Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Learning From Our Students ~ GRADED SCHOOL, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Studying why and how writers "work hard," Brooke, one of the third grade children I am learning with this week offered this advice: "Keep your chin up and charge the mountain!"
Asking her to tell us more, Brooke offered us incredible insights about what it means to be a writer..."Stay with your writing - and don't give up!"
Right on, Brooke! Right on, Graded School Teachers!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Poetry Friday

From the kind invitation of Dr. Carol Wilcox, I join the ritual of so many Bloggers - Poetry Friday. Like a prayer for letting in the pocket jewels of a poet's heart, I so often turn to poems as reader and in my humanness when I need comfort or direction. In honor of one of our favorite poets, Don Graves, Carol and I offer you a wee poem of my own here. Angela, this one is for you, soul sister!


golden friend,
it is
too hard
to say
to you now.
a little longer.
I need
the length
of your days
and want
the playfulness
of your possibilities
with me
within me

Laura Benson ~ August, 2008...
Marking a BIG milestone

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Words to Live By...

Literature is my utopia.
Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

You asked me where I generally live.
In my workshop in the morning and always in the library in the evening. Books are companions even if you don’t open them.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881) in a letter to Lady Bradford

A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one. Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881)

Three hours a day will produce as much a man ought to write. Anthony Trollope

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How to Steal a Dog

Treasured friend Carol Wilcox recently recommended several books to our book club. Carol and Mary Denman, another beloved friend and book guru, always turn me on to the best books. So, when Carol recommended How to Steal a Dog, I knew I had to get it. Boy, was Carol right! This is such a heart deepening read. When (main character) Georgina Hayes' Dad leaves, her family has to find a new home - their car. Desperately wanting to help her Mom afford a place to live, Georgina innovates an idea which evoked compassion, wonder, and fear within me as I read her plans. Many years ago, I wrote a series of professional articles about the power of steering students to books which illuminate why and how to live a literate life. Georgina is a radiant role model of living a literate life; she turns to her journal as a soul mate, lifeline, and compass. And, not to give anything away, one or two of O'Connor's additional characters will help any reader see that God always keeps some angels on Earth.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Writing Learning and Teaching Professional Development Texts

Allende, Isabelle. Inventing the Truth.

Anderson, Carl. (2004). How's It Going? Heinemann.

Anderson, Carl. (2005). Assessing Writers. Heinemann.

Benson, Laura, ed. (2000). Colorado Reads! Colorado Department of Education.

Benson, Laura. (2003). Drawing From Our Well: Creating Writing Lessons from Our Reading Journeys. CCIRA/The International Reading Association.

Benson, Laura. (2001). Living Literate Lives. CCIRA/ The International Reading Association.

Benson, Laura. (2003). Portfolios of Proficiency. The Colorado Department of Education.

Benson, Laura. (2002). Revision Rituals. CCIRA/The International Reading Association.

Benson, Laura. (2001). A Writer’s Bill of Rights. The International Reading Association.

Browder, Walter. (2005). Happily Ever After: a book lover’s treasury of happy endings. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press.

Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way.

Cameron, Julia. The Right to Write

Davis, Judy. The No Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing.

Dierkling, Connie Campbell & Jones, Sherra Ann. Growing Up Writing: Mini-Lessons for Emergent and Beginning Writers. (2003). Gainesville, FL: Maupin.

Elbow, Peter. (1983). Writing with Power. Heinemann.

Fletcher, Ralph & Portalupi. (1998). Craft Lessons. Stenhouse.

Fletcher, Ralph & Portalupi, JoAnn. (2001). Writers Workshop. Heinemann.

Freed, Lynn. (2005). Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home: Life on the Page. Orlando: Harcourt.

Freeman, Marcia. (2003). Teaching the Youngest Writers: A Practical Guide. Gainesville, FL: Maupin.

Freeman, Marcia, Mitten, Luana, & Chappell, Rachel M. (2005). Models for Teaching Writing-Craft Target Skills. Gainesville, FL: Maupin.

Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones.

Goldberg, Natalie. The Writing Life.

Gordimer, Nadine. Writing and Being.

