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AdLit News Headlines

Each weekday, AdLit gathers interesting news headlines about literacy, middle grade and YA books, best practices in instruction, and other key topics related to middle school and high school teaching and learning.

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Four Magical Middle Grade Novels for ‘Encanto’ Fans (opens in a new window)

School Library Journal

January 28, 2022

Have your students been enchanted by Disney’s story of a Colombian girl who discovers her family’s magic is starting to fail and she must figure out how to save the Family Madrigal and bring magic back to their casa? If so, they might also be captivated by these four read-alikes.

Donna Barba Higuera: “A Flood of Emotions” as “The Last Cuentista” Wins 2022 Newbery Medal (opens in a new window)

School Library Journal

January 25, 2022

Higuera’s story of a 12-year-old Mexican American girl who uses memories of her family’s stories and a copy of Yuyi Morales’ Dreamers to try to save others from a dystopian society turned out to be a pretty good one. Higuera is still “a deer in the headlights” over her 2022 Newbery Medal, truly stunned by the recognition of her novel. 

‘A Core Belief That Students Will Be Successful’: How One Oregon School Kept Graduation Rates High Despite the Pandemic (opens in a new window)

Oregon Live

January 24, 2022

Oregon leaders have been trying for years to raise the state’s high school graduation rate, which has consistently ranked among the lowest in the nation. Yet, students at Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie, OR school have boasted high graduation rates since before the pandemic and continue to shine in 2021 despite COVID challenges. 

Chicopee High School Proposes Locked Pouches to Keep Cell Phones From Distracting Students in Class (opens in a new window)

Mass Live

January 24, 2022

Saying students have returned from nearly a year of virtual learning more hooked to their cell phones than ever, high school principals are trying to find solutions to getting teens to focus on their teacher. Chicopee High School is considering hiring a California-based company called Yondr that provides schools with special pouches for phones that are then locked with a high-powered magnet. Students keep their phones with them and at the end of the day they are unlocked with the same device.

‘As We See It’ Portrays Young Adulthood on Autism Spectrum (opens in a new window)

Daily Herald

January 24, 2022

Amazon Prime ensemble series “As We See It” debuts Friday. The show follows a trio of young people on the autism spectrum as they negotiate daily life. As Albert Rutecki, who plays one of the three main characters, states, “I see it mainly as a coming-of-age or coming-to-adulthood of several 20-something characters. It has three main characters who are on the spectrum, but I think it could definitely be relatable to a lot of people more than just those who are autistic.” 

How a Teenager Got More Women of Color Added to History Lessons in One of the Country’s Largest School Systems (opens in a new window)

Washington Post

January 18, 2022

If you happen to get into a conversation about American history with Prasidha Padmanabhan, you will have to keep reminding yourself of this: She is only 16. Prasidha has not only spent the last few years learning about the historic and too-often unseen roles of women, and in particular women of color, but also has worked to make sure students in one of the country’s largest school systems have a chance to learn about them.

Enjoy the Highs of Reading Even When Your Time is Running Low (opens in a new window)

LA Times: High School Insider

January 18, 2022

Los Angeles Times High School Insider is a community of young readers, thinkers and storytellers. This week Jenny Tran from Fountain Valley High School discusses the trekking through the endless, beautiful world of books at your own pace after you work around the obstacles that come with reading more.

The Classroom as a Radical Space: Teacher, Author and Fierce Intellectual, bell hooks Transformed Education, Especially for Women of Color (opens in a new window)

The 74

January 14, 2022

From reimagining the classroom to tearing down imposter syndrome, author, critic and fierce public intellectual bell hooks inspired women of color across generations to create a world in which all are free to reach their potential. In 2003, she wrote, “To me the classroom continues to be a place where paradise can be realized, a place of passion and possibility, a place where spirit matters, where all that we learn and know leads us into greater connection, into greater understanding of life lived in community.” On December 15, bell hooks died after an extended illness but her legacy remains.

Katherine Paterson on the Triumphs and Terrors of the Newbery (opens in a new window)

School Library Journal

January 14, 2022

As the Newberry Award for ”the most distinguished contributions to American literature for children” turns 100, Katherine Paterson stands out as only one of six authors to have received that prestigious medal twice. She discusses her two Newberry award winning novels, Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved.

