Links I Shared on Twitter Recently: November 8: Productive Struggle, Female Toy Soldiers + Girls in STEM

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. I am finally digging out a bit from work, and I managed to find a ton of great stuff this week. Topics include: #AbilityGroups, #BookHooks, #BookLists, #BrainDevelopment, #DiverseBooks, #GrowthMindset, #Homeschool, #LoveOfReading, #PajamaDrive, #ProductiveStruggle, #ReadAloud, #ReadingChoice, #ReadYourWorld, #SchoolLibraries, #ScreenTime, #SketchNoting, #STEM, diversity, gender, kindness, parenting, reading, and testing. Happy reading!

Top Tweet of the Week

The Power of #ProductiveStruggle for kids' learning – Great read for #teachers + #parents from @katiemartinedu citing @joboaler's #LimitlessMind (which I read this weekend)

Book Lists

Gallery: @nytimes Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2019 — @100scopenotes | #PictureBooks #Illustration #BookLists

Diversity + Gender

A 6-Year-Old Asks Why There Are No Female Toy Soldiers. Now, There Will Be. @mihirzaveri @nytimes | My favorite part of this story is that the child complained, her mom had her write letters + change was sparked

How the #GenderGap in #STEM Might Get its Start in Elementary School | Study finds girls w/ same scores as boys less likely to be nominated for advanced #math program @matt_barnum @Chalkbeat

Events, Programs + Research

Early announcement from @gail_gauthier | Multi-Cultural Children's Book Day is Jan. 31, 2020 @MCChildsBookDay #ReadYourWorld #DiverseBooks

If any #teachers out there are looking for a holiday giving program for classrooms, the @Scholastic #PajamaDrive looks super kid-friendly. Have your kids donate new cozy PJs + Scholastic will donate a kids' book for each

Press Release Fun: @scbwi's 3rd Annual #Literacy Initiative Gives Books to Readers in Need — @FuseEight #BookDonation #BookAccess

Growing Bookworms

Great post from @pernilleripp about Questions to Ask When the Kids Aren’t #Reading (the serial abandoners #teachers all know) | #ReadingChoice #ReadingIdentity + lots more

Interview w/ a #Reading Specialist @GuessingGeisel via @TheReadingTub | It's challenging to teach when kids haven't been #ReadAloud to at home + "come in with limited vocabulary, limited sense of story"

Here's the latest @TheReadingTub #BookHooks: #YoungAdult Book Series ideas w/ feedback from teen reviews on #Audiobook versions

Rekindle or Reaffirm Students’ #LoveOfReading with How to Read a Book by @kwamealexander + Melissa Sweet @kegancunningham #ClassroomBookshelf

We Make the Time – @pernilleripp on how as a busy parent + teacher she doesn't "find" time to read, she makes it b/c how else can she show kids that she values #reading

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

Why the books we read as children are the ones that shape our psyche | #Rereading, intense discovery, joyous inhibition + more | I love this piece by @Gwendolyn_Smith @guardianweekend

Interesting #kidlit #publishing news: ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ Author #EricCarle, at age 90, Sells Company to @randomhousekids

Parenting, Play + Screen Time

Stop Trying to Raise Kids to be "Successful" and raise them to be kind instead @AdamMGrant @TheAtlantic "81 percent (of kids) say their parents value achievement and happiness over caring" for others

This needs more research, but in a recent study, MRIs show > an hour of #ScreenTime w/out parental interaction was linked to lower #BrainDevelopment in preschoolers - @cnnhealth

#Genetics and #Intelligence for your #Homeschool | Don't label your kids as slow learners or as gifted, says @MarlaSzwast, give them the enriched environments they need to learn better [You would like #LimitlessMind by @joboaler, Marla]

It's A Smartphone Life: More Than Half Of U.S. Children Now Have One by Age 11 (+ 84% of teens) | @anya1anya @MindShiftKQED #ScreenTime | Maybe so but I'm still making my kid wait longer

Schools and Libraries

Why Teachers Are So Excited About the Power Of #Sketchnoting (it boosts #VisualThinking + #memory) | @Kschwart @MindShiftKQED | Bet Derek from #MyLifeSeries would like this, @JanetTashjian

Smart idea for teachers from @Catlin_Tucker | Record Video Directions for things you end up explaining over and over again | Save your time, give kids control over their learning. Plus kids love video

OPINION: Separating 'gifted' children via #tracking + #AbilityGroups hasn't led to better achievement @joboaler @hechingerreport | Recent #NAEP results showed US schools using #ReadingGroups more tended to have lower scores

The Extinction of #SchoolLibrarians – Like @literacious, I wish that every school had a qualified #Librarian. I know we value the one in my daughter's school + I still think fondly of the one from my childhood, Mrs. Tuttle

Chicago Libraries’ Late Fee Elimination Sparks A 240% Boost In Book Returns @Forbes via @donalynbooks | #BookAccess #libraries


Neat! For The First Time In History, Girls Won All Five Top Prizes at the Broadcom MASTERS #STEM Competition for Middle Schoolers | @amightygirl #brcmMASTERS @Broadcom


#Reading scores drop in California, most states in much-watched national test | @jfenster + @BayAreaData @EdSource #NAEP #testing

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Tip for #GrowingBookworms: Schedule Playdates at the Library

I was reading a blog post by Pernille Ripp over the weekend in which she talked  about ways  for teachers to encourage kids who aren't reading (serial book abandoners). There are many good ideas  in the post, but one question she asked particularly struck me:

"Do they have people? Is it cool to not be a reader in their friend group? Who do they have to talk books to? Do they have reading role models that extend beyond the teacher? ..." 

