Award-winning author of acclaimed middle-grade novels Sally J. Pla talks about how her own autism informs the characters and stories she writes.
Over the years, Reading Rockets has had the opportunity to interview many beloved children's authors and illustrators. Here, we share our video interviews with winners of the prestigious Newbery Medal.
As COVID-19 continues to disrupt, educators who find themselves working with students either within or outside of school walls or both have an increased need for digital content and access to books. Many organizations and publishers who already make it their mission to support readers are doing even more to assist educators, caregivers, and families in light of the pandemic.
Learn some basic facts about bullying, a growing problem affecting our schools and our communities. Children's books can help our kids see the world from different perspectives and build empathy. In this article, you'll find books we recommend for strengthening social and emotional learning, as well as books that deal with bullying head-on.
Where can your school, library, or community group find free or low-cost books for kids? There are a number of national organizations as well as local programs you can turn to for help filling the shelves of your library, classroom, or literacy program and putting books into the hands and homes of young readers.
Decodable text is a type of text used in beginning reading instruction. Decodable texts are carefully sequenced to progressively incorporate words that are consistent with the letter–sound relationships that have been taught to the new reader. This list of links, compiled by The Reading League, includes decodable text sources for students in grades K-2, 3-8, teens, and all ages.
In these video interviews, children's authors and illustrators who have learning and attention issues share their personal stories. You'll also hear from many popular children's authors who talk about books that can be engaging for kids who struggle with reading. Get tips on where to find great children's books, including graphic novels, book series, audio books, and more.
It’s a great time for children’s nonfiction! In recent years, these books have evolved into five distinct categories. Learn more about the characteristics of traditional nonfiction, browse-able nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, expository literature, and active nonfiction.
Special literacy events and celebrations can be a great way to get kids excited about books and reading. But for kids who struggle with reading, these kinds of events can challenge their self-confidence. Here are 15 strategies to help you plan a successful, joyful reading event for all kinds of readers and learners.
Discover what kinds of books are especially popular with children who struggle with reading. The recommended books are based on a Reading Rockets survey of parents and educators of children with learning and attention issues, including dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder.
Reading Rockets helps parents and teachers address the aftermath of natural disasters with children through reading and books.
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang calls us all to read Without Walls, exploring books about characters who look or live differently than you, topics you haven’t discovered, or formats that you haven’t tried.
Children's magazines are a wonderful supplement to classroom instruction. Students are exposed to a wide variety of texts and lots of interactive content. From stories, poems, and action rhymes to nonfiction, crafts, puzzles, and games, kids’ magazines can offer an abundance of high-interest content to support your curriculum.
Similar to comic books, graphic novels weave rich, lively visuals with a limited amount of text to drive the narrative. They can be especially appealing to young readers who are reluctant to pick up a more traditional book. Graphic novels are a great way to help struggling readers strengthen vocabulary, build reading confidence and stamina, and develop a deeper appreciation of storytelling.
Audiobooks are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories. Listening to audiobooks also gives kids the valuable and enjoyable experience of using their own imaginations to visualize the people and places they’re hearing about. Here, you’ll find guidance on what to look for in choosing audiobooks as well as listening tips.
Learn more about books across multiple genres that are representative of the diverse world in which we live, including diversity in race, class, disability, and religion. You'll also find innovative approaches for bringing children and books together, as well as content analyses and descriptions of titles that share common features.
Graphic novels for elementary and middle grade children have become enormously popular and widely accepted by parents, teachers, and librarians. In this resource section, learn more about this highly visual form of storytelling and how it can be used in the classroom, meet some writers and illustrators of graphic novels, and browse the "best of" booklists.
High/low books offer highly engaging age-appropriate subject matter at a low reading level for struggling readers. High/low books can help build reading fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge, and interest in reading. Learn more about where to find quality high/low books.
How do you choose books to read aloud with your child? There are many things to think about: how interesting the topic or characters might be for your child; an intriguing setting, time period, or plot; the liveliness or beauty of the language; or how engaging the illustrations are. Some books are more appropriate based on social and emotional development at each stage of a young child's life. Find guidance here in choosing great read alouds.
Children's picture books about autism can be a valuable resource for teachers in inclusive classrooms attempting to teach awareness, empathy, and acceptance among students. This article provides instructional tips for educators and offers suggestions for using children's picture books about autism to encourage positive, inclusive instruction.
