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.

Ready for College

November is full of early application deadlines for college — and a great time to start working on those applications due in January. Even kids in middle school can take time to be sure they are developing college-level reading skills. Take a look at the featured resources below and to learn more, browse our Ready for College portal.

Facebook share button Twitter share button

What Does It Mean to Be College Ready?

This model makes the case for a more comprehensive look at college readiness and outlines four interdependent skill areas: key cognitive strategies; key content; academic behaviors; and contextual skills and awareness.
See article >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Related article:
Academic Rigor: At the Heart of College Access and Success

Activities to Build College-Level Reading Skills

Research shows that to be on target for college and career readiness in reading by the end of eight grade, students should be able to demonstrate skill in five key areas. This article is full of classroom activities you can try in your middle school classroom to help kids improve reading skills up to or beyond benchmark levels.
See article >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Creating a College-Going Culture for English Language Learners

"If Latino students don't receive information about higher education opportunities, we can't be surprised if they don't pursue the options that we know are out there…" —Dr. Frances Contreras

Some English language learners may not know what to expect from the college application process. Others don't start thinking about college until their junior or senior year. One way to ensure that ELL students are prepared to apply for college is to create a college-going culture in your school and across your district.
See article >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Related article:
Getting Ready for College: What ELL Students Need to Know (and How ELL Teachers Can Help)

Find many more resources in our Ready for College section



And learn about Reach Higher — an initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama — designed to help all students understand what they need to complete their education, including:

  • Exposing students to college and career opportunities
  • Understanding financial aid eligibility that can make college affordability a reality
  • Encouraging academic planning and summer learning opportunities

Go to Reach Higher website >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Books & Authors

Booklist: History and Cultures

A committee of YALSA librarians curated this booklist to open doors on new worlds, exciting ideas, eccentric personalities, unfamiliar cultures, and distant time periods. Use it to broaden students' horizons as they prepare for college entrance exams and courses.
See booklist >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

The Norvelt Kid: Our Video Interview with Jack Gantos

Gantos has written books for readers of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His award-winning works include Hole in My Life (a memoir), Joey Pigza Loses Control (Newbery Honor book), and Dead End in Norvelt, the 2012 Newbery Award Winner. His Joey Pigza books take a quirky look at the life of a middle school boy with ADHD — the latest (and last) book in the series, The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza was published  this fall.
Watch interview >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Teen Librarian Toolbox

Check out Teen Librarian Toolbox (TLT), the newest blog on School Library Journal. A professional development hub for teen librarians created by Karen Jensen, TLT has been a popular resource, featuring book reviews, exemplary teen programming, technology, and social and developmental issues related to teenagers.
See blog >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

See It Through A Child's Eyes

Through Your Child's Eyes is a one-of-a-kind tool from our partner, Understood.org. Its videos and simulations allow you to experience what it's like for your child to struggle with reading, writing, math, organization or staying focused. Hear stories from children and find out from experts why these tasks can be so challenging for some kids. And learn strategies to help your child thrive.
Create your personalized experience on Understood.org now >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Teaching & Learning

Identifying Key Ideas and Supporting Details: The Setup

Watch as 6th grade history teacher Jodi Hoard prepares her students for a close reading of a text about Meresamun, a temple singer in Ancient Egypt. In this clip, Ms. Hoard shows students how to read for the key idea and supporting details. (Language Arts Standards RI.6 and RH.6-8)
See classroom video and related resources >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Scaffolding Silent Reading to Boost Comprehension

Learn how to teach students a set of prompts or procedures to use as they read. This helps students to engage in careful reading but gradually releases to them the responsibility for using a variety of cognitive strategies — such as activating prior knowledge and questioning the author. A sample lesson is shown.
See article >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Rev Up for National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a project that challenges aspiring authors to create a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Public and school librarians all over the country plan to lend their support to young scribes, from structuring programs that involve professional authors to keeping snacks on-hand for writers working round the clock. Information on how to participate, and tips to keep motivated, are on the NaNoWriMo site.
See article >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

Featured Strategy: Question the Author (QtA)

This comprehension strategy requires students to pose queries while reading the text in order to challenge their understanding and solidify their knowledge. Primarily used with nonfiction text, QtA lets students critique the author's writing and in doing so engage with the text to create a deeper meaning.
See strategy >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

News, Research and Reports

Putting students in charge to close the achievement gap

In an 11th-grade English class at Pittsfield Middle High School in rural New Hampshire, Jenny Wellington's students were gathered in a circle debating Henry David Thoreau's positions on personal responsibility. Welcome to student-centered learning at Pittsfield, a grade 712 campus in its third year of an innovative approach to education. Educators, researchers, and policymakers at the state and national level are keeping close tabs on Pittsfield, which has become an incubator for a critical experiment in school reform. The goal: a stronger connection between academic learning and the kind of real-world experience that advocates say can translate into postsecondary success.
See story >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

What teachers need to know about undocumented students

In the first eight months of 2014, nearly 60,000 school-aged children entered the United States, undocumented and unaccompanied by a family member. These recent immigrants are eligible to enroll in U.S. schools and to be given access to the same school-based resources as children born in this country. How can professionals — skilled in teaching as well as other fields like nursing and social work — facilitate school success for these undocumented students, and what do they need to know about them?
See story >

Facebook share button Twitter share button

The Mentoring Effect

The Mentoring Effect is a compelling report informed by the first-ever nationally representative survey of young people on the topic of both informal and formal mentoring, as well as a review of mentoring studies and insights from a variety of key leaders in business, philanthropy, government, and education. The report outlines opportunities for the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to systematically integrate mentoring as a key youth strategy — leading to a society where all young people have access to quality mentoring relationships and the support they need to succeed in school, work, and life.
See report >

Facebook share button Twitter share button