This reminded me of something that I've done a couple of times to nurture having "book people" for my daughter. I thought the idea might be useful to other parents who are looking to support a love of reading in their kids. 

I have been scheduling playdates at the public library for my 9 year old. I am very lucky that not only are there several library branches within an easy drive of our neighborhood, but one of them has an outdoor playground accessible from the same parking lot. Brilliant work, San Jose! So here's what I've done with a couple of my daughter's friends on different occasions. 

  • Pick up the other child or meet at the library.
  • Go first to let them play in the children's section for a bit (and return books, use the restroom, etc.).
  • Take them to the playground and let them loose (bringing a comfortable folding chair and something to read for myself as well as snacks for them).
  • Let them play for as long as possible, and then return to the library to pick out books to take home. 

There is nothing like watching your child and a friend recommend books to each other, or listening to them chatter about books in the back seat while you drive. Of course you have to choose a friend who wants to go to the library, but in our case the playground also helps. I've only done this one-on-one. I realize it will be more challenging to accomplish if there are siblings with their own needs to balance, but I think it could still work.

I also think it could still work without a playground, though you probably won't be able to stay for as long. When I went recently with my daughter and her friend they had a great time giggling over the games for preschoolers on the computer. I did not fuss about screen time. I want them to enjoy the library and have fun there. And in truth they got bored with that pretty quickly.  [And yes, I supervised - I'm not saying to leave your kids at the library or anything, or to burden the library staff with watching them.]

I agree with Pernille that to become readers, it helps if kids have friends who are readers, too. If your child is lucky enough to have friends who like books, consider scheduling some playdates at the library. And really, if your child's friends don't like books, you might as well try this anyway. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter Recently: Halloween #BookList Edition (w/ some other fun links saved over the past 2 weeks)

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter over the past two weeks @JensBookPage. I haven't had a lot of time for reading posts and articles, but I did manage to save a slew of links to booklists and gift guides. Other topics include #BookHooks, #DeepLearning, #DigitalMedia, #Diwali, #DyslexiaAwareness, #Failure, #GraphicNovels, #GrowingBookworms, #Halloween, #HistoryBee, #Homework, #JoyOfReading, #KnowledgeGap, #ReadAloud, #ScreenTime, #SocialMedia, journalism, libraries, parenting. Happy Halloween, all! 

Book Lists + Gift Guides

6 Books to Celebrate #Diwali – A timely #BookList from @Literacious | Wishing all my Hindu friends a joyous Festival of Lights

12 #Halloween Picture Books – Another timely #BookList from @literacious Spooky #PictureBooks abound! Stay safe, everyone.

One more #BookList for Halloween from @literacious: Spooky, Scary #MiddleGrade Titles | I love #Serafina + #SpiritHunters

15 #PictureBooks About Bread – Fun #BookList from @literacious | In my house we also love The Three Little Tamales, which is similar at least in spirit

10 #ReadAloud Books for 9 Year Olds for Conversation Miracles | #BookList from @momandkiddo, who urges parents to keep #ReadingAloud to kids at this pivotal age re: #JoyOfReading

Librarian Jennifer Wharton shares a #BookList of Read-Alikes to @goraina's #GraphicNovel hit SMILE | My daughter can vouch for virtually all of the books listed.

Guest Post: 12 #GraphicNovels with Black Protagonists — @GoodComics4Kids #BookList #DiverseBooks

Friendly Haints and Macabre Adventures | 36 Seasonal Titles for #MiddleGrade and #HighSchool Readers | @dgrabarek @sljournal #kidlit #YA #BookList

#MiddleGrade Book Gift Guide: 2019 Edition from @brandymuses | #KidLit by category w/ links to reviews

#YALit Gift Guide: 2019 Edition, #BookList categorized + w/ links to reviews by @brandymuses

Let the #GiftGuide season commence! Fun stuff in the 10 Best Gifts for #Preschoolers to Boost Their Brains! (Ages 3-5) @momandkiddo

Events, Programs + Research

This is cool. #WimpyKid author Jeff Kinney & his brother Patrick Kinney Discuss their new Who Was? #HistoryBee project @fuseeight #nonfiction #reading

Expert Roundtable: Dispelling the Myths and Misunderstandings About #Dyslexia@ReadByExample shares insights from a diverse array of respondents for #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth

Growing Bookworms

Continuing the #BookHooks series from @TheReadingTub | Illustrated #ChapterBook Series, combining storytelling + images to help new or struggling readers to fall in love w/ books

#BookHooks: Advice + #BookLists from @TheReadingTub for showing busy preteen readers #JoyOfReading via #MiddleGrade #BookSeries

