Why Blog

I’m passionate about finding ways to simplify comprehension instruction and learning. I’m concerned that we are defining comprehension too narrowly as an accumulation of five or six meta-cognitive strategies when cultivating comprehension involves so much more than that. We need to help children acquire accurate fluent reading skills and strategies; build background knowledge; develop their oral language and vocabulary; make reading-writing connections, and acquire a repertoire of meta-cognitive strategies to use as and if needed.

So I invite you to join me in blogging about this ever-so-important topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas, teaching strategies, book recommendations, classroom stories, etc., basically anything that will inspire a healthy conversation among colleagues.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Inside Scoop on the Writing Process

I’m preparing a seminar and came across a list of books I often recommend to help children understand the writing process. Numbers 1-3 are autobiographical or biographical, 4 & 5 are fictional stories, and 6 & 7 are about finding your passion in life and beginning any artistic venture with what you know best.

Thought you might be interested in this list. (I’ll leave it up to you to clink the links to learn more about each book.)

1. Author: A True Story by Helen Lester
2. Playing with Words by James Howe (Meet the Author series)
4. The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli
5. If You Were a Writer by Joan Lowery Nixon
6. Insects Are My Life by Megan McDonald

BTW: My easy favorite is Begin at the Beginning, perhaps because I can identify with Sara's procrastination in the face of challenging work (she keeps getting something to eat). Unfortunately this is the title that's the hardest to locate. You can try second-hand sellers, used bookstores, the library...it's worth the search.


  1. Thank you for this list! I was able to find "Begin at the Beginning" at Half-Price Books the other day and you are so right! It's wonderful!
    Wild About 2nd Grade

  2. yay!...so glad you found it. hopefully you found the sepia colored one (the original). i just love amy schwartz's illustrations. another great amy schwartz book is "oma and bobo." i never recommend it because it's not readily available but it's one of my all time favorites and simply wonderful for inferring.