Graves, Donald. Investigate with Nonfiction.

Graves, Donald. (1994). A Fresh Look at Writing. Heinemann.

Graves, Donald. (2005). Quick Writes. Heninemann.

Harwayne, Shelley. (1999). Going Public. Heninemann.

Harwayne, Shelley. (2005). Novel Perspectives: Writing Minilessons Inspired By The Children In Adult Fiction. Heinemann.

Harwayne, Shelley. (2001). Writing Through Childhood. Heinemann.

Heard, Georgia. (2002). The Revision Toolbox: Teaching Techniques That Work. Heinemann.

Hill, Bonnie C. (2000). Developmental Continuums. Christopher Gordon.

Hindley, Joanne. (1996). In the Company of Children. Stenhouse.

King, Stephen. On Writing.

Kirby, Dan & Liner, Tom. (1988; 2005). Inside Out: Developmental Strategies for Teaching Writing. Heninmann.

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird.

Lane, Barry. (1993). After The End: Teaching & Learning Creative Revision. Heinemann.

McMackin, Mary & Siegel, Barbara. Knowing How. Stenhouse.

Murray, Donald. (1996). Crafting A Life in Essays, Story, Poem. Heinemann.

Murray, Donald. Read to Write.

Murray, Donald. Shoptalk.

Murray, Donald. Write to Learn.

National Research Council. (1999). Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success. [writing connections, too]

National Writing Project & Nagin, Carl. (2003). Because Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Our Schools. Josey Bass.

Peery, Angela. (2005). ARRIVE: Reflective Journaling. Centennial, CO: Center for Performance Assessment.

Quindlen, Anna. (2005). Being Perfect. New York: Random House.

Ray, Katie Wood and Cleveland, Lisa. About the Authors.

Ray, Katie Wood. (1999). Wondrous Words. NCTE.

Reif, Linda. Vision & Voice. Heninemann.

Routman, Regie. (2005). Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations & Results While Simplifying Teaching. Heinemann.

Smith, Mary Ann & Juska, June. The Whole Story: Teachers Talks About Portfolios. National Writing Project.

Spandel, Vicki. (2001). Creating Writers Through 6-Trait Writing Assessment and Instruction. Longman.

Stegner, Wallace. (1991). On The Teaching of Creative Writing. Stanford Press.

Strunk, W. & White, E.B. Elements of Style.

Taberski, Sharon. (2000). On Solid Ground. York, MA: Stenhouse.

Ueland, Brenda. If You Want to Write.

Welty, Eudora. (1987). One Writer’s Beginnings. Harvard.

Wilcox, Carol. (1993). All That Matters (edited by Linda Reif). Heninemann.

Zinsser, William. On Writing Well.

Cultivating Understanding

Akhavan, Nancy L. (2004). How to Align Literacy Instruction, Assessment, and Standards. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Allington, Richard. (2000). What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs. New York, NY: Longman/Addison-Wesley.

Benson, Laura. (2000). Colorado Reads! Data Driven Teaching and Best Practices of Literacy Instruction. Denver, CO: Colorado Department of Education.

Benson, Laura. (2004). Deep Thinking: Sustaining Students’ Strategy Learning to Cultivate Their Independence. The Colorado Communicator, (27), 72 – 87.

Benson, Laura. (2003). Drawing From Our Well: Creating Writing Lessons from Our Reading Journeys, Part One. Colorado Reading Council Journal. (26), 18 – 24.

Benson, Laura. (2002). Our Work: Developing Independent Readers. The Colorado Communicator. (26), 15 – 24 and 47.
Buehl, D. (2001). Classroom strategies for interactive learning. Newark, DE: International Reading Association
Boyles, Nancy. (2004). Constructing Meaning Through Kid-Friendly Comprehension Strategy Instruction. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House.

Boyles, Nancy. (2002). Teaching Written Response to Text: Constructing Quality Answers to Open-Ended Comprehension Questions. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House.