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

Meet the @Scholastic Kid Reporters | A roundup of some recent interviews by these 10-14 y.o. journalists | I love that Scholastic is mentoring kid #journalism, one of my daughter's prospective careers

Parenting, Play + Screen Time

Parents Need to Help Their Children Take Risks - Study suggests parent’s presence can give kids confidence they need @AlisonGopnik @WSJ #parenting #failure

#SocialMedia Has Not Destroyed a Generation - New findings suggest angst over technology is misplaced, though more research is clearly needed | @LydiaDenworth @sciam via @drdouggreen

Schools and Libraries

How Not to Get a Standing Ovation at a Teachers' Conference | @alfiekohn knows what will make #teachers applaud, but he tries to also inspire change | #homework #testing #DeepLearning

A Guide to #DigitalMedia Apps at Your Public Library | 4-part series from @mrskatiefitz #Overdrive #Libby #Hoopla + more

Why are the waiting lists for library e-books so long? The battle for the future of #eBooks is at local #libraries @FastCompany via @tashrow


What To Make of the 2019 Results from the ”Nation's Report Card” #NAEP, responses from various #EdPolicy thinkers @EducationNext | #testing #reading #math

Here's @Doug_Lemov's "Hot Take" on #NAEP #Reading Scores: #Schools should invest in #KnowledgeBased instruction. People should read #TheKnowledgeGap by @natwexler

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 18: Defending #GraphicNovels, Pushing Back on Helicopter Parenting + Cell Phones

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include  #AI, #BookFair, #BrainDevelopment, #EarlyChildhoodEd, #EducationResearch, #GraphicNovels, #HigherEd, #Homework, #JoyOfReading, #LoveOfBooks, #ReadingIdentity, #ScreenTime, libraries, parenting, teaching, testing, and writing.

Top Tweet of the Week

GutsIn Defense of #GraphicNovels and Those Who Read Them by @LieslShurtliff @nerdybookclub | Research shows they challenge readers. Even if they didn't, shaming any child over #ReadingChoices is "a death sentence" to #LoveOfReading

Book Lists

#BookHooks: @TheReadingTub recommends #EasyReader Series "that will have your reader-to-be giggling" + asking for more

50 Upper Middle Grade Books for ages 11-15 | #BookList from @momandkiddo covering the type of books a friend was just looking for. More mature, but not "YA mature" #kidlit

Events, Programs + Research

It’s Time for the #BookFair for Ballou High #SchoolLibrary | @chasingray  @BallouLibrary #BookAccess

Thoughts from @DTWillingham on Who to Believe on Twitter re #literacy + #EducationResearch | Impact of lack of credentials, different views on core truths + people not sharing assumptions matter

Babies As the Ultimate Learning Machines. The future of #AI depends on #computers learning as resourcefully as babies do @AlisonGopnik @WSJ

Nobel Prize in Economics Awarded for Work on Poverty - Tell your children that the 2nd woman ever to win the #NobelPrize for #Economics is also the youngest recipient

Growing Bookworms

The growing of a Reader | Wendie Old on how she became a #ChildrensLibrarian after a short-sighted volunteer refused to let her check out books she wanted to read b/c of her grade level #JoyOfReading

Using #ReadingNotebook Covers for Reflection and Goal Setting | Looks like a good way to reinforce #ReadingIdentity | @ClareLandrigan + @TammyBMulligan @ChoiceLiteracy

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

#Nonfiction #PictureBook Challenge: No apologizing for Nonfiction — Kit Lit Frenzy | | w/ shoutout to some recent nonfiction #GraphicNovels

The Importance of Books, a message from @VanessaHarbour to writers (esp. those #writing #YA) to keep it up @AwfullyBigBlog | escape, support, understanding + more

Betsy Doesn’t Have Time for Your Nostalgia Today — @fuseeight takes on "any adult who starts publicly mourning the state of children's literature in 2019" #kidlit

Parenting, Play + Screen Time

#BrainTraining apps don't work, so why are we obsessed with them? | They "might not boost your #MentalFitness and just make you better at playing games" but it's ok to just enjoy them @SabrinaMWeiss @WiredUK

Do You Teach #EarlyChildhood Ages (as a parent or a #teacher)? This List of Tips, culled from personal experience, Is For You – @HonorsGradU | "Water #play is the cleanest play"

THIS! #HelicopterParenting + bulldozer #parenting are bad for everyone — including parents @MeaganFrancis @NBCNewsTHINK @jesslahey

Schools and Libraries

School completely bans mobile phones. Teachers say kids' behaviour changes - | @WalesOnline via @drdouggreen | More classroom + social engagement, higher test scores. #ScreenTime

This teacher won’t use #textbooks. His students succeed despite that — or maybe because of it. - @washingtonpost via @MindShiftKQED #CognitivePsychology #learning

Is #Homework Valuable? Depends on the Grade. #Teachers Share Their Approaches | @Kschwart @MindShiftKQED | #parenting

College Students Don’t Want Fancy Libraries - @aliaemily @TheAtlantic | Digital natives still want real #libraries w/ physical books | #HigherEd

Testing + Higher Ed

Record number of colleges stop requiring the SAT and ACT amid questions of fairness | @atugend @hechingerreport @NewsHour #HigherEd #testing

College admissions officers rank prospective students based on web browsing, family finances and other data - @washingtonpost @dmac1  @wpnick #HigherEd #privacy

What will it take to make headway on student achievement? | @LDH_ed @EdSource on recent CA #testing results showing painfully slow progress + persistent equity gaps

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: October 15: #BookwormMoments, #ReadingLevels + #ReadingChoice

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every three to four weeks.  

