Thursday, July 26, 2018

More Morning!

Please indulge me just a bit longer as I share a spontaneous video we made at the recent convention of the International Literacy Association in Austin, TX. Janet and I read aloud one excerpt from GREAT Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud and it was so fun! Here, I am reading the scripted intro and follow up for the poem and Janet reads the featured poem, "What Does a Reading Specialist Do?" by Linda Kulp Trout--perfect for our audience of reading teachers! In just one minute, the principal (or anyone) can start the day with an uplifting poem for the whole school community!

Here is the complete text for this excerpt to show you how simple (yet powerful) it can be to start the school day with a poem.

What is the most frequently used letter in the English language? E. What is the most frequently used word? If you guessed “the,” you’re right! We learn to read, spell, and decode about 40,000 words as we grow up. And who can help us build vocabulary and fine-tune our reading skills at school? The reading specialist—the focus of our next poem. 

As you read in class today, think about how you are also learning to “untangle new words, discover connections, and make meaning, too.” Keep reading in school and after school every day! 

CONNECT (Teachers/librarians can extend the featured poem with this linked poem)
For a poem about how reading can be a passageway to take us far away, link with “Secret Worlds” by Margarita Engle (page 104).

Also share this poem on Read Across America Day on March 2.

This poem also provides examples of similes.

Now, join Catherine at Reading to the Core for more Poetry Friday fun!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Reading with Pets

Today I am presenting at the conference of the International Literacy Association in Austin, Texas, with Janet (Wong), author Kathi Appelt, and librarian Amy McFadden. This time, our focus is on reading with pets-- a practice that has been around at least 20 years (in an organized way), but seems to be having a big moment once again. I'm setting the stage and sharing some key research findings about the benefits of pairing children and therapy dogs. Janet (Wong) talks about how collaboration helps us be more innovative in trying many things, including reading with pets. And we'll both be sharing excerpts from our book, Pet Crazy, of course. Kathi Appelt talks about her beautiful picture book, Mogie, about a (real) therapy dog who became the heart of a Houston hospital. Amy McFadden shares her experiences with Barking Book Buddies, an Austin program that pairs kids and dogs reading together. And we'll even have volunteers from that program attending WITH THERAPY DOGS! Here are some of my slides on the background of pet reading programs.

Be sure to check out Heidi's Poetry Friday blog post at My Juicy Little Universe about her week at the poetry institute at the Poetry Foundation. It is full of good ideas! Here's the link.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good morning! No... GREAT Morning!

Welcome, Poetry Friday Peeps!

My Caldecott "family" including the artists seated in front! 
It’s been a fun summer for me thus far—traveling half the time and working on projects half the time. Celebrating “my” committee’s Caldecott at the ALA conference in New Orleans was a highlight—with my whole family along for the ride. 

And now Janet (Wong) and I are launching our latest project for a brand new audience: school principals (and other school leaders). It’s called GREAT Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud, a collection of poems for principals to read along with the morning announcements (or any time). You’ll find 75 poems by 50+ poets—including some new collaborators. Wish we’d had room in this book for even more poets and poems!

In this book, we’ve provided short opening and closing paragraphs to bookend each poem; reading the “Did You Know?” and “Follow Up” paragraphs aloud, with the poem in between, takes just a minute. This makes it easy for principals to jump in and share a poem without too much prep. Every poem has an additional linked poem that can be used by teachers or librarians with other nuggets such as “hidden language skills” for digging deeper into the poems during classroom instruction. 

Steve Wilfing & Vicki Alley

We were lucky enough to get a fabulous elementary school principal to “test drive” the collection this week. BIG THANKS to Steven Wilfing, principal of Stony Brook Elementary School in Pennington, New Jersey, for allowing us to crash his office during his summer break—and videotape him reading a poem from GREAT Morning!  (And to Vicki Ailey, awesome school secretary, who welcomed us warmly!) 

In this fun one minute video, Steve reads “To Our Front Office Staff: A Celebration” by Kay Winters.

Doesn't he do a GREAT job?! 
Readers of these morning announcement poems could also include other members of the office staff, the nurse, counselor, custodian, security guard or police officer, parent volunteers, guest readers from the community, and even student leaders. We hope that creating this poetry reading ritual on Poetry Fridays—or on any day—can help support a school culture of kindness, respect, and gratitude. 

As you may know, I’m also a big fan of “back matter,” so we included a ton of additional information we hope will be helpful: Poetry Performance Tips, Setting the Stage for Poetry, Poetry Across the Curriculum, Poetry Awards, Poetry Blogs & Websites, Poet Blogs, Nurturing Young Writers, Places for Students to Publish Poetry, A Letter to Parents, and Sharing Poetry at Home. And of course we have a list of “More Poetry Books for School Leaders” that includes titles such as:
  1. Bagert, Brod. 2008. School Fever. *Hilarious poems about school from the child's point of view
  2. Dakos, Kalli. 2003. Put Your Eyes Up Here: And Other School Poems. *Fun, lively poems that explore the world of one make-believe classroom 
  3. Derby, Sally. 2017. A New School Year. *Six children (K-5) share their worries, hopes, and successes on the first day of school
  4. Florian, Douglas. 2018. Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All. *Humorous and honest poems about the many facets of friendship 
  5. Franco, Betsy. 2009. Messing Around the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices. *Playful poems that capture life around the school from the playground to the library to the classroom
  6. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2018. School People. *An anthology that celebrates the grown-ups that children encounter throughout the school day
  7. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year. *Fun poetry full of wordplay on a variety of subjects and forms that counts down from the first day of school to the last 
  8. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2009. Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School! *An inventive poetry collection featuring first- and second-graders at school
  9. VanDerwater, Amy Ludwig. 2017. Read! Read! Read! *23 poems about the joy of reading everything from maps to sports news
  10. Winters, Kay. 2018. Did You Hear What I Heard? Poems about School. *35 poems about a variety of elementary school experiences
Anyhoo, we hope you’ll check it out and share it with principals and other school leaders! Learn more about GREAT MORNING! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud and books in The Poetry Friday Anthology series and Poetry Friday Power Book series at Find it on Amazon starting on July 25, or order now from (800) 323-6787.

Let’s link up together for our lucky Friday the 13th Poetry Friday Round Up. 
Thanks for stopping by!