Crowdsourced Library Displays

Library displays are the best way for our kids to discover new books. The books on the shelves are for the kids who already know what they want. We should never assume that our kids can figure it out on their own- even if they don’t want our help. Ever notice how fast you have to refill the display books? There’s an excellent reason for that.

Library displays are the best way for our kids to discover new books.  The books on the shelves are for the kids who already know what they want.  We should never assume that our kids can figure it out on their own- even if they don’t want our help.  Ever notice how fast you have to refill the display books? There’s an excellent reason for that.

I love this Padlet, made by Jennifer LaGarde (Library Girl). We need to all add to it, stat. 🙂


A Great Way to Get Kids Thinking about Plagiarism

Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Here’s What Happens When Your Joke Goes Massively Viral On Twitter

Caroline Moss

Jul. 15, 2014, 10:57 AM 798,639 40

via Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Man, I wish Scott hadn’t used the F word in his original tweet.  However, I think that we can still use this as a really relevant case study on plagiarism (with a little, um, censorship).

The gist is this: a random guy tweets something funny.  Other people steal his tweet and repost it as though it were their own.  Even famous people.  One comedian even accuses Scott of plagiarizing him.

Scott’s thoughts on the experience are fascinating- I loved that he said that he doesn’t understand how people can read something, relate to it, and then say “yup, that’s mine now,” without giving one thought to how it effects the person who created it.

I think that this example is so much easier for kids to “get” than what we’ve used in the past.  I love it.  It’s mine now — with proper attribution, of course. 🙂




Wow. Having a blast at BEA. Right now, I’m sitting in line (yup- popped a squat on the floor) to meet Jennifer Niven. Already met David Levithan, Ransom Riggs, and Gayle Forman. It is a good day.

Teaching Research in Middle School and High School

I always try to get into classes when they are starting some sort of research project for the first time.  I talk about Boolean searching, citing sources (even for pictures), and our databases.  The first few times I did this (a few years ago), I explained the databases and then I could see the kids were like, “yeah whatever.”  They used Google for their research while I cringed.

I needed to spice it up.  So, I added the Tree Octopus and the horrible MLK site, and wow did that work.  If you don’t know, you can google Tree Octopus, and a very credible-looking site will come up.  If you google Martin Luther King, the first site that comes up after wikipedia is one created by a white supremacist group.  These actually got them thinking about the fact that I’m not lying when I tell them that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Sometimes, I even pull up this site, and say, “See! Any yahoo with a computer can make a website!”

Today, I found another great resource- one that I think will hit my kids even harder.  These are two pictures posted by ABC for an expose 20/20 did on counterfeit merchandise.  The news feature was pretty interesting- I highly recommend checking it out.  I love this- one of the websites in the picture is the real one, and one is a fake…

Retrieved from:
Retrieved from:
Retrieved from:
Retrieved from:

In both cases, the one on the right is the fake.

How great are these examples for teaching kids to use databases?  It really shows that even when you are diligent about using good sources, you really can’t trust google searching for academic research.

Read Aloud Round-Up: The 10 Books I Suggest Most for Middle School Read Alouds

It is perhaps one of the most gratifying parts of my job: when a teacher comes into the library, practically jumping up and down because their read aloud is going so well- and I was the one to suggest the book they are reading.

I have a few qualifications for a good read aloud.

First, it can’t be very long.  I have ADD.  And I’m a fast reader.  If a book runs too long, I will abandon it half way through and leave the kids hanging.  That’s not good.

Second, it needs to be suspenseful.  Every chapter should offer some action or important information.

Third, it can’t have too much detail.  That gets real boring real fast.  I understand that detail is great when you are reading to yourself, but for a read aloud? No.

These are the tried-and-true titles.  The ones that multiple teachers have used multiple times and have always found them to work.

1. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen


2. Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann


3. Juvie Three by Gordon Korman


4. Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


5. How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O’Malley


6. The Shadow Club by Neal Shusterman


7. Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman


8. Read All About It by Jim Trelease (this one was especially good for my Read-Aloud ADD)


9. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (some classics never get old)


10. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

when-you-reach-meIf you decide to do any of these, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  As a matter of fact, I think you’ll love them!