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have three posts about my daughter's latest "Bookworm Moments": one about having a book call out to her; another about building a reading nook; and the third about mourning a ruined book. I also have a post in which I share some sad snapshots of the impact of reading levels on families and another about when giving kids reading choice is hard on a parent. I have published several posts with literacy and reading-related links that I shared on Twitter. Since there are so many, I've included only the most recent one in the newsletter. You can find the previous ones here: September 20, September 27, and October 4

Reading Update:  In the last four weeks I finished four middle grade, one young adult, and seven adult titles (three fiction and four nonfiction). I read/listened to: 

  • TimeMuseumMatthew Loux: The Time Museum. First Second Books. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed September 20, 2019. Read my daughter's copy at her request. She wanted to be able to talk about it with me, and I've promised her that I will read any such books. It wasn't quite my sort of thing, but I can see why she likes. And books with time travel are often a bit confusing, whether text or image-based. 
  • Matthew Loux: The Time Museum 2. First Second Books. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed September 20, 2019. ,Read my daughter's copy at her request. 
  • Lincoln Peirce: Big Nate Flips Out. Harper Collins Children's Books. Middle Grade Hybrid Graphic/Text. Completed October 2, 2019, read aloud to my daughter. I like the Big Nate books much more than I expected (as was the case with the Wimpy Kid books). They are witty and entertaining. I  have not read the ones that are 100% comic strip, but we've been working our way through the ones that are more of a text/comic hybrid. 
  • Lincoln Peirce: Big Nate in the Zone. Harper Collins Children's Books. Middle Grade Hybrid Graphic/Text. Completed October 3, 2019, read aloud to my daughter.
  • ShatterCityScott Westerfeld: Shatter City (Imposters, Book 2). Scholastic. Young Adult Speculative Fiction. Completed September 21, 2019, on Kindle. I read this one in one sitting, happy to be back in Westerfeld's Uglies world. 
  • Robert Putnam: Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Simon & Schuster. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 21, 2019 (skimmed a bit, but got the main points), personal copy. This book, about the gap in opportunities that are available to kids from different backgrounds, is important. It's a mix of detailed anecdotes of individual students and more quantitative results from studies. I personally tend towards reading the quantitative stuff, and have less patience for anecdotes/personal stories, hence the skimming. 
  • Craig Johnson: Land of Wolves (Walt Longmire). Viking. Adult Mystery. Completed September 23, 2019, on MP3. Always good to spend  some time with Walt. In this installment, Walt is recovering in body and soul from his challenges of the previous book, and it is a bit depressing. But still good, as far as I'm concerned. 
  • MillennialsGui Costin: Millennials Are Not Aliens: ...but they are 80 Million Americans Who Are Changing How We Buy, Sell, Vacation, Invest, and Just About Everything Else. Forbes Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 30, 2019, personal copy. I read this book for work. It's about how technological changes have driven generational changes in expectations/preferences, and the implications of this for providing any kind of product. It's both fascinating and highly useful, and a quick read. 
  • Todd Borg: Tahoe Night (Owen McKenna, No. 7). Thriller Press. Adult Mystery. Completed October 6, 2019, on Kindle. It took me a while to get through this installment of this PI series, and I think I'm done with the series, at least for now. 
  • Joy Ellis: Darkness on the Fens. Joffe Books. Adult Mystery. Completed October 8, 2019, on MP3. This UK-based cop series, however, continues to hold my attention, at least on audio. The killings in this one were pretty dark, but I like the characters enough not to be put off by that. 
  • BookGirlSarah Clarkson: Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life. Tyndale Momentum. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 8, 2019, personal copy. This is a book about the joys of loving books and reading well, aimed at women (as you would guess from the title). I skimmed some of the author's specific recommendations (she is much more religious than I, for one thing), but I loved her premise overall, and have added a number of her favorites to my TBR list. Sherry over at Semicolon has been posting about some of the discussion questions from the book, and can give you a much more nuanced feel for this title. 
  • Carla Naumburg: How to Stop Losing [It] with Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Calmer, Happier Parent. Workman Publishing. Completed October 15, 2019, on Kindle. I was inspired to read this parenting book by an article in which the author recommended  "single-tasking" instead of multitasking as a way to avoid losing your temper with your children. I have noticed that when I try to squeeze in a few work emails while my daughter is in the room, I often end up extra stressed out, so I wanted to read more. While I wasn't thrilled with the level of profanity in the book, I otherwise appreciated the author's direct, non-judgmental voice. Her main point is that we all have certain things that trigger us (make us more susceptible to losing our tempers), and that understanding what those are and mitigating them where possible (e.g. by single-tasking) helps. 