It’s a busy life filled with lots of things to do and even more distractions. But there’s one pursuit that can be fun for everyone involved, plus it has benefits that will have a lifelong impact. All that’s needed is a comfy place, an adult, one child or more, and a good book to share.
Inferential comprehension requires both emotional intelligence and cognitive skills, however instructional comprehension strategies typically underemphasize the emotional contribution. This article documents an intervention used by diverse third grade students which centers on teaching story comprehension through character perspective-taking (i.e., Theory of Mind).
Reading Rockets has developed a set of reading adventure packs to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
Wordless picture books may be better defined by what they do contain — visually rendered narratives — rather than what they do not contain. This article challenges traditional ways of looking at wordless picturebooks and offers a few approaches for integrating wordless picturebooks into a wider range of classrooms, preschool through middle school.
A classroom teacher examines the importance of the nonfiction read aloud as part of ongoing daily instruction, and highlights the need to empower students in both academic achievement, and as life long lovers of nonfiction, through focused informational literature.
One potential way of fostering empathy in young children is through picturebooks. Learn about empathy, theory of mind, the development of emotional intelligence, and the role of picturebooks in the classroom.
From activating prior knowledge to exploring language to capturing character, discover ten ways to integrate poetry into your language, reading, and writing lessons.
Poetry is full of joy, expressiveness, and the pure delight of language. Explore how to introduce poetry to young readers, the value of nursery rhymes in learning about language, writing poetry in the classroom, great poetry books for sharing, and interviews with beloved children's poets. Visit our National Poetry Month section for more resources. As poet Carl Sandburg said, remember that with poetry you're stuffing "a backpack of invisible keepsakes."
Sharing wordless books is a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, vocabulary, comprehension and an increased awareness of how stories are structured.
Electronic books are becoming more and more commonplace. Here you'll discover practical tips for sharing e-books with your child, and how to keep the focus on reading and the story.
Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a "book walk" with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading.
Most kids love stories, but not all love to read. Discover 10 creative ways to encourage active kids who would rather run than read, to enjoy digging into books.
The winter holidays are a great time to create low-key learning opportunities centered around books, storytelling, writing, and family adventures.
Finding the right book for your child means finding something your child wants to read AND making sure it's at the right level for your child.
Many kids love to read about science and nature as well as real people, places, and events. Nonfiction books present information in engaging and interesting ways. Find out how you can help your child learn to navigate all the parts of a nonfiction book — from the table of contents to the diagrams, captions, glossary, and index.
Using students' questions as a basis for investigations in science education is an effective teaching strategy. Not only do students pose questions they would like answered, but they are asked to find ways to answer them. This article also recommends nonfiction science books that use a question and answer format to find information and model how to communicate what you know.
Find out how it benefits all students to read challenging texts. Rather than avoiding any use of more difficult texts, teachers can use instructional support to help students gain access to a more challenging reading experience. Learn how to make shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading more powerful and effective in your classrooms.
Consider organizing a book swap for your neighborhood or block. It can be a simple afternoon undertaking, or with more time and effort, a fun event that will become an annual tradition!
Sharing lots of different kinds, or genres, of books with your child exposes him to different words, different kinds of images, and whole new worlds. This tip sheet suggests some genres to try with your young reader that complement 'traditional' fiction. Some are suggestions for read alouds, while others may be ones your child can read on his own.
Children's nonfiction picture books is a genre that is exploding in both quality and quantity. Recent nonfiction books reveal an emphasis on the visual, an emphasis on accuracy, and an engaging writing style. Suggestions are included for choosing and using nonfiction picture books in the classroom.
Teacher read alouds are a vital part of literacy instruction in primary classrooms. Learn how to conduct read alouds that feature high-quality children's books which will prompt children to think and talk about social issues that impact their daily lives.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from audiobooks to variable-speed tape recorders — that help students with reading.
This article offers some ideas on how to introduce poetry to ELLs and integrate it with reading instruction, as well as some ideas for reading poetry aloud in a way that will encourage oral language development.
Libraries are great resources for families with young children; you can find books, entertainment, educational and cultural enrichment, literacy tips, and other valuable information. Here are nine reasons to visit your public library!
Having interesting things to read at home is a great way to keep kids motivated. Below are a few questions to ask yourself about your home library. Some simple changes on your part can help you create an amazing home library, and help your child develop an early love of reading!
