?

The district just told us that we can’t use any upper-level Accelerated Reader (AR) books in our elementary school reading program because the topics may be too mature for our students. We think they’re censoring the program and our students will suffer.

I’d say the students are the winners. Maybe they can finally read books that interest them without being tested on everything they read. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have these books in the library. The students […]

The Long Road to Freedom | Books for Black History Month

As Andrea Davis Pinkney explains in With the Might of Angels, “Negro History Week was created by historian Carter G. Woodson to bring national attention to the achievements of black people in America.” In 1976, this week in February became “Black History Month.” Now, African-American History “Month” generally begins in mid-January in anticipation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and often flows into March, as there is no shortage of strong black women to be remembered and celebrated during Women’s […]

Bill Wallace, Award-winning Children’s Book Author, Dies

Award-winning children’s book author Bill Wallace, died of lung cancer on January 30; he was 64. He started writing books for kids as a form of classroom management. His first published book, A Dog Called Kitty (Holiday House, 1980), is a story about a boy who must learn to overcome his fear of a puppy.

Wallace, a former teacher, explained on his website that he wrote the book “to keep my fourth graders quiet after lunch recess. When they listened to […]

Interview: Ishmael Islam, NYC’s 2012 Youth Poet Laureate

Nineteen-year-old Ishmael “Ish” Islam was recently named New York City’s 2012 Youth Poet Laureate for his winning poem, “Daydreaming at the Voting Booth,” which he performed at a poetry slam at Cooper Union.

SLJ spoke to the Kingsborough Community College student about his new role, his passion for poetry, and how librarians can help spread the love of this art form to their students.

The Youth Poet Laureate program is a voting-themed teen competition designed to energize young voters through spoken word […]