MyLifeAsABookI'm listening to Manitou Canyon (Cork O'Connor, book 15) by William Kent Krueger. I'm reading My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian and Jake Tashjian aloud to my daughter for our breakfast reading. I picked out the latter in my ongoing quest to find new books that my daughter will enjoy given that she has read pretty much every graphic novel and notebook novel I can find that is remotely at her interest level. I was hopeful of this series because while the books are mostly middle grade text, there are small cartoons in the margins on most pages illustrating the more challenging words. I had to push her just a little to give My Life as a Book, the first  in the series, a chance, but we are both really enjoying it now. She was nearly late to school this morning, in part because we both wanted to read one more chapter. 

In the aftermath of a planned (though not well executed) power shut-off where we live, we have chosen our next read aloud already: The Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens. 

On her own, my daughter is generally reading one longer book at school, interspersed with reads and re-reads of graphic and notebook novels  at home. Her recently completed long book was Pandora Gets Jealous, the first book of Carolyn Hennessy's Mythic Misadventures series. She enjoyed it, and brought home the next book in the series  from her school library, but she seems to be only reading these during silent reading time at school. 

StargazingShe quite enjoyed Stargazing by Jen Wang, which I picked up on the recommendation of several blog reviews. She's also taken with the newest Sunny book by Jenni Holm and Matt Holm, Sunny Rolls the Dice, and has been re-reading that. She's pretty much counting the days until the new Dork Diaries book is published (October 22 - I have this on my calendar). 

She is mildly annoyed by having to read at her designated reading level for school  and having to participate in a whole class novel read in school. But so far her love of reading is undimmed. I keep the books she is excited about coming, talk to her about them, and read aloud to her every morning. This is doing the trick, so far anyway. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 11: The New #HungerGames Book, Recycled Legos and #JoyOfReading

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #AchievementGap, #BookAwards, #BookLists, #ClassroomLibraries, #EdTech, #gender, #grades, #GrowingBookworms, #LoveOfReading, #OutdoorPlay, #ReadAloud, #ScreenTime, #ThirdGradeCliff, parenting, publishing, schools, sleep,  and  writing. 

Top Tweets of the Week

Ballad_of_Songbirds_and_Snakes_Cover_3DToday @Scholastic announced the title + cover of the new #HungerGames prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, releasing May 19 w/ 1st print of 2.5M copies | It's going to be huge | #yalit #publishing

I think this is very cool. Have #Legos lying around? @LEGO_Group says US customers can mail them in for free and they'll be cleaned and donated to schools via @TeachForAmerica

Book Lists + Awards

#NYCC ’19: The Harvey Awards Winners – Congratulations to @StudioJJK + @GraphixBooks on Hey Kiddo's win for Book of the Year @multiversitycom #GraphicNovels

55 Great #HistoricalFiction Books for Readers Aged 8-14 Years | Detailed #BookList from @TrevorHCairney (some titles may only be available in Australia)

Top Ten Quick-Start Books for #MiddleSchool that will hook readers right away by @ChristiansenLMS @nerdybookclub #BookList #ReluctantReaders

Diversity + Gender

The problem with boys' academic underachievement "is not going away + its consequences ... are potentially dire" but maybe it's not fashionable to address it says @greg_ashman

Events, Programs + Research

Parents who read to their child on a tablet end up having less interaction together, a new study finds - @cnnhealth via @tashrow #ReadAloud #ScreenTime

How Sleep Influences College Students' #Grades | | @Jamie_Ducharme @TIME via @ResearchDigest | MIT professor finds consistency of #SleepSchedules correlates w/ academic performance, which may benefit women

This is interesting (if not surprising): Who (in terms of demographics) doesn’t read books in America? | @pewresearch via @tashrow #JoyOfReading #EducationalEquity

SCBWI’s Third Annual #Literacy Initiative Gives Books, Builds Dreams, and Offers Hope to Readers In Need | @nerdybookclub @scbwi

Growing Bookworms

Book Hooks: Nurturing #LoveOfReading in the youngest readers via #BoardBook + #PictureBook Series @TheReadingTub #GrowingBookworms

#Teachers, please read: Readers, in Spite of School by @donalynbooks @nerdybookclub | "do you think there’s a way we can teach (already engaged readers) ... without killing or disrespecting their reading lives in the process?" #LoveOfReading

Thoughts from @ReadByExample on #ClassroomLibraries + Student Involvement, inspired by recent @donalynbooks questions about #schools + encouraging (or not) #JoyOfReading

3 Things Parents Should Do to Raise Lifelong Readers (Besides Bedtime Stories) | | @EntryLevelRebel @Inc shares highlights from @jpinsk + @DTWillingham | #JoyOfReading #BackgroundKnowledge #WordPlay

Stop Rushing Kids out of #GraphicNovels – A great reminder from @pernilleripp for parents + teachers to "embrace the books they read and help them find more books like it instead"

Give Kids Good Books And They'll Love Reading Forever | @JolieRancher posits that the #ThirdGradeCliff in #LoveOfReading stems from schools pressing kids to "dense and outdated" books vs. more relevant fare @HuffPostLife