Cunningham, Patricia & Allington, Richard. (2003). Classrooms That Work: They Can ALL Read and Write (Third Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Gallagher, Kelly. Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4 – 12. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Harvey, Stephanie, McAuliffe, Sheila, Benson, Laura, Cameron, Wendy, Kempton, Sue, Lusche, Pat, Miller, Debbie, Schroeder, Joan, and Weaver, Julie. (1996). Teacher-Researcher Study: The Process of Synthesizing in Six Primary Classrooms. Language Arts, Vol. 73, No. 8, 564 – 574.

Hoyt, Linda. (2004). Snapshots: Literacy Minilessons Up Close. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hyde, Arthur. (2006). Comprehending Math: Adapting Reading Strategies to Teach Mathematics, K – 6. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hyerle, David. (2004). Student Successes with Thinking Maps: School-Based Research, Results, and Models for Achievement Using Visual Tools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Jensen, Eric. (2005). Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Marzano, Robert J. (2004). Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Nessel, Denise D. & Graham, Joyce, M. Thinking Strategies for Student Achievement: Improving Learning Across the Curriculum, K – 12, 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Nessel, D., Jones, M. and C. Dixon, C. (1989). Thinking Through the Language Arts New York, NY: Macmillan.

Rothstein, Andrew, Rothstein, Evelyn, & Lauber, Gerald. (2007). Writing for Mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Rothstein, Andrew, Rothstein, Evelyn, & Lauber, Gerald. (2006). Writing as Learning: A Content-Based Approach. Thousand Oaks, Corwin.

Rothstein, Evelyn & Lauber, Gerald. (2000). Writing as Learning. Glenview, IL: Skylight.

Taylor, W. (1953). “Cloze Procedure: A New Tool for Measuring Readability.” Journalism Quarterly Vol. 30, No, 4, pp. 415-33.

Tovani, Cris. (2000). I Read It But I Don’t Get It. Portsmouth, NH: Stenhouse.

Wilhelm, Jeffrey, Baker, Tanya, & Dube, Julie. (2001). Strategic Reading: Guiding Students to Lifelong Literacy 6 - 12. Portsmouth, NH: Heninemann.

Zwiers, Jeff. (2004). Building Reading Comprehension Habits in Grades 6 – 12: A Toolkit of Classroom Activities. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Zwiers, Jeff. (2004). Developing Academic Thinking Skills in Grades 6 – 12: A Handbook of Multiple Intelligence Activities. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Mentoring & Learning with Colleagues: Coaching Texts Collection