How can parents help their children find books that are not "too hard" and not "too easy" but instead are "just right"? Here's some advice.
Starting a home library for your children shows them how important books are. Here are some creative ideas for finding books (including flea markets, book swaps, birthday and holiday wish lists), creating a welcoming space to keep the books, making your own bookplates, and more.
A child's success as a reader begins much earlier than the first day of school. Reading, and a love for reading, begins at home. Our one-page parent tips offer easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers. Although we've divided these tips by age, many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages — we encourage you to choose the ones that work best for your child.
Every time you pair a book with an experience, you are giving your child an opportunity to learn more about their world. Find suggestions for books and corresponding activities to extend your preschooler's reading experiences.
Every time you pair a book with an experience, you are giving your child an opportunity to learn more about their world. Below are some suggestions for books and corresponding activities to extend your child's reading experiences.
Different book leveling systems each have unique ways of describing the age- and grade-level appropriateness of books. This chart provides equivalency information across six leveling systems: Basal level/PALS, Guided Reading, DRA, Rigby PM, Reading Recovery, and Lexile.
The home is the child's first classroom and parents are the first teachers. Parents who read to their children everyday and talk about what they are reading together promote a joy of reading and literacy achievement. How can teachers encourage reading at home and support the role of parents as educators? One way is through the use of our reading adventure packs — a theme-based collection of books and related interactive activities that kids bring home from school to share with their family.
Put together a summer listening program for your child. Listening is an engaging way to learn, so your child may love listening to books and other written documents. Have them listen to music and stage plays, comedy routines, and other works. Point out background sounds, such as the way the peppy tune on a sound track adds fun and humor to an adventure tale. Learning to listen is particularly helpful to children with learning disabilities.
Reading over the summer not only keeps your child from losing ground, but actually improves skills for the coming year. Here are some suggestions to keep a book in your child's hands over the summer months.
Nursery rhymes are important for young children because they help develop an ear for our language. Both rhyme and rhythm help kids hear the sounds and syllables in words, which helps kids learn to read! Here are some activities and recommended poetry books to aid your child's developing poetry, rhyming, and rhythm skills.
Favorite stories get shared many times over. Here's some advice about how to find a good children's book and what to do once you're reading together.
Don't forget to add non-fiction books to your reading routine! Kids can follow their own interests and learn about the world around them by reading about bugs, dinosaurs, or outer space. You can also use the information in books to do activities at home – make green eggs and ham like Sam I Am, or a newspaper hat like Curious George!
This article illustrates the difference between being able to decode words on a page and being able to derive meaning from the words and the concepts they are trying to convey.
Creating a library of your child's books is a great way to show her how important reading is. It will also give her a special place to keep her books and will motivate her to keep pulling books from her own library to read. Here are some ideas for getting started!
Not everyone lives near Chincoteague lsland off the Maryland and Virginia coastline (Misty of Chincoteague) or has a chance to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder house museum in the Ozarks (Little House on the Prairie). But books can inspire some exciting day trips.
Use the power of stories to explore what's different and the same, new and shared, about ourselves and our experiences. These nine books find wonderful ways to express universal themes through African Americans, both fictional and real.
Part of teaching reading is motivating the children to practice, practice, practice. Find out how to use children's poetry to encourage kids to read.
The statistics are consistent: Young male readers lag behind their female counterparts in literacy skills. This article looks at the social, psychological, and developmental reasons why, and suggests solutions — including the need for more men to become role models for reading.
Audiobooks have traditionally been used with second-language learners, learning-disabled students, and struggling readers or nonreaders. In many cases, audiobooks have proven successful in helping these students to access literature and enjoy books. But they have not been widely used with average, avid, or gifted readers. This article lists the benefits of audiobooks for all students.
This article discusses the power of reading aloud and goes a step further to discuss the power of thinking out loud while reading to children as a way to highlight the strategies used by thoughtful readers.
One of the keys to helping struggling readers is to provide them with books that they can and want to read. Fiction for struggling readers must have realistic characters, readable and convincing text, and a sense of the readers' interests and needs. Non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, even comic books can hook students on reading.
This article offers a collection of interactive activities that help kids become more involved in the stories that they read.
This list is meant to introduce children, and the adults who care for them, to newer books in the field of children's literature. This list is organized by age range and then by the author's last name.