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

Sometimes writers of #nonfiction books get abused online, too. If you disagree with a writer, don't be vicious or abusive to them personally says @annerooney @AwfullyBigBlog #writing

Fond memories of the @Scholastic #BookFair from @literacious #JoyOfReading #LoveOfBooks

For those who follow such things, the @nytimes is again making changes to its #BestsellerLists @PublishersWkly via @CynLeitichSmith #Publishing

Parenting + Play

Multitasking is making parents lose it with their kids. Here’s how to break the cycle. @SWMama @onparenting suggests parents try focusing on one thing at a time | #parenting #focus

Schools and Libraries

UK's first outdoor primary school opens in London. Kids to spend 95% of their days outside | @nomiackerman @EveningStandard via @drdouggreen #OutdoorPlay

Brain Wars: Evaluating #Montessori #Education Principles via lens of Modern #BrainScience - @MarlaSzwast calls it brain-friendly

Educational disparities among minority students are largely driven by their concentration in high-poverty areas, new @StanfordCEPA study finds @mcjomcg @WSJ #AchievementGap #integration

#EdTech Usage Levels Are Low: What Should #Schools Do? - @AlysonRKlein @educationweek | "Most software licenses districts buy never get used... a median of 30 % of ed-tech licenses are never used at all."

After listening to her 8th graders complain about an assignment, @MsYingling completes her own #BookProject on A Tale of Magic | #reading #accountability

Finally, Feel Free to Return That Library Book You Checked Out in 1981 | This @WSJ piece is about the #libraries that are eliminating late fees

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Bookworm Moments: Mourning a Ruined Book

AnneGraphicNovelMy daughter was out with my husband the other day. When she came home she immediately came to find me, with something in her hands. I couldn't quite see what it was when she called out: "Mommy! Something died!". I thought maybe they had seen a dead animal by the side of the road or something. But no. The "something" that had died was her copy of the Anne of Green Gables graphic novel by Mariah Marsden and Brenna Thummler. Apparently after the book sat in the heat in my husband's car for some period of time, the glue binding the pages together gave way. The book fell to pieces in my daughter's hands. She was devastated! 

We've all been there, mourning a ruined book. I'm still sad over my copy of The Scalawags of Oz, which was lost to water damage in my basement bedroom when I was young. In this case, I did put the pages  back in order, but it was  going to be pretty tough to read the book. [I find that difficult enough with unbound picture book ARCs.]

BookGirlOf course, this is the age of eCommerce. My daughter begged me to order another copy. Immediately. And while I really am trying to teach her that not all whims  need to be immediately granted ... this was Anne of Green Gables! Coincidentally, the very next page of the book that I was reading at the time, Sarah Clarkson's Book Girl, waxed rhapsodic over  the original Anne books. And  so ... one more Amazon  delivery came to our house this week. Anne with an e was restored. We kept the fallen apart copy to use for projects. 

A small price to pay for a child who loves books, I say. My daughter later rewarded me by remarking: "What I love about Anne  is how great her vocabulary is."  Then she quoted me a line from took. 

One day, I hope that she'll read the original. But for now, it's enough that she loves Anne enough to genuinely mourn damage to a book. 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Snapshots from a Focus on #ReadingLevels

Here are a few things I've seen or heard about from classrooms where students are required to read within their designated "Reading Level" (as determined by the Star Reading Test and monitored via regular AR quizzes):

  • A third grade boy who read happily over the summer, but then for whatever reason did poorly on his first Star test of the year. He wasn't allowed to read for school from the book series that he'd been enjoying on his own. 
  • A fourth grade girl lamenting the unfairness of getting a relatively high score on her first Star test of the year. Because kids in her class were allowed to read and test above their designated level but not below she griped that: "Everyone else gets to read what they want except for [a few other kids] and me." 
  • A fourth grade girl who started reading The Hunger Games because it was at her reading level (though to be fair the "interest level" listed for it is higher) and was disturbed by the content. She self-censored and no harm was done but it was a wake-up call for her mother that reading levels and interests levels aren't always aligned. 
  • A fifth grade girl who did poorly on a mid-year Star test and was THRILLED, because then she could read from a series she had fallen in love with. 
  • A mother scouring the AR  Book Finder for books that her son would be willing to read, because his reading level was slightly below his interest level. 
  • Another mother scouring the AR Book Finder for books that her daughter would be willing to read, because her reading level was slightly above her interest level.  
  • A mother quickly ordering books that her child wanted to read, before she might test out of that level again. 
  • Multiple kids each declaring an intention to do poorly on the next Star test. 

So much friction coming between these kids and the enjoyment of reading. So much wasted time on the part of parents. So many dedicated teachers who want kids to enjoy reading, yet end up putting kids and parents into these situations. 

I do agree that there is benefit to pushing kids out of their comfort zones. I do agree that some kids need practice reading books at their level. I do know that not all teachers use reading levels this way, and I do know that these reading levels when they are used apply only to books read for school. Parents who know to do so can give kids reading choice at home (though only kids who are relatively strong readers will have the time, depending on how many books they are required to read for school). But it still feels to me like a lot of families are working around this system, instead of the system helping to nurture readers. This makes me sad. And frustrated. 

