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Books and reading

A Guide to Math Picture Books for Kids in the Classroom

If you're an elementary teacher, you've probably seen these two kinds of students in your classroom: Students who understand and enjoy math. Students who are frustrated by math because they don't understand it. It's your job to help those in the second group find their way into the first group. Luckily, picture books about math can really help. The 'Why' of Math Picture Books It's human nature to enjoy stories. By relating to a character who feels the way they do, students can gain the confidence to move through their own challenges--both in and outside the classroom. Even more importantly, there's a tangible link between reading and math. It stands to reason that doing one can help the other. When teachers use picture books containing math themes (either implicit or explicit), they offer students a contextualized experience with mathematics generally. Plus, a good story can comfort the heart of any student who's afraid of math.
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Video: How to help a struggling reader

By eighth grade, only one in four students is reading at grade level. This video shows how we can improve those odds: [jwplayer config="16x9" image="/sites/institutional/files/blog/2011/11/StrugglingReadersMG.jpg" file="http://sas-origin.OnstreamMedia.com/origin/imaginelearn/Blog/StrugglingReadersMG.mp4"]
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Is a passion for reading just as important as knowing how to read?

Why do you love to read? What made you transcend your first picture book to tackle chapter books and then full novels and nonfiction? When I ask myself this question, two things come to mind immediately: gathering on my parents’ bed while they read to us at night, and watching Reading Rainbow. I was just four years old when Reading Rainbow first aired on PBS, so the program was with me from the very beginning as I learned to read. In my favorite episode, host LeVar Burton took viewers behind the scenes of his other role as Geordi La Forge, navigator of the starship Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was fascinated by the hidden process of creating a TV show. When I learned that after 26 years in production, Reading Rainbow had failed back in August 2009 to secure the funding needed to continue, I was saddened (and a bit behind the curve, because I just found this out a few weeks ago). Of all the shows I enjoyed as a child, Reading Rainbow is the only one I really wish were around for my kids to watch. The article I read said that the focus for early childhood education has moved educational TV toward teaching phonics and more basic reading skills, rather than instilling a love for reading in children.
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Author spotlight: Get students excited to write

Having a hard time getting your students excited about writing? Get them motivated to write by talking about a real-life writer. Here’s an author spotlight to help you get started—an interview with Lisa Salazar, one of our favorite authors here at Imagine Learning. Start by reading the interview out loud with your class. Then get your students talking about how they would answer some of the questions–like what they like about writing and what they would tell other writers. You can even use the questions to help students create their very own About the Author pages for their writing projects. Happy writing! About the author: Lisa Salazar grew up in Houston, Texas, where she learned how to square dance and how to dress real snappy. Now she writes stories for Imagine Learning English, blogs about education and writing, and tweets with teachers and students. She'd love to hear about your writing projects, so contact her on Twitter at @lisalearner to share what you're working on—maybe she'll share an embarrassing story or two from her square dancing days.
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10 great education books to read over winter break

If you’re like me, reading is something you’re passionate about. But it’s also the one thing that always gets bumped to the bottom of the to-do list. Scratch that. On most days, reading doesn’t even make it to the to-do list. So when holidays come around, I count those days as my time to catch up on some page turning. I’ve planned, prepared, shopped, wrapped, delivered, and packed. I’m ready for our holiday road trip and excited to have some uninterrupted reading time in the car. Now all I need is a good book list to guide my reading choices. So I asked our instructional designers what books they’d recommend. Here's a list of our top suggestions for your winter break reading list. 10 Favorite Education Books: Milton Chen. Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools. (2010) Linda Darling-Hammond. The Flat World and Education: How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future. (2009) Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz. The Race between Education and Technology. (2008) Wendy Kopp. One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach for America and What I Learned Along the Way. (2001) Jay Mathews. Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America. (2009) Deborah Meier. In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization. (2002) National Research Council. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. (2000) Diane Ravitch. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. (2010) Theodore R. Sizer and Nancy Faust Sizer. The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract. (2000) James W. Stigler. The Teaching Gap: Best Ideas from the World’s Teachers for Improving Education in the Classroom. (1999) But why stop at ten? Here are a few extras we couldn’t resist adding: Donna Foote. Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America. (2008) Shirley Sagawa. The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers Are Transforming America. (2010) Paul Tough. Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America. (2008) I know I’m stopping at the library on my way out of town. What will you be reading over the next few days and weeks? Do you have any books you’d recommend adding to our favorites list?
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