Coaching Bibliography
Allen, David & Blythe, Tina. (2004). The Facilitator’s Book of Questions: Tools for Looking Together at Student and Teacher Work. Oxford, OH: NSDC.
Allen, Jennifer. (2006). Becoming a Literacy Leader: Supporting Learning and Change. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Allen, Rick. (2005). Spreading the Word: Literacy Coaches Share Comprehension Strategies. Educational Leadership, 47(2), ASCD.
Alliance for Excellent Education. (2004). Reading Next: A Vision for Action and Research on Middle and High School Literacy. New York, NY: Carnegie Corporation.
Barr, R., Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P., & Pearson, P.D. (Eds.). (1991). Handbook of reading research (Vol. 2). White Plains, NY: Longman.
Bean, Rita. (2004). Promoting effective literacy instruction: The challenge for literacy coaches. The California Reader, 34(3), 58 – 83.
Bean, Rita. (2004). The Reading Specialist: Leadership for the Classroom, School, and Community. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Beers, Kylene. (2003). When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Benson, Laura. (2000). Going On Rounds. The Communicator. International Reading Association.
Boyles, Nancy. (2004). Constructing Meaning Through Kid-Friendly Comprehension Strategy Instruction. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House.
Boyles, Nancy. (2002). Teaching Written Response to Text: Constructing Quality Answers to Open-Ended Comprehension Questions. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House.
Braddon, Kathryn, Hall, Nancy, & Taylor, Dale. Math through Children’s Literature: Making the NCTM Standards Come Alive. Greenwood Village, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Brown, Dave. (2002). Becoming a Successful Urban Teacher. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Buly, Marsha Riddle, Coskie, Racy, Robinson, LeAnne, Egawa, Kathy, editors. (2004). What Is a Literacy Coach? Voices from the Middle, NCTE, 12(1).
Cameron, Mindy. (2005). The Coach in the Classroom. Northwest Education. NWREL, 10(4).
Casey, Katherine. (2006). Literacy coaching: The essentials. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Conner, Marcia, ed. (1996). Learning: The Critical Technology, 2nd Ed. St. Louis, MO: Wave Technologies International, Inc. *Adult learner and learning profiles
Cooper, Eric. (2005). It Begins with Belief: Social Demography Is Not Destiny. Voices from the Middle, Vol. 13 (1), p. 25-33.
Coskie, Tracy; Robinson, LeAnne; Buly, Marsha Riddle; & Egawa, Kathy, editors. What Makes an Effective Literacy Coach? Voices from the Middle, NCTE, 12(4), 60 - 74.
Costa, A. L. & Garmston, R. J. (1993). Cognitive coaching: A foundation for
renaissance schools. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.
Cushman, K. (1999). Horace. Vol. 15, No. 4 (April). The Cycle of Inquiry and Action: Essential Learning Communities. Oakland, CA: The Coalition of Essential Schools.
Cushman, Kathleen. (2003). Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers From High School Students. New York, NY: The New Press.
Darling-Hammond, L., Ancess, J., and Falk, B. Authentic Assessment in Action: Studies of Schools and Students at Work. New York: Teachers College Press.
Darling-Hammond, Linda & McLaughlin, M. (1995). “Policies that Support Professional Development in an Era of Reform.” Phi Delta Kappan, 76(8), 597-604.
Dole, Janice. (2004). The changing role of the reading specialist in school reform. The Reading Teacher. IRA. 57, 462-471.
Dole, Janice A. & Donaldson, Rebecca. (2006). “What am I supposed to do all day?”: Three big ideas for the reading coach. The Reading Teacher. IRA, 59(5.9), 486-488.
Dole, Janice A., Liang, Lauren A., Watkins, Naomi M., & Wiggins, Christine M. (2006). The state of reading professionals in the United States. The Reading Teacher, 60(2.10), 194-199.
Doubek, Michael Brandon & Cooper, Eric J. Closing the gap through professional development: Implications for reading research. Reading Research Quarterly. IRA.
Dozier, Cheryl. (2006). Responsive Literacy Coaching: Tools for Creating and Sustaining Purposeful Change. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Dozier, Cheryl & Rutten, Ilene. Responsive Teaching Toward Responsive Teachers: Mediating Transfer Through Intentionality, Enactment, and Articulation. Journal of Literacy Research, Vol. 37 (4), 459-492.
DuFour, Richard. (2004). Schools as learning communities. Educational Leadership, 61(8), 6 – 11.
DuFour, Richard, DuFour, Rebecca, Eaker, Robert, & Karhanek, Gayle. (2004). Whatever It Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service.
DuFour, Richard, Eaker, Robert, and DuFour, Rebecca, eds. (2005). On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities. Bloomington, IN: National Education Service.
Duncan, Marilyn. (2007). Instructional Dialogue: Literacy coaches use this method one-on-one. NSDC.
Elliott, E. (Ed.). (2003). Assessing education candidate performance: A look at changing practices. Washington, DC: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Farstrup, A.E., & Samuels, S.J. (Eds.). (2002). What research has to say about reading instruction (3rd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Fletcher, Ralph. (1991). Walking Trees: Teaching Teachers in the New York City Schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Fisher, Douglas. “Coaching Considerations: FAQs Useful in the Development of Literacy Coaching.” Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse.
Frost, Sharon & Bean, Rita. (2006). “Qualifications for Literacy Coaches: Achieving the Gold Standard.” Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse.
Fullan, Michael. (2000). The New Meaning of Educational Change, 3rd ed. New York: Teachers College Press.
Gay, Geneva. (2000). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, & Practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
Greene, Stuart, & Abt-Perkins, Dawn. (2003). Making Race Visible: Literacy Research for Cultural Understanding. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Hale, Janice. (2001). Learning While Black: Creating Educational Excellence for African American Children. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Harwayne, Shelley. (1999). Going Public: Priorities and Practice at the Manhattan New School. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Hilliard, Asa. (1997). Maintaining the Faith in Teachers’ Ability to Grow: An Interview with Asa Hilliard. Journal of Staff Development, Vol. 18 (2).
Hilliard, Asa. (1997). The Structure of Valid Staff Development. Journal of Staff Development, Vol. 18 (2).
Hilliard, Asa, ed. (1991). Testing African American Students. Chicago, IL: Third World Press.
Hyde, Arthur. Comprehending Math: Adapting Reading Strategies to Teach Mathematics, K – 6. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
International Reading Association. (2004). The Roles and Qualifications of the Reading Coach in the United States. Newark, DE: Author.
International Reading Association. (2006). Standards for Middle and High School Literacy Coaches. Newark, DE: Author.
Jackson, Yvette. (2002). Comprehension and Discipline Literacy: The Key to High School Achievement. Seattle, WA: New Horizons for Learning.
Jackson, Yvette. Unlocking the Potential of African American Students: Keys to Reversing Underachievement. Theory Into Practice, 44(3), 203-210.
Joyce, Bruce and Showers, Beverly. (2002). Student Achievement Through Staff Development, 3rd ed. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson, P.D., & Barr, R. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of reading research (Vol. 3). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Killion, Joellen. (2002) What Works in the Elementary School: Results Based Staff Development. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council.
Killion, Joellen. (2002) What Works in the High School: Results Based Staff Development. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council
Kinnucan-Welsch, Kathryn, Rosemary, Catherine A., Grogan, Patricia R. (2006). Accountability by design in literacy professional development. The Reading Teacher, 59(5.2), 426-435.
Kise, Jane. (2006). Differentiated Coaching: A Framework for Helping Teachers Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Knight, Jim. (2004). Instructional coaches make progress through partnership. Journal of Staff Development, NSDC, 25(2).
Kohn, Alfie (1998) "Students Don't Work, They Learn" from What to Look for in a Classroom and Other Essays. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Ladson-Billings, Gloria. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children. . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Lyons, Carol, & Pinnell, Gay Su. (2001). Systems for Change in Literacy Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Mann, Augusta. Touching the Spirit. NUA.
National Urban Alliance. (2003). Teacher Self Evaluation.
Neufeld, Barbara & Roper, Dana. (2005). Coaching: A Strategy for Developing Instructional Capacity. Annenberg Foundation.
Neufeld, Barbara & Roper, Dana. (2003). Instructional Coaching: Professional Development Strategies That Improve Instruction. The Aspen Institute Program on Education and The Annenberg Institute for School Reform.
Pearson, P.D. (Ed.). (1984). Handbook of reading research. New York: Longman.
Power, Brenda. (2007). Three Little Phrases No Literacy Coach Can Live Without.
Puig, Enrique A. & Froelich, Kathy S. (2007). the Literacy Coach: Guiding in the Right Direction. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Richardson, Joan. (2001). Support System: School improvement plans work best when staff learning is included. Tools for Schools. NSDC.
Ritchhart, Ron. (2002). Intellectual Character. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.
Robb, Laura. (2000). Redefining Staff Development: A Collaborative Model for Teachers and Administrators. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Robinson, L., Egawa, K., Riddle Buly, M., & Coskie, T. (2005). FAQs about literacy coaching. Voices from the Middle, 13(1), 66-67.
Robinson, LeAnne K. (2004). From Expert to Coach: The Changing Role of the Reading Facilitator in a School with a Scripted Reading Program. Teacher Resource Collection: Literacy Coaching. NCTE.
Rothstein, Andrew, Rothstein, Evelyn, & Lauber, Gerald. (2007). Write for Mathematics. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Ruddell, R.B., Ruddell, M.R., & Singer, H. (1994). Theoretical models and processes of reading (4th ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Russo, Alexander. School-Based Coaching: A revolution in professional development – or just the latest fad? NSDC.
Shanklin, Nancy. (2006). “What are the characteristics of effective literacy coaching?” Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse.
Showers, B. (1985). Teachers coaching teachers. Educational Leadership, 53(6), 12-16.
Showers, B., & Joyce, B. (1996). The evolution of peer coaching. Educational Leadership, 53(6), 12-16.
Singer, H., & Ruddell, R.B. (1976). Theoretical models and processes of reading (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Singer, H., & Ruddell, R.B. (1985). Theoretical models and processes of reading (3rd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Snow, C.E., Burns, M.S., & Griffin, P. (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Stein, Sandra & Gewirtzman, Liz. (2003). Principal Training on the Ground: Ensuring Highly Qualified Leadership. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Sweeney, Diane. (2003). Learning along the way: Professional development by and for teachers. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Tatum, Alfred. (2005). Teaching reading to black adolescent males: Closing the achievement gap. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Toll, Cathy A. (2006). The Literacy Coach’s Desk Reference: Processes and Perspectives for Effective Coaching. Urbana, IL: NCTE.
Toll, Cathy A. (2005). The Literacy Coach's Survival Guide: Essential Questions and Practical Answers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 2005.
Walpole, Sharon & McKenna, Michael. (2004). The Literacy Coach’s Handbook: A Research-Based Practice. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