[I just noticed, right before publishing this, that Donalyn Miller has also written about this topic this weekend. See her post: Readers, in Spite of School, which is an excellent way to put it, but still sad.]

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 4: On Encouraging #LoveOfReading + Hard Work in Kids

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #Bullying, #coding, #eBooks, #GrowingBookworms, #LoveOfBooks, #MentalHealth, #ReadAloud, #ScreenTime, #testing, parenting, publishing, and  hard work. 

Book Lists

11 Best Books for 6-Year-Olds | "the best books for any 6-year-old are the ones they love the most — no matter how silly the story may seem" | @strategist via @CynLeitichSmith

Chapter Book #ReadAlouds for 1st Graders – excellent #BookList from @literacious | Please keep sharing books w/ your kids, parents, even if they can read themselves

Books About #Bullying for Kids, new #BookList from @growingbbb #PictureBooks #MiddleGrade

Latinx and Hispanic #MiddleGrade Books by #OwnVoices Authors, new #BookList from @momandkiddo #DiverseBooks

Growing Bookworms

Should You Read to Older Children? Why I Read My Tween Bedtime Stories – @SheKnows | I love that this mom + her 12 y.o. daughter still read #PictureBooks together

Hook them on Reading with Book Series | Series satisfy our inner need for serial stories + provide the comfort of familiarity for kids, says @TheReadingTub  | #JoyOfReading

Parents play a key role in fostering children's #LoveOfReading | "Continue to read to your child" + more | | @medical_xpress @ConversationUS @tashrow

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

How Do Kids Learn to Read? What the Science Says + why systematic, explicit #phonics instruction is important via @JGCanada #ReadingInstruction

Strange Bookmarks: An Overview — funny post (if somewhat disturbing for #BookLovers) @100scopenotes

Why This Librarian Is Using Twitter To Fight Changes To Library #Ebook Pricing Terms @kidsilkhaze @Forbes #publishing

Children's books are tackling dark and taboo topics. AU author Morris Gleitzman says that's nothing to be afraid of - @abcnews via @tashrow | #kidlit #censorship

Parenting, Play + Screen Time

#School Doesn't Have to Be Fun All the Time, Hard Work Benefits Kids, even if it doesn't always pay off | Good stuff from @kagmoran @WeAreTeachers #Failure

More good advice: Do You Think Your Child is Being Lazy with Their Schoolwork? How to tell + how to help them overcome it | "Working hard is transferable" says @MarlaSzwast

Not all #ScreenTime causes kids to underperform in school, study says. Only the time spent watching TV + playing #VideoGames mattered. But kids spend a lot of time on those @CTVNews @drdouggreen

Students in high-achieving schools are now named an “at-risk” group because of impact of chronic stress on health + well-being @washingtonpost #MentalHealth #parenting


Teen Hackers Try to Convince Parents They Are Up to Good - @juliejargon @WSJ | #Coding #STEM | "Hacking club" apparently sounds cooler than "coding club"

Why Girls’ Superior #Reading Skills May Be Lowering Their Future Salaries – @ResearchDigest | Girls who are good at #math tend to be even better at #reading + to focus on that instead of #STEM fields


Support Builds For Making the #SAT Untimed For Everyone: A possible solution to the "Gaming the System" problem @gtoppo @EducationNext #testing #VarsityBlues #EducationalEquity

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

#BookwormMoments: Creating a Book Nook

IMG_7006My daughter had one of those bunk bed setups where there's a top bunk and a removable full-size bed underneath. We recently moved the full-size bed to another room. I noticed that the space underneath the top bunk seemed big enough to hold the two bookshelves that were on the other side of the room. My daughter immediately seized on this idea. I don't remember which of us started referring to the area as a book nook, but she was immediately eager for said nook to be arranged.

IMG_0336She even got ready for school early so that we had extra time in the mornings to move the bookshelves. This ended up involving a weeding/sorting process, discussed in a previous post. The initial stacks are shown to the left. The whole thing  took a couple of days, but in the end the shelves were much better organized. I only hit my head on the upper bunk once, so that was a win, too. 

Once the bookshelves were moved, a trip to Target followed, during which two beanbag chairs were procured.

And voila! A new book nook! I hope it gets many hours of enjoyment. 

One of the ways to encourage kids to read is to give them comfortable spaces in which to do so. I feel fortunate that we were able to put together this one.  Happy reading! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Giving Kids #ReadingChoice is the Right Thing. But Sometimes It Hurts.

IvyAndBeanLast week my daughter and I moved two bookshelves, as part of a project to create a reading nook. This required taking all of the books off  the shelves. Naturally, I took the opportunity to do some weeding and organizing at the same time. Weeding was necessary because the books were stacked two deep, and the ones in the back were basically lost. 

Most of the weeding was pretty easy. I  let my daughter decide, only overriding her on a few titles that I wanted to  keep. Berenstain Bears? Keep. Little Critter? Donate. Hot Rod Hamster readers? Keep. Superhero picturebacks? Donate. Little Golden Books? Donate most of them, but keep the ones by Bob Staake. Owl Diaries? Keep those, because sometimes you need a quick read. Keep all of the graphic novels. And so on. 

