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.
Content Area Literacy
Reading and writing happen inside and outside of the language arts classroom. Science, math, and history teachers also work to integrate important reading and writing skills with their content. Discover resources that can help teachers, parents, and students navigate literacy skills within all content areas.
Previewing chapters before reading is a powerful way to get readers prepared for the material. Textbook previewing strategies focus not only on the structure of the text — such as the table of contents, index, chapter introductions, and so forth — but on a content overview, which focuses on the concepts and questions covered in the chapter and their interrelationships.
See article >
Writing doesn't happen only in language arts classrooms. Writing can happen in all content area classes, including science, history, and math. It's important for students to develop analytical writing skills. Our article on the topic helps you identify the structural elements of writing in each content area and helps science teachers get started incorporating more writing into their classroom.
See article >
Thematic pairings of novels or short stories with movies can help students access difficult texts and can lead to deeper comprehension and lively classroom discussion. This article suggests pairings for some commonly assigned middle and high school texts. Discussion themes include racism, coming of age, strong women, and utopia and dystopia.
See article >
Books & Authors
For baseball fans, October is the golden month — the World Series is stepping up to the plate! Our list of baseball books includes a biography of one of today's top players, a history of the women's pro league, an anthology of awesome baseball writing, a fictionalized journal of a Negro League player, and lots of good teen fiction with baseball featured in the subplots.
See booklist >
Meet Rick Riordan, a former middle school teacher and now the bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and the Heroes of Olympus. Find out how an extemporaneous bedtime story for his son evolved into The Lightning Thief, his first wildly popular book for kids.
Watch interview >
The View from Mt. Olympus: Rick Riordan's Series Finale
Celebrate Teen Read Week™ by joining the conversation about teen reading and young adult literature. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) encourages libraries to use the Turn Dreams into Reality theme to spotlight all the great resources and activities they provide to inspire teens to succeed in school and beyond.
Learn more about Teen Read Week >
Especially for Parents
Introducing Understood.org, a new online destination for parents of kids ages 3-20 with learning and attention issues. Access to the entire site is available free of cost. Parents get secure access to personalized support, the wisdom of other parents, and expert information about the "what is" and the "how to" of their kids' academic, social and emotional needs.
Developed by parents, experts, and people with their own learning and attention issues, this resource helps parents understand what they can do to support their children at home and in school. All resources offered in English and Spanish. Understood offers:
- Personalized recommendations for content, tools and technology matched to the child's needs
- Practical advice to help navigate common behavior challenges
- The opportunity to talk live with experts in learning and attention issues — every day!
- And that's just the beginning!
Teaching & Learning
Watch as 11th grade history teacher Johanna. 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. (Language Arts Standards RI.11-12 and RH.11-12)
See classroom video and related resources >
Sit in on this class, where Poughkeepsie high school teacher Kerri Bohringer and her 9th grade ELL students discuss the language used in Nelson Mandela's 1964 Court Speech "An Ideal for Which I am Prepared to Die." Lesson materials, strategies, and teacher reflection are also included in this resource from our sister site, Colorín Colorado. (Language Arts Standards RI 9-10.4)
Watch lesson >
Structured notes are really helpful when students are faced with interpreting complex text structures. The notes give students a reading guide to use as they navigate through difficult text and act as a model of how they should organize their ideas as they are reading. Initially teachers create the graphic organizers, but as students become more comfortable with using structured notes they are able to construct their own.
See strategy >
News, Research and Reports
October Is National Bullying Prevention Month
"A school where children don't feel safe is a school where children struggle to learn. It is a school where kids drop out, tune out, and get depressed. Not just violence but bullying, verbal harassment, substance abuse, cyber-bullying, and disruptive classrooms all interfere with a student's ability to learn."
— U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Schools and communities unite to raise awareness for bullying prevention. Explore these resources to learn more and find out how to take action:
- Factors in Dropping Out: Bullying (American Graduate)
- 5 Ways to Stop Bullying and Move into Action (Edutopia)
- Teens Against Bullying (PACER)
As school districts around the country consider investing in technology as a way to improve student outcomes, a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) finds that technology — when implemented properly — can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk. The report identifies three important components to successfully using technology with at-risk students: (1) interactive learning; (2) use of technology to explore and create rather than to "drill and kill;" and (3) the right blend of teachers and technology. The report also identifies significant disparities in technology access and implementation between affluent and low-income schools.
See report >
Long a cause for alarm, the gap in reading skills between poor students and their more affluent peers is well-established and worsening. Now, there's more bad news: Educators and researchers may be underestimating the real magnitude of the reading achievement gap because they have not adequately accounted for the different skills that are required to successfully read online, as opposed to in print. In a new study, researcher Donald Leu of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, and his team found "a large and significant achievement gap, based on income inequality, in an important new area for learning — the ability to read on the Internet to learn information."
See story at Education Week >
There's no such thing as a "normal brain." In fact, there's a lot of diversity in how different brains process information — a challenge for educators tasked with teaching a diverse group of learners. Dyslexia is a common variation that affects how kids read, but what's really going inside the brain of someone affected by it? Kelli Sandman-Hurley's TED-Ed video explains.
See story at KQED Mindshift >