Boston Students Plan Walk Out Friday as a Protest to Push Massachusetts Schools to Momentarily Return to Remote Learning (opens in a new window)


January 14, 2022

According to a statement published on Schoolyard News, Friday’s protest of in-person learning isn’t aimed at Boston Public Schools, but the state’s Department of Education and Secondary Education. DESE officials said that no matter the situation, remote learning no longer counts toward a district’s minimum required structured learning time. 

Celebrating Creativity for Middle-Grade Readers (opens in a new window)

Virginia Pilot

January 14, 2022

Young artists can face lonely paths; they can be misunderstood, ignored or even persecuted. But the urge to create is so powerful, and it can give young people’s lives such richness. Writers capture artists’ journeys in many ways. Two recent books take very different approaches to these journeys but arrive at a similar destination, of love and respect for the power of creation.

Deep Breaths With Jason Reynolds (opens in a new window)


January 11, 2022

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature has written a new book, called “Ain’t Burned All the Bright,” targeted at teens that explores what it means to be Black in America right now.

How Sleep Impacts Teenagers’ Mental Health (opens in a new window)

The Indian Express

January 11, 2022

Multiple studies have shown that teenagers need between eight to nine hours of sleep every night to function at their optimum level. Unfortunately, most teenagers fall short of meeting the hours of sleep they require. Many teenagers feel that it’s okay not to get enough sleep. That they can “function” with less sleep. Some believe that they can go through days of less sleep and then catch up on lost sleep by sleeping more at other times. This is a recipe for disaster!

Video Games Teach Balance, Reduce Symptoms in Autistic Adolescents (opens in a new window)

University of Wisconsin-Madison News

January 07, 2022

While balance training may not necessarily sound fun to most adolescents, video games typically do. And for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, video games that improve their balance by teaching them yoga and tai chi poses also improves their posture, reduces the severity of their autism symptoms and influences the structure of their brains.

Peers or Parents? Study Shows Strong Friendships Set Teens Up for Success Later in Life (opens in a new window)

UVA Today

January 05, 2022

Joseph Allen, UVA’s Hugh Kelly Professor of Psychology, has turned out more groundbreaking research based on a longitudinal study of nearly 200 participants who were just 13 years old when the study began in 1998.

The latest research finds that the quality of teen’s relationships with their friends is a better predictor of certain long-term outcomes than their relationships with their parents. 

How Schools Can Support Older Students Who Lag in Reading (opens in a new window)

Education Week

January 05, 2022

Older students struggling with reading is not a phenomenon new to the pandemic. In 2019, before COVID disrupted schools, scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that only 66 percent of 4th graders and 73 percent of 8th graders were at or above a “basic” level of proficiency in the subject. But the turmoil over the past two years has resurfaced questions about exactly how best to get students up to speed, and it’s directed funding toward academic recovery. 

Essential Practices for Building Literacy in Older English-Learners (opens in a new window)

Education Week

January 05, 2022

Teaching literacy to older students who are still learning English is a topic that’s traditionally gotten less attention in research, training, and professional development than its counterpart for younger students. Experts caution that good literacy instruction must be built on what’s already known about best practice for adolescent literacy in general, and be grounded in teachers’ detailed understanding of their students, since the English-learner population is highly diverse.

Fewer Kids Read for Fun Anymore. They’re Losing Out on More than Great Stories (opens in a new window)

Los Angeles Times

December 28, 2021

The National Assessment for Educational Progress, the organization that produces the periodic Nation’s Report Card based on student testing, found that the numbers of 9 and 13-year-olds who regularly read for pleasure has plummeted. During the 2019-20 school year the proportion of middle schoolers who frequently read for fun dropped by more than half, to 17%, while the percentage who seldom or never do more than tripled. This is worrisome for many reasons.

Wilmington Program Helps ‘At-Risk Youth’ with Academic Success, Job Readiness (opens in a new window)

Wilmington Star News

December 22, 2021

Wilmington’s Residential Adolescent Achievement Place bridges educational and social gaps existing among “at-risk youth” in New Hanover County. A network of community partners as well as college students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College volunteer with the organization, which has resulted in the program success, growth, and outreach.

15 Middle Grade Books for Autistic Tweens and Teens (opens in a new window)

Book Riot

December 20, 2021

Finding books for autistic tweens and teens that will reflect what they are feeling and experiencing is really, really tough because there is a wide spectrum of experiences and emotions when we are considering autism. Books that cover these types of topics are hugely important because it allows those who are neurotypical to attempt to step into the shoes of someone who is neurodiverse, at least for a little while. It’s never fully possible to live inside someone’s mind but reading books on the subject, especially through fiction, is one of the best ways to do this.