Then we came to a stack of Ivy and Bean books. These were books that I had literally been saving for her to read since before she was born. [Thank you Chronicle Books!] I looked at the books. I looked at her. I said: "You're never going to read these, are you?" She said: "Nah." She went on to volunteer that she doesn't think she'll ever read Clementine or Ramona or the Fancy Nancy chapter books. She thinks they are boring. And my heart broke, just a little bit. 

She saw that I was sad and said: "Well it's your fault. You bought me graphic novels." This is true, though technically Scholastic and Random House bear some fault, too. She started reading Princess Pink and Lunch Lady, fell in love, and never looked back. She skipped over easy readers and chapter books almost completely, and went from graphic novels to notebook novels to tween romances, with only a few diversions along the way. [And of course she's still reading graphic novels and notebook novels every day.]

ClementineI told her: "All I care about is that you are reading books that you enjoy." It is certainly true that I am grateful that she enjoys books, whatever those books are. But ... she doesn't want to read Clementine? I adore Clementine! Elementary school girls are supposed to read Clementine, aren't they? It's not like I'm asking her to read some ancient story with no relevance to modern life. The first Clementine book is (c) 2006. But of course I do want her to read what she wants to read. And I am grateful every day that she's found books to love. 

I know that giving kids choice in their reading is the right thing to do. But some days are harder than others. 

As I sighed over some other books that we went into the donate stack my daughter reminded me that we were donating them so that other kids could read them. This did help. It turns out that my friend's daughter will be thrilled to take the Ivy and Bean and Nancy Clancy books off our hands. This helped even more. The other books will also go to good homes. I have a friend who works in a library at a less-privileged elementary school.

But I'm keeping Ramona and Clementine. Just in case… If nothing else, I'll re-read them myself. 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: September 27: #ReadingLevels, #PlayBasedLearning + Deferring #Smartphones for Kids

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #BookSelection, #ClassroomLibraries, #eBooks, #GraphicNovels, #GrowthMindset, #LoveOfBooks, #PictureBooks, #play, #ReadingLevels, #ScreenTime, parenting, publishing, reading, and schools. 

Top Tweet of the Week

Here's what I'd like to know. How many kids around the country today are hoping to do poorly on the Star Reading Test, so that (w/ lower #ReadingLevel) they can read books that they actually want to read? #AR #testing #JoyOfReading #Schools  [Not a link, but this tweet generated some nice discussion last weekend.]

Book Lists

The BEST List of Preschool Books About Seasons, new #BookList from @growingbbb #PictureBooks

If You Like The #HungerGames... Read These Next! #BookList from @momandkiddo | I would add the #Uglies + #Imposters series from @ScottWesterfeld

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

#BookGirl by Sarah Clarkson @thoroughlyalive: How To Choose Books – I chimed in on discussion on #BookSelection @semicolonblog

Physical books still outsell #eBooks — and here's why | @MerylHalls tells @CNBC that people love to display what they've read + signal #LoveOfBooks to the world

Bring Back #Handwriting: It’s Good for Your Brain - @markhamh @elemental via @TheReadingTub | #writing #MentalHealth

New study finds that Our Brains Represent The Meaning Of Words the Same Way Whether We Read Them Or Hear Them – @EmmaELYoung @ResearchDigest #reading #Audiobooks #eBooks

Why New @goraina Graphic Memoir ‘Guts’ Has A One Million Copy Print Run | @Forbes @Scholastic via @tashrow | "Raina is a fantastic advocate" for the message that #GraphicNovels are real #reading

Children + Authors To Collaborate on The #StorySeeds #Podcast, Launching this Fall w/ the #Kidlitosphere's own @fuseeight as host @LitSafariMedia

Parenting, Play + #ScreenTime

We Need to Define #PlayBasedLearning#Play is not a child going through structured stations in a classroom, says @HonorsGradU. It is truly child led.

Girls vs. Boys: Brain Differences Might Explain Tech Behaviors (girls spending time on #SocialMedia + boys on #gaming) | @juliejargon @WSJ | #ScreenTime

I liked this piece in @TheAtlantic about why Sarah P. Weeldreyer Won't Buy Her Teenagers Smartphones #ScreenTime #parenting

Schools and Libraries

The Smaller Class Size Debate- What’s the Deal With The Numbers? – @HonorsGradU | Research finds "Class sizes need to be 13-17 students in order to be considered small enough to yield impactful advances." Worth the cost?

Schools will dump it': expert raises doubts over schools' ability to teach #GrowthMindset @smh via @greg_ashman

Creating and Maintaining a #ClassroomLibrary that gives kids an authentic #reading life, instead of defining them by #ReadingLevels by Savannah Campbell @nerdybookclub

How 'Standards' Work In A New Knowledge-Driven #Reading Curriculum - @Doug_Lemov #SpacedPractice #BackgroundKnowledge

I Should Have Thanked My #Teachers. I regret I never told them how profound their effect on me was, says former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent @WSJopinion

Good piece on helping students to remember things. The difference between #EpisodicMemory + #SemanticMemory -> working on the latter before planning memorable experiences @ClareSealy @EducationNext

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage