Friday, August 23, 2013


International Literacy Day

 September 9, 2013

     International Literacy day shines the spotlight on literacy needs around the world. There are still 780 million adults worldwide with no literacy skills.  This year, the International Reading Association's theme is "Invent Your Future" to focus on literacy skills adults and children need in school, work, and life.  See the IRA website for a Twitter Chat schedule.

    Michigan also joins in the celebration with their Michigan Reads! book of the year, Woolbur.  See the Michigan Reads! website for a programming guide, touring information, pictures, author and illustrator information, and a recorded webinar. 

Other ideas to celebrate literacy on any day of the year include:
  • Stage a Fun Run for Literacy and provide donated books to participants.
  • Use newspapers to go global — conduct a scavenger hunt for country names or compare how stories are covered by newspapers from different parts of the world.
  • Invite students, parents, or guests who have lived in other parts of the world to read a story or to talk about classrooms in other countries.
  • Have older students make books to share with younger students or donate to childcare centers.
  • Invite a publisher to your classroom or school to discuss how books are developed.
  • Ask a local bookstore to donate books to disadvantaged children or for reading contest prizes.

Literacy in Social Studies

     Teacher's College at Columbia University lists some recommended nonfiction journals and online sites that may help you expand your access to complex nonfiction. The online sites provide access to a wide range of educational videos and databases. The journals often provide access to the online archive as well as multiple classroom copies. As you can see, this covers K-12.

Sites for Digital Texts:

 The NYC Public Library site. Access ‘research’ and choose from online databases, such as Amazing Animals of the World, andHistorical Newspapers, and a digital archive of historical photographs.

 The Discovery Channel site. This site gives you access to educational videos and interactive websites. For instance, for interactive global warming and weather issues, look at:

 Provides accessible digital texts, including videos of current news in science, sports, entertainment, and world events

 Watch award-winning documentaries, including current episodes from Nova and Nature, as well as archived videos

 Video clips and full length shows on history topics from Ancient China to the Vikings to Watergate.

Visit the home page, the video selection, or the ‘kids’ section, for a wide range of educational digital texts

Nonfiction Journals That are Particularly Print-Rich, Include Complex Texts, and Are Engaging:
  • Click –  introduces fascinating science topics (grades K-2)
  • Ranger Rick –  includes several-page spreads on an endangered animal or other natural science topic (grades 2-4)
  • Zoobooks –  these expository books are each dedicated to a single animal (grades 3-8)
  • Cobblestone –  focuses on American history (grades 5-7)
  • Dig –  Archaeology for kids, grades 5-7. Each issue is themed (grades 4-8)
  • National Geographic for Kids  – comes in two levels (grades 1-3 and grades 4-6)
  • Sports Illustrated for Kids  – covers issues, players, and teams, with an emphasis on achievement stories (grades 3-6)
  • Junior Scholastic  – provides coverage of current news issues and investigative journalism (grades 4-7)
  • Upfront –  the New York Times  Magazine for teens. Focuses on investigative journalism (grades 7-12)
  • Sports Illustrated

Literacy and Technology 

     At a recent conference, literacy consultant Cornelius Minor asked the question what do you want kids to do with technology?  His point was that the outcome is not just to learn another cool technology tool, but for kids to express their thinking and learning and collaborate with others through using technology. Technology is a tool, not a learning outcome. This is food for thought as we sift through and learn the plethora of new tools out there which allow teachers and students to read, write, speak, and listen in various modes.  

Upcoming Literacy PD at WISD

Writing Collaborative teacher workshops (secondary content areas):

Fall 2013: Oct. 22, 23 and Nov. 14
Winter 2014: Feb. 6, 7 and March 7
Spring 2014: April 29, 30 and May 16
Reading Apprenticeship teacher workshops (secondary content areas):

Fall 2013:      Sept. 24, 25, and Oct. 17 
Winter 2014:  Jan. 28, 29 and Feb. 12
Spring 2014:   April 22, 23 and May 14
 *See flyer here

Early Literacy: 
Tim Shanahan on Early Literacy:  March 11, 2014

*All details, costs, and registrations can be found on WISDGoSignMeUP!