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Books and reading

Artist spotlight: Where art and literature meet

We know that getting kids excited about art isn’t always easy. So to help you get your students a little more enthusiastic about art and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating illustrations and drawings, we're sharing an interview with Maryn Roos, one of our favorite illustrators here at Imagine Learning.  We hope you'll share this interview with your students and get them talking about what they like about art and drawing. You can even use the interview questions we asked Maryn to help your students create their own artist profiles for one of their very own art projects.
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The value of summer reading

My dad looked like the proudest grandpa in the world as he told my mom and me about spending the afternoon with my seven-year-old niece. He told us about how she had completely wowed him by teaching him something new about orca whales— specifically, the methods they use to hunt. “I just don’t know how she knew all of that,” my dad said. And then my mom revealed the secret to my niece’s whale knowledge: my sister had assigned her children book reports over the summer to keep them school-ready for the coming year. As a seven-year-old, I probably would have considered this idea cruel and unusual punishment. As an adult and education advocate, all I could think was, “My sister is a genius!” And my niece isn’t the only proof that summer reading programs are working. School Library Journal recently released some interesting results about the proven effects of summer reading.
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Change your students' lives with irresistible books

We know books can shape lives in many ways.  Here is one easy way to bring that power to your elementary classroom or home. I learned this lesson my freshman year in high school.  I attended a diverse Chicago high school.  And I can tell you, there were plenty of students who wished they were anywhere but school. But one thing the school had going for it was a gifted veteran English teacher who knew the power of books.  And she gave us a gift some 35 years ago. She had us read the gothic romance novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  (Not exactly the coolest book for a high school boy to read.  The cover looked like a romance novel your mom would read at the beauty shop.)  To my surprise, it was a great book.  But I was in for a much bigger surprise a few days later.
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How to Overcome Language & Cultural Barriers in the Classroom?

‘Tis the season for cultural holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, and if you're like most teachers, you probably have a class full of students who all celebrate the holidays a little differently. But no matter where your students are from or what language they speak at home, they come together in your classroom every day, so creating a community and breaking cultural barriers is a must. How do you do it? With books, of course.
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3 Ways to engage young readers: Focus on monsters

Monsters may be best known for destroying cities, terrorizing villages, and devouring countryside, but they can also be a great tool for getting your kids excited about reading. Think back to when you were a child: how many Saturday nights did you spend under the covers watching Creature Features on local TV? So why do kids love monsters so much? I think it’s because they offer something for everyone--especially young readers and struggling readers. Monster stories provide a unique experience that makes reading especially exciting: engaging and lively visuals, bizarre new sounds, and a whole array of sensations (fear, laughter, pity, curiosity) make these books monstrously fun. Perhaps that's why I found 4,915 children’s books related to monsters on Amazon.com. Of course, that pales in comparison to the 88,193 books related to animals. (Then again, those animals actually exist.) So get your kids excited about reading by making monsters a classroom staple. Here are a few ways to do it:
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