The Latest Issue of Word Up!

The Word Up newsletter is chock-full of great resources for parents and educators. Browse the current issue below, or dig into the newsletter archive.

In Focus: Poetry

April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate the expressiveness and pure delight of poetry and discover new ways to engage kids with rich language — as readers and writers.

Writing Poetry with English Language Learners

Poetry gives students a chance to play with language and vocabulary. Although writing poetry can be intimidating, this article recommends some poetry forms just for beginners, including writing group poems and acrostics. Discover many other poetry forms, and find the approach that works best for your students.
See article >

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Retelling History with "Found Poetry"

Looking for ways to celebrate National Poetry Month while strengthening reading and writing skills or Common Core Standards?  The Library of Congress Found Poetry Primary Source Set supports students in honing their reading and historical comprehension skills by creating poetry based on informational text and images — with topics as diverse as Helen Keller, Walt Whitman, women's suffrage, and the Harlem Renaissance.
See resources >

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Deconstructing Poetry

In this video lesson from the Teaching Channel, students analyze the words of a poem in order to "see" the big picture. Find out how isolating key words prior to reading helps students explore themes and make predictions.
Watch lesson >

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How to Read a Poem

Using one of Emily Dickinson's most famous poems, this lesson plan from Scholastic provides three strategies for uncovering meaning in poetry:

  • Preview the poem and read it aloud a few times.
  • Visualize images created by the language
  • Evaluate the poem's theme and make inferences from the writer's words and what you know (a Poetry Inference Graphic Organizer is provided)
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During the month of April, the Academy of American Poets is hosting Poet-to-Poet, a multimedia educational project that invites students in grades 3-12 to write poems in response to those shared by award-winning poets who serve on the Academy's board.
How to enter >

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Teachers: if you are interested in using Poet-to-Poet in the classroom, has designed a series of activities aligned with the Common Core.
See lesson plans >

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Books & Authors

Voices: Books About Poets and Poetry

A fictionalized account of the life of Emily Dickinson as a young girl, a lively guide to poetry forms both familiar and obscure, and an inner city update of the classic poem Casey at the Bat — and more, in our eclectic collection of poetry books.
Browse booklist >

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The Surrender Tree: Our Video Interview with Margarita Engle

Award-winning author and poet Margarita Engle brings to life fascinating and often forgotten characters from history, such as Juan Francisco Marzano, Rosa la Bayamesa, and Maria Merian. In this interview Margarita recounts her childhood memories of Cuba and how her search for her own heritage led to the discovery of these unforgettable heroes and heroines.
Watch interview >

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American Libraries Learn to Read Teenagers

Now that the Internet is in full flower, you would think that the American Public Library would be a victim of its own success. And in a way it is: But a 2013 Pew Research found that teens use libraries and librarians more than other age groups, "but don't necessarily love libraries as much." Like any seasoned mentor, the public library is not giving up. The library is pulling out all the stops to get teens to keep reading and learning and dreaming.
Read blog post from NPR >

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Gilmore Girls, 1984 and The Year of Magical Thinking

Anyone who's watched an episode of Gilmore Girls knows that Rory is something of a book lover. "I live in two worlds, one is a world of books," she said. "I've been a resident of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann's Way. It's a rewarding world."

Last year, Australian writer Patrick Lenton compiled a massive list of every single book that was referenced in the Gilmore Girls series (339 in all), and set out to read each one in an attempt to complete what's known as the "Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge."
See the list >

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In the Classroom

Strategy: Inferential Reading

Teaching students to "read inferentially" helps them read more strategically by making connections between their personal experiences and their comprehension of a text. Rather than stopping students during reading to comment on specific points, this strategy focuses on their thinking and how new information reshapes prior knowledge.
See strategy >

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Resource: Integrating Knowledge and Ideas Across Multiple Sources of Information

In this lesson, 11th grade history teacher Joanna Heppeler sets the stage for an ambitious multi-day unit examining four key documents from President Lincoln: his first inaugural address, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address and the second inaugural address. She helps students draw inferences from Civil War-era photos, cartoons and maps as well as the primary texts.
Watch classroom video >

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Research and Reports

Pennsylvania's Keystones to Opportunity: Advancing Adolescent Literacy

In a time when students must have reading and writing skills that compare with — and can compete with — their international peers, Pennsylvania has created a road map for improving literacy that all schools, districts, and states should observe closely. A new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education, Advancing Adolescent Literacy: Pennsylvania's Keystones to Opportunity Comprehensive Literacy Program, describes Pennsylvania's Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) grant program. The report focuses on the design of instruction and interventions for students struggling to read and write in middle and high schools, including students with disabilities and English language learners, and it includes federal, state, and district policy recommendations.
Learn more >

Download report >

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The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

The Barron Prize honors outstanding youth, ages 8 to 18, who have shown leadership and courage in developing and implementing an extraordinary service project. The project must clearly benefit other people, our fellow creatures, or the planet we share. The prize was founded by author T. A. Barron in 2000 in honor of his mother. The top ten winners each receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education. The nomination deadline is April 15, 2014.
Learn more >

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Plain Talk About Reading

April 28-30, 2014
New Orleans, LA

From the nation's leading researchers, you'll learn about current findings on early screening for dyslexia, reading and the brain, executive function, writing about text, building comprehension skills, Common Core assessments, technology in the classroom, and more. All sessions are designed to deliver not only the latest research on reading but also effective strategies that can be implemented in classrooms tomorrow. The Institute features a "who's who" of reading experts, from researchers to practitioners, including Tim Shanahan, Cynthia Shanahan, Jan Hasbrouck, Anita Archer, Susan Ebbers, Maryanne Wolf, and Elsa Cardenas-Hagan. (Sponsored by the Center for Development and Learning.)
Register now >

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