Literacy Links – Volume 54

after school activities, book list, creating, graphic novels, literacy links, writing

Screen Shot 2020-01-23 at 2.52.31 PM

Each time the Reading Ambassadors enter the Reading Lounge for our meetings, they will answer the question of the week displayed on a table and then stick their responses on the window outside the room. I have loved reading their responses, but seeing other students stop and chat about the responses has been even better. Some visitors to the Reading Lounge have even asked if THEY could fill out a response to the question of the week. The display started with these seventeen responses, and now there are twenty-three.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Family Writing Night

after school activities, writing

I’m THRILLED to be hosting an All-Ages Family Writing Night on Wednesday, December 11th from 6:00 to 7:30 in the Center School Community Room. I will run it as a Writers’ Workshop, so if you’ve ever wondered what that looks or feels like, you’ll get to experience it firsthand alongside Center cardinals!

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 1.02.59 PM

In this workshop, families will craft a poem together based on George Ella Lyon’s poem, “Where I’m From” (listen to the author read her poem here!). After noticing the poem’s elements and modeling pre-writing and drafting with revision throughout, families will use the patterns and structure to craft a “Where We’re From” poem about their family. Teachers will be available to support families as they work through the writing process before we meet together at the end for the share. I have no doubt that every family will leave with new memories and a treasured keepsake.

If your family is interested in attending this event, please register here.

Questions? Contact me:

Magical Muggle Masterminds

after school activities, Harry Potter, literacy


Are you obsessed with Harry Potter? Do you love everything related to Harry Potter so much that you would be willing to stay at school past the bell? Is your Potter passion enough to read and write about Harry Potter’s world? Come meet fellow Lonmgeadow Potterheads to explore and create reading and writing magic together. We will use our five sessions to read and write in different genres and forms to reinforce literay skills and strategies students are learning in their classrooms. As Professor Dumbledore says, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” Let’s make Dumbledore proud with our magical musings! Interested students should have read at least one of the books in the Harry Potter series prior to the start of this class.

Click here to register for this Longmeadow Enrichment Program club!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Virtual Book Club

after school activities, announcements, reading, summer

harry potter LEGOS

Anyone who knows me knows that MY most recommended book from the  2015 Battle of the Books list is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (I’m using “philosopher’s stone” instead of sorcerer’s stone for several reasons: I used to live in England and that’s the title they use there, it’s the title in the version linked below, and the author, J.K. Rowling, wrote the book with that title). Anyone who knows me also knows that I resisted reading this magical series for YEARS because I didn’t think I would like it. “Modern fantasy just isn’t my genre,” I used to argue. However, I knew that I would have to read the series eventually to help future students who might read it. So last summer, I finally began the reading journey, and I fell in love with the characters, adventures, and heart.

Are you ready to start this magical series? Let’s read the first book together this summer! There are several ways to get your hands on the book. You can check it out from the Middleboro Public Library, stop by the school offices this summer to borrow the book for free (just return it so others can devour it, too!), or get one at your local thrift shop (they almost always have a copy at Savers, The Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul Society, or Goodwill). Once you have your copy, I recommend reading the book with a friend or listening to the amazing British actor, Stephen Fry, perform as he reads the ENTIRE book aloud on YouTube (the recording is over eight hours long!):

To participate in this book club over the summer, have your parent fill out the form with his/her email address to receive book club news, questions, and activities over the summer!

Happy reading!

Rotary Reporters

after school activities, writing

For the past several months, a group of dedicated fourth grade writers has been working for an extra hour after school to write newspaper articles. Yesterday, we celebrated the publication of their hard work: the first issue of Rotary Reporters!

The writers kicked off the final session by silently going through their Writing Folders, Writing Notebooks, and resources they’d collected over their fifteen sessions. We discussed how we’d used these materials to become stronger writers. We also discussed the features of a news article that they’d incorporated in their final drafts.


During our sessions, we repeatedly told our reporters that writing isn’t a solitary activity. Writers share. Writers work together. To reinforce this sentiment, students read each other’s final drafts and wrote specific writing compliments on sticky notes to each reporter. To help them get started, we shared a list of options.


After writing a couple compliments, most of our reporters were asking if they HAD to use the options on the board because they had other ideas. They really are real writers!


After composing their compliments, students delivered them to each other. One student said, “It’s like valentines!” Another piped up and said, “But better!” 🙂

Students collected their compliments in their Writing Folders or Writing Notebooks as mementos of the Rotary Reporters. It was really powerful to see our writers transform into proud reporters over the past fifteen weeks! Be sure to ask me for your copy of Rotary Reporters today!


Cinema Club

after school activities

This fall, HBB’s PTA generously funded after school programs. I had so many ideas for clubs that I wanted to run: literary magazine, student newspaper, inquiry investigations, etc. For this first round, I decided on a Cinema Club, in which students would watch classic films and write reviews of them. Our first two films have been black and white features: The General and Stalag 17.

The General

Stalag 17

We are lucky to have an amazing cinema-sized screen and theatre at our school, and students use their Cinema Club Journals during the screening for pre-writing their film review  drafts. The best draft is published on the HBB principal’s blog.

To engage my cinephiles and provide context, I always give some background information about the filmmakers or relevant historical events. We also discuss throughout the film since we’re a small group. We cover so many of the Common Core Standards in Speaking and Listening, like collaborative discussions, summarizing visual information, and Writing, like writing opinion pieces. Not only are students being exposed to culture, but they’re meeting grade-level standards, too.

What is your favorite classic film? Maybe I’ll add it to the list for next year’s club!