World Wide Web to the Rescue!

Great Web Resources
Complied by Laura Benson

Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement

Center on English Learning and Achievement

Professional Organizations:

Listen to the Children

Collaborative Assessment Conversations/Student Work Collaborations

Harvard University’s Expository Writing Project

Bonnie Campbell Hill

Janet Allen

National Writing Project

New York City Library

Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

MidLink Magazine

Sites for Teachers

Ralph Fletcher

Guys Write for Guys Read

Additional delightful web sites: Joy Cowley; Cynthia Rylant; Eloise Greenfield; Sandra Cisneros; Jan Brett; Eve Bunting; Dav Pilkey; Donald Crews; Walter Dean Myers; Tomie dePaola; Katherine Paterson; Patricia Polacco; Mem Fox; William Joyce; Gary Soto; Tom Barron; Faith Ringgold…and…? Please share your favorites with us :)!

Looking for a good book?

Best in New Books 2004-2007
Bonnie Campbell Hill & Laura Benson

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child
The Dot and Ish by Peter Reynolds
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra, illustrations by Marc Brown
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter
My Librarian Is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs

The Worry Web Site by Jacqueline Wilson
The Cheat by Amy Goldman Koss
Lunch Money and The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
Story Time by Edward Bloor
Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell
The Teacher’s Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck

G is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book ~ David Schwartz
Grapes of Math ~ G. Tang
A Million ~ Andrew Clements

Am I a Color Too? ~ Heidi Cole & Nancy Vogl
Is There a Human Race? ~ Jamie Lee Curtis
Keep Climbing, Girls ~ Beah Richards

Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective? ~ Brian Cleary
It’s Raining Cats & Dogs ~ Spencer Christian
What a Great Idea! Inventions That Changed Our Lives
On Earth ~ Brian Karas

Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale by Lynn Roberts, illustrated by David Roberts
Thunder Rose by Jerdine Nolen, illustrations by Kadir Nelson
Stone Soup by Jon Muth
Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast by Jane Yolen and Robert Harris
Quicksilver by Stephanie Spinner
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2003 Newbery Award)
High Rhulain by Brian Jacques
Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud
The City of Ember and The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
The Supernaturalist and The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Pay the Piper by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
Eragon and Eldest by Christopher Paolini
East by Edith Pattou
The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce
Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by J. V. Hart, ill by Brett Helquist
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (2005 Newbery Honor Award)

Carmine: A Little More Read by Melissa Sweet
No Dogs Allowed! by Sonia Manzano, illustrated by Jon Muth
The Pickle Patch Bathtub by Frances Kennedy, illustrated by Sheila Aldridge
Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent by Lauren Child
How Much? Visiting Markets Around the World by Ted Lewin
Letter From a Desperate Dog by Eileen Christelow

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech
Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Here Today by Ann Martin
Bindi Babes and Bollywood Babes by Narinder Dhami
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (Newbery Honor 2004)
Jackie’s Wild Seattle and Leaving Protection by Will Hobbs
Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen
How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Pirates! by Celia Rees
The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E. L. Konigsburg
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt (Newbery Honor 2004)
Scrib by David Ives
The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis
Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
Replay by Sharon Creech
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Silverfin by Charlie Higson
Small Steps by Louis Sachar
Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd
Hallelujah Handel by Edouglas Cowling, illustrated by Jason Walker
Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson
John’s Secret Dreams by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Hudson Talbott

Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist by Lesa Cline-Ransome, ill by James Ransome
A Voice of Her Own: The Story of Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet by Kathryn Lasky,
illustrated by Paul Lee
If the Walls Could Talk by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Gary Hovland
The Darling Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter by Bonnie Christensen
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
Luba, The Angel of Bergen-Belsen, told to Michelle McCann by Luba Tryszynska-
Frederick, illustrated by Ann Marshall
Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Tsunami: Helping Each Other by Ann Morris and Heidi Larson
Owen and Mzee by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Paula Kahumbu, photographs by Peter Greste
The Milestone Project, photographs by Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel

BEST HISTORICAL FICTION (including contemporary issues in other countries)
Patience, Princess Catherine by Carolyn Meyer
Shakespeare’s Spy by Gary Blackwood
The Trial by Jen Bryant
Boston Jane: The Claim by Jennifer Holm
The River Between Us by Richard Peck
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Mud City by Deborah Ellis
Under the Sun by Arthur Dorros
Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton (Prinz Honor)
Our Secret, Siri Aang by Cristina Kessler
Napoleon and Josephine by Gerald and Loretta Hausman
Betsy and the Emperor by Staton Rabin
The Vanishing Point by Louise Hawes
A House of Tailors by Patricia Reilly Giff
Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer
Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
The Diary of Ma Yan by Ma Yan
Troy and Ithaka by Adele Geras

Wonderful Words by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Karen Barbour
In the Land of Words by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring by Ralph Fletcher
A Writing Kind of Day: Poems for Young Poets by Ralph Fletcher
Least Things: Poems About Small Natures by Jane Yolen, photos Jason Stemple
Definitions by Sara Holbrook
Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (Coretta Scott King Honor)
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms selected by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Fold Me a Poem by Kristine O’Connell George, illustrated by Lauren Stringer

A Heart Divided by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld
The Battle of Jericho by Sharon Draper (Coretta Scott King Honor)
Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman
Inventing Elliot by Graham Gardner
Boy 2 Girl by Terence Blacker
After by Francine Prose
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (Coretta Scott King Award and Prinz)
The Geography Club and The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger
Boy Meets Boy and The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Alt Ed by Catherine Atkins
Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going (Prinz Honor)
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (Prinz)
Fat Boy Swim by Catherine Forde
The Flip Side by Andrew Matthews
Breakout by Paul Fleischman
Last Chance Texaco by Brent Hartinger
Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson
Pictures in the Dark by Patricia McCord
Inside Out by Terry Trueman
So B. It by Sarah Weeks
The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O’Roark Dowell
One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman
The Legend of the Wandering King by Laura Gallego Garcia
Best Foot Forward by Joan Bauer
Totally Joe by James Howe
The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher
Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks
Wild Roses by Deb Caletti

Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan
Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
Naked in Baghdad by Anne Garrels
True Notebooks by Mark Salzman
Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid’s Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Nickled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Me and Emma by Elizabeth Flock
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

New "Best Books" for 2008 coming soon!

Letters to a Young Poet - Google Book Search

Letters to a Young Poet - Google Book Search

Letters to a Young Poet - Google Book Search

Letters to a Young Poet - Google Book Search

Consulting Calendar

The next few months, I am so fortunate and grateful to be learning with incredible educators around the globe...
North Carolina with colleagues of the NC Department of Education
Sao Paulo, BRAZIL with colleagues of The Graded School;
Cairo, EGYPT with colleagues of Cairo American College;
Sugar Land, TEXAS with colleagues of Fort Bend Public Schools;
Winnetka, ILLINOIS with colleagues of Winnetka Public Schools;
Dubai, UAE with colleagues of The American School of Dubai; and
Beirut, LEBANON with colleagues of The American Community School.
Singapore with colleagues of United World College of South East Asia

More information to come!
...Beijing, China in March!
This is what our work is all about!

Dave & Tim on the day of Tim's graduation from Cherry Creek High School
May 22, 2008
Englewood, Colorado

Stop Sign Reading

STRATEGY: “Stop Signing” ~ Metacognition
© Laura Benson

What is it? Stop sign reading reflects a reader’s habit and dispositions to create understanding before, during, and after reading by talking to oneself. Monitoring one’s understanding, a reader’s self-awareness of his/her knowledge and understanding – or lack of understanding – is voiced with self talk such as “I’m thinking…” or “I know that I know” or “I know that I need to know” as well as “I bet…” and “I wonder…” and “I learned…” to name just a few here J. [Additional self talk menus will be posted soon.]

Thinking Strategies/BRAIN SKILLS FOCUS:
Monitoring understanding with self talk and conscious interaction with text.
Repairing understanding when it breaks down or becomes confused with fix-up strategies and additional self talk.
As skill with stop signing grows:
Accessing background knowledge to make connections between what is know and what is being learned from reading “this” text;
Asking questions and developing inferences before, during, and after reading to create deeper understanding of text and fuel motivation for reading;
Searching intentionally for new knowledge and/or important ideas;
Visualizing text information/concepts/events/people to create a “movie” of text; and
Retelling, summarizing, and organizing one’s thinking about reading of text to synthesize understanding.

Teacher modeling of stop signing
Collaborative practice between teacher and students of stop signing
Emerging confidence to take risks and interact with text before, during, and after reading text

ü Before reading, Reader stops at introductory text information to stop and talk.
ü During reading, Readers stops at self determined pace/chunks to stop and talk and further develop understanding of text being read.
o Especially for young students and/or those who are new to the concept of monitoring their own understanding, teachers may nudge or assign students a pace such as “Let’s stop at the bottom of every page to think and share our thinking with one another.” Over time, teacher will ask students to begin stop signing/stop and talk during their independent reading and monitor students’ implementations carefully and frequently.
ü After reading, Reader stops to talk about his/her understanding of text.

STEPS INVOLVED when utilizing Stop Signing Reading with Written Responses/ Notebooks [with immense respect to Andy & Evelyn Rothstein, authors of Writing to Learn J ]
Set up double spread notebooks pages (e.g. pages 8 and 9 facing each other)
Write term METACOGNITION on top of page
Skip a line and write, “I know that I know something about…….
Skip a line and write, “First,”
Move to the middle of the page or go to the next page (facing) and write, “In addition,”
Go to the middle of the page and write, “Finally,”
Go to the bottom of the page, about two lines from the bottom, and write, “Now”
This setup will allow the students to write their first metacognition piece “I know that I know something about…..” This statement will then be followed by three supporting statements and a conclusion (“Now you know something that I know about….”

Value of understanding why and how to monitor understanding when viewing, hearing, or reading text in any context/content area
Integration of writing with subject areas increases knowledge
Comparing prior knowledge with new knowledge brings greater metacognition
Becoming aware of what one needs to know and how one goes about learning how and what to know is a step in learning how to learn

According to Arthur Costa, metacognition is one of the essential characteristics of intelligent behavior that, together with curiosity and wonderment, motivate people to seek additional knowledge. David Perkins expands the concept of metacognition to knowing one’s prior knowledge, recognizing new knowledge, and identifying expected knowledge. The application of metacognition works especially well in developing and building reading comprehension.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Welcome to An Open Book!

Welcome! Working to make literacy an open book for every child, I hope you find the conversations and resources here a light for your path.
Warm regards and respect,
Laura Benson

"What is the function of literature? Angela Graves had posed that question at the beginning of our book club meeting, before they’d even mentioned Trollope…Angela pronounced toward the end of the meeting that literature teaches us how to live…"
Summer Reading by Hilma Wolitzer

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
Allan K. Chalmers

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Victor Frankl