5 Little Flips to Modernize Your School Library

I had the best time tonight. I had dinner with an old friend, a new friend, and an old acquaintance who really should be a friend.

We gossiped. We talked about books. We talked about the fact that we were talking about books.

I noticed something at dinner. I was sitting with a teacher and two tech integration guys. And me- a library media specialist. There was this unspoken (and mumbled a couple of times) thing in the air about librarians. I think they felt comfortable about it because I’m an unconventional librarian- I have surround sound, for god’s sake. But, in the grand scheme, nothing has changed. The perception- the stereotype- is still there. And I can’t go it alone.


We all need to work together to change it. Otherwise, those of us forging the newer path look like we are just “jerks” bent on making the rest of you look bad. That isn’t the goal. We want to push our profession forward. In order to do that, we all have to be in this together. So I thought I would share a few things I’ve heard by the “water cooler” and you can go from there…


1. Tech Integration. It isn’t just the tech integration guy’s job. As a matter of fact, I get a little salty when my guy crosses the tech line into my territory. I would have to say that 50% of the tech integration stuff is OUR job. They can keep the google integration, grade book programs, blogging, smart boards (barf), and teacher websites. If we aren’t pushing databases, ebooks, audiobooks, literacy apps, etc., then how will we stay relevant? And if your tech guy starts teaching Boolean searching, you have my permission to go medieval. I almost did.


2. Environment. This isn’t your momma’s library. I have gotten so many positive remarks since I started piping music into my library. I play mostly Vitamin String Quartet (modern music, classical style) – my music policy is NO VOICES. I’m a musician, so I realize that if there is too much going on, I will pay too much attention to the music. However, I have noticed that my own productivity has gone up because of the music, so I know that the kids’ has too. And Thrift Shop done classically is a trip. I also bought couches and bean bags a few years ago. It’s a mess. The bean bags are all over the place- my assistant and I happily clean them up every morning. You have no idea how nice it is to see kids lounging with a laptop, concentrating. It’s magical. Ditch the stodgy view of what the library should look like. The kids need a safe, comfortable, serene place to work. Like I said- the compliments come in every day. From teachers AND kids.


3. The books. I just received a compliment about books today. I am a middle school librarian, and the books in my library aren’t available in the other middle school libraries. Parents are asking friends and relatives to check books out of my library for their kids (against policy, but I let it slide). Put your beliefs aside. Put your prejudices aside. Put your preconceived notions aside. Put your fears aside. Some of your students are gay. Some of your students have eating disorders. Some of your students are victims of abuse. Carry books for everyone!!! Only restrict THE MOST edgy books- the 5% most edgy books- in your library. Don’t make everything good available ONLY for the oldest students. They might not be the ones who need them!!! You have a varied population, and you need to cater to everyone! It’s in our code of ethics. Don’t be afraid of the .01% of parents who might be offended. If they show up, tell them, “I have 1000 students and I need to have something that speaks to everyone. If your child checked something out that you find questionable, please tell your child to return it and talk to me about a book that would be great for them.” Done. Was that so hard?


4. Back to Tech. We need to get more tech savvy, people. I just acquired 14 iPads for my library, and I plan to use the hell out of them. I have plans. Buy some books- iPads in Library is a good one. Troll the internet- Twitter and Pinterest are my favorite resources for Ed tech tips. Find an ebook supplier (I use Follett) and then go into classrooms and market the hell out of it. Don’t buy another goddamn encyclopedia. Find a Web 2.0 tool that relates to info literacy, research, reading, or whatever, and master it. Then, offer to teach it to kids. When I started, I had three false starts… Nooks, Kindle Fires, and a third party ebook client…. FAILS. Don’t let the fails set you back. If you have questions, ask me. Don’t do that librarian thing – well, I tried and it didn’t work, so I’m not trying again. Technology is horrible. It doesn’t work in my district. NOPE. You are wrong. Technology doesn’t always work anywhere. Oh well. Move on. Make it work.


5. Push IN. I surprised the hell out of one of my administrators the other day. She walked through the library and saw me teaching… Then she did a surprise visit to a teacher and found me teaching…. And then she dropped into another classroom and (you guessed it) saw me teaching. She didn’t realize that I do as much push in as I do, and that’s a good thing. When you surprise them like that… Priceless. Is every day like that? Of course not. I got really lucky that day 🙂 but it isn’t rare, either. I constantly badger teachers to let me come in and teach something, anything. Come on- we are the best people the school has to teach research skills, for instance. Do you have any idea how many lessons you can prep on research? Especially with Common Core???

Bottom line? MARKETING. You need to run your library like a business. Be a retail manager. What is going to bring in revenue?

Tough love. 🙂


Five Graphic Novels that will Change Your Mind

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from parents and teachers that graphic novels aren’t “real books.” It hurts me inside every time I hear that.

The visual literacy gained from graphic novels is real.  Not only do you need to comprehend the words on the page, but you need to interpret the images, and how they relate to the words.  Some graphic novels do depict superheroes and action like the comic books we are all familiar with, but there are so many richer themes going on in graphic novels as well.  Even the superhero comics can be good, though- the themes of good triumphing over evil and social justice above all are really great things for kids to learn.

As a librarian, I find that even my most reluctant readers can lose themselves in a good graphic novel- and then I see them coming back for more and more.  They don’t realize how good these books are for them.

Now, I know that some may need more convincing than that.  So, I put together a quick list of five graphic novels that may change your mind for good.

epilep1. Epileptic by David B. – David’s brother is diagnosed with epilepsy at age 11. What follows is a desperate search for a “cure,” where his parents try everything (even things that are crazy or harmful) to cure David’s brother during a time when not much is known about the condition (the 60s and 70s). David uses vivid imagery and metaphoric characters to represent some of the people and situations he encounters along the way (a macrobiotic healer is a tiger, for instance).

persep2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – Students tell me all the time that this was an eye-opening read for them.  Persepolis is Ms. Satrapi’s memoir of her experiences from the ages of 10 to 14 living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  She weaves together a story of the horrors of the conflict, coming of age as an independent, smart girl, and the history and culture of Iran.


Maus3. Maus by Art Spiegelman – Speigelman depicts Jews as mice and Nazis as cats in this Holocaust story.  The story is true- Speigelman’s father was a Holocaust survivor, and the entire story is based on his memories of what happened to him during that time.



american-born-chinese-cover4. American Born Chinese by Gene Yang – Yang weaves three stories together: one about a mythical monkey who wants to be a god, one about a popular white kid embarrassed by his stereotypical Chinese cousin, and one about a Chinese-American kid who wants acceptance from his white peers.  The book teaches acceptance: from others, and from oneself.


odyssey_cover_400px5. Anything by Gareth Hinds – Hinds turns classics in to another kind of art by turning them into graphic novels.  He keeps the original language of the piece, and he is extremely thorough.  These have absolutely no resemblance to the “Illustrated Classics” we grew up with- these are graphically gorgeous adaptations that adults can appreciate just as much, if not more than, teen readers.


There are a ton of others- some even better than these (Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, etc.), but I wanted to show you a cultural mix that might surprise you.  I didn’t even delve into the genius coming from Asia.

Pretty please with a cherry on top: next time you see someone with a graphic novel, DO NOT think that it isn’t a real book.  It is real- and it just may be even more real than some of the Kindle candy being published these days.

Read one! You might love it- never know unless you try!


An Honest (Optimistic) Look at DailyBurn and DailyBurn Ignite

20130822-101516.jpg8/22/13 (Day One)
Today, I decided to try the DailyBurn program. I did a lot of research (hello- Librarian!) on the different options available on my Roku. I was just looking for the best exercise channel, and I found it surprising that there were very few bloggers talking about this. I usually trust bloggers’ opinions over any other, so I decided I would add to the conversation.

174737_137614426285009_7428335_nI checked out the following options: Gaiam (which is my second choice), The Gymbox, the free channels, and DailyBurn. I thought The Gymbox’s videos were a little low-quality (from what I could see in the previews). There was only one trainer in any of the videos, the routines looked really outdated and old-fashioned, and the trainers looked really low-energy.

Gaiam-TVGaiam’s videos are great, obviously. I liked that in addition to the exercise videos, you also get a lot of general wellness content. The reasons Gaiam came in second for me are two-fold. First, it is hard to come up with a “routine.” You have to do a lot of browsing and searching to come up with an activity for the day, and there is no continuity unless you put in some effort to come up with a plan for yourself. I wanted something I could follow- something designed by someone other than me. Also, many of the videos require special, gimmicky Gaiam-specific equipment, such as that Mari Winsor contraption and The Wave weird stepper. I already have the basic equipment. I don’t want to buy any more- and especially not As Seen on TV crap.

The free options? Well, let’s just say you get what you pay for. I’m not totally knocking them, though. If you don’t want to or can’t spend any money to get fit, it is really nice that they exist.


So, back to DailyBurn. I chose this one for a few reasons. I liked that I answered a few questions about myself and my expectations, and then the site came up with a plan for me. I will be doing 30 days of Yoga, to start. I can change it up from there. They offer dance, Insanity-style workouts, quick 15-minute bursts, and more. I think it will be hard to get bored. The videos look to be high quality and high energy, which was important to me, as well.

iphoneapp2I like that it is available on my Roku and on my iOS devices. I will probably only use my Roku, but I like knowing that if I need to use my iPad, I can. Actually, now that I think about it, I am presenting at a conference in November, so I might just use that feature in my hotel room.

The surprise for me was the Ignite program- I wasn’t expecting it, but I am really excited about it. It is an add-on, but it also comes with a 30-day Free Trial (a definite perk to the whole program), so I can try it out for a month. DailyBurn costs 10 bucks a month, and to include Ignite, it’s another 5 bucks. Not bad, considering that Weight Watchers costs that much for a week, and this has many more features.

384049-xbox-daily-burnIgnite looks to be an anti-inflammatory diet, which is why I am excited. For a 34 year old woman, I have horrible acne. My doctor recently told me that if I want to clear up all of my acne- including the stuff on my back and shoulders, that I need to go the anti-inflammatory route.

It is also really detailed- no room for questions- and includes an app for tracking on my iPhone. I need an app. Don’t ask me why. I just do.

fuel-chocolate-0838c016aa55e6c7fc97abcd6c3dd882They also sell a protein shake to go with the program, and they suggest drinking it within an hour of waking up, every day. They are explicit about the need to have some kind of breakfast within an hour of waking. I suck at eating breakfast, so I bought the shake mix. It wasn’t cheap- $65 for a month’s supply. I am also going to need to buy almond milk and flash frozen strawberries to go into the shakes. So, breakfast every morning will come out to be about $3.50. I guess that isn’t too bad. Especially if I lose fat and clear up my skin in the process.

So, I was looking for some good exercise videos and I got a whole fitness program. If it works, then I can definitely handle $15/month plus the cost of food (which I would be spending anyway, of course).

I will update this post in a month. Wish me luck!

Much, much later…

Here’s my response to a reader…I was a bit of a slacker. This is from a couple of months ago:

After this response you can read what I’m up to now…

Sorry! I keep meaning to update this… Yes- it helps my acne tremendously. I have a hard time sticking to an exercise program, so not so much on that. 🙁 But they are good workouts if you are so inclined. The diet plan, well, once you get the hang of it, you don’t really need to pay the fees anymore (if at all, since you get the first 30 days free). I didn’t find that I lost any weight just following the diet plan, although I did try some gluten free bread products, which are not low calorie in the slightest. And, I am a vegetarian, so the no soy products thing was hard for me. I think that in order to keep up with losing the acne AND losing weight, I am going to have to stick to no dairy and cut carbs to next to nothing. The Perricone Prescription is a really good book on that. I love the shakes- and they are dairy free, so I will keep using those. Overall, I think it is one of the better all-around plans out there. Whole, unprocessed foods… No-brainier, really. Oh- the apps absolutely suck. I hope, for all of their subscribers’ sakes that they will revamp those.
Hope that helps! If you have a chance, please let me know what you think if you try it.


Okay. Here’s the skinny (pun intended). I just bought a precor elliptical and I love it. I use it every day. And I am still trying to stay on track with the daily burn style diet, although some parts are hard for me. The gluten-free thing ends up sabotaging losing weight- unless you are okay with nothing breadish at all. Gluten free stuff is four times more caloric than anything.

Also, I once lost 80 pounds on the whole calories in-calories out idea, so I can’t completely subscribe to something that doesn’t believe in that. I’m willing to try other things because I have back pain and acne- but anything that doesn’t recognize that calories are calories is a problem.

One of my commenters (I love comments!) mentioned a pill that was featured on ABC. I did a LOT of research (I’m a librarian) and found that reviews are VERY mixed, and it is expensive. However, in the interest of being unbiased, I let the comment stand. The pill is part of a MLM though- Amway-style.

At its heart, Daily Burn IS gluten free breadish free,and calories in calories out, but their apps suck. The Daily Burn videos and Gaiam are the best on Roku- with very different styles.  Daily Burn videos are much more modern.  It is like you get all of the cool infomercial videos without paying infomercial prices, which is really nice.


The Best List of Reading Response Questions. Ever.

When I was in the classroom, I used the workshop model.  After students read silently every day, I asked that they write in their reading response journal for just five minutes.

They could choose any of these questions they wanted, but they couldn’t repeat a question until they started a new book, unless they were continuing the response from the previous day.

They also wrote in their journals where they started, where they left off, and what they rated the reading that day (1 to 5 stars).

When I conferenced with students, I looked through the journal and pulled my questions for them from what they had written.  It worked beautifully, and was better than anything else I tried at holding students accountable for their reading, assessing their understanding of the text, and finding meaningful discussion starters for reading conferences.

— After reading, I wonder…

— Are the characters realistic (do they seem like they could be real people)? Why or why not?

— Create a plot diagram.

— Create a timeline of events from what you have read so far.

— Create a ‘WANTED’ poster for the antagonist.

— Describe a character that you would like to meet (which doesn’t mean that you think you would like the character, but that you think the character would be interesting). List 4 questions that you would ask.

— Describe something you have read that is similar to this.

— Describe the main characters.

— Describe the major conflict. What side are you on?

— Describe the most important event. Give at least three reasons why you think it is the most important event.

— Describe the setting – when and where what you are reading takes place.

— Describe the setting’s time and place. Create a new setting that you think

would be better for the story and describe it.

— Describe the setting’s time and place. Draw it.

— Describe the setting’s time and place. List the clues that helped you identify the setting.

— Describe what was either believable or unbelievable about your reading.

Defend your opinion.

— Describe the similarities and differences between the main character and you.

— Describe the theme (central meaning/message) of your reading.

— Describe your least favorite character and explain why. Describe your most favorite character and explain why.

— Do any of the characters feeling change as you’ve read? Explain why or why not.

— Do you like what you’re reading? Why or why not?

— Does the title fit the story? Why or why not?

— Draw a comic strip or graphic novel page for what you just read.

— Draw a line down the center of your paper. On the left, write facts from what you read. On the right, write your personal opinions about what you read.

— Draw a line down the center of your paper. Write a cause (why did it happen?) on the left and its effect (what happened?) on the right. Do this until you have three cause and effects listed.

— Draw a picture for what you just read.

— Draw an interpretation of the passage – may be a picture, symbols, graphic organizer.

— Draw 4 objects that represent your reading. Write a sentence for each, telling what each item says about what you’ve been reading.

— Draw the line down the center of your paper. One the left, list what you like about what you read and why. On the left, list what you didn’t like and why.

— Explain how you have been surprised by what you are reading.

— How did the reading make you feel? Why?

— How do authors characterize their actors? (Dialogue, direct commentary,

actions…) Explain.

— How have your feelings changed as you’ve been reading?

— If the author were here, what would you say and ask him/her?

— If you could change what you’re reading, how would you change it?

— If you could talk to the author, what questions would you ask? Why?

— If you could talk to the author, what would you want to tell them about

yourself? Why? How does that relate to what you’ve been reading?

— If you were a character in this book, who would you be? Why?

— If you were the author, how would this end?

— If you were the author, what would you change? Why?

— If you were the author, what would you have happening next?

— In 4-6 sentences, describe several insights you’ve gained from your reading.

— In few sentences, summarize what you read today.

— Is what you are reading believable? Why or why not?

— Is the setting described well enough that can put a picture of it in your mind? Why or why not?

— List at least three problems the characters faced? Which was the most life changing? Explain

— List five major events in order from which happened first to last.

— List the personality characteristics of the main character (feelings, interests, behaviors, etc.)

— List the physical characteristics of the main character (clothing, physical

features, etc.)

— List three new vocabulary words from your reading. What can you tell about them from their structure? What can you tell about them from their context?

— List three questions you have about what you read.

— Make a timeline of the events that have occurred in your book so far…

— Predict what will happen next.

— Pretend what you are reading is nominated for a national award. Explain why you think it should or should not receive an award.

— Pretend you are a talk show host and two characters are the guests on your show. Which characters would you chose and why? List two questions that you, the host, would ask each character.

— Pretend you are famous reporter on TV. Write a story about what you’ve read for the evening news.

— Pretend you are the friend of one of the characters. Write him or her a letter.

— Pretend you get to create the music soundtrack for what you’ve been reading. What five songs would you include? Write an explanation for each song: why would you include it, how does the song connect to events.

— Pretend you have special powers and could put yourself in your reading. Where would you put yourself and why? How would you being there change the story?

— Pretend your job is to write magazine ads. Create an ad for what you’ve been reading.

— Select a quote from your reading that you liked. What made you pick it? How does it make you pause and think?

— Quote a passage & respond to it. How did it make you feel?

— Summarize what you just read.

— Summarize what you read today.

— Summarize your favorite book. Make me want to read it!

— Tell me about the main character. What kind of person is he/she?

— Think of a problem that a character had to face. Write the problem and how the character solved it or is working to solve it. If you were that character, what would you do differently?

— Thinking about what you just read, draw the picture that appears in your mind.

— This connects to my life…

— This text relates to my life because…

— Use pictures/graphic organizer/web to represent your reading (so far) in the story.

— What are some things you do when you don’t understand what you’re reading?

— What are the two most important ideas from what you’ve been reading?

— What are two emotions the main character has felt? What made the main

character feel that way?

— What character is like you? Describe how is he or she like you?

— What do you like about what you are reading?

— What do you think will happen next?

— What does this book remind you of?

— What emotions do you feel about your reading? Describe what is going on in the reading that makes you feel that way.

— What emotions did you feel while you read? Give details from your reading that made you feel that way.

— What event could have happened in real life? What would be similar in real life? What would be different in real life?

— What has been the most important part of what you’ve been reading?

— What has been the most interesting part of your reading?

— What has happened so far? What do you think will happen next?

— What have you been reading? What does it remind you of in your own life?

— What have you found boring about what you’ve been reading? What made it boring? If you were the author, what would you do to make it more interesting?

— What have you learned about life from what you’re reading?

— What ideas do you have about what is going to happen? What clues have you read to give you those ideas?

— What is something you’ve learned from your reading?

— What is the author trying to tell you about life in this story? Defend this moral.

— What is the mood of what you’re reading (happy, sad, funny, serious, etc.)? Defend your idea.

— What is the title of what you are reading? How does it fit the story? If you

don’t know yet how it fits the story, what is your best guess?

— What is your favorite part of the book you’re reading? Why?

— What message or less was conveyed (theme)?

— What object is important? Draw it. Write an explaination for why you feel it is important.

— What passage describes how you want to live your life? Why?

— What questions would you like answered about your reading? Would you like the book/article better if you knew those answers now? Why?

— What special way did the author write (for example, flashbacks, told in first person, multiple voice narrative, foreshadowing, lost descriptive words that create visual images in your mind, etc.)? Did that make reading it better or worse? Explain.

— What surprises you in this story? Explain why.

— What was going through your mind as you read?

— What you are reading is going to be made into a movie. Create the movie


— What you are reading is going to be made into a movie. Make a list five

characters, what famous actor will play each character and what about the

character makes that actor the best choice for the part.

— What you are reading is going to be made into a movie. You are the movie executive that chooses the location for the filming. Where would you chose and why?

— Which character do you like best? Why?

— Which character do you like least? Why?

— Who are the characters? Describe who they are, what they look like and how they are connected.

— Who is the author? What do you know about the author? What do you imagine the author must be like?

— Who is the most important character to you? Why?

— Who is the most interesting character in the book and why.

— Why did you choose this to read? Give at least 3 reasons.

— Why do you think the author wrote this?

— Without using complete sentences or paragraphs, reflect on today’s reading.

— Would you be friends with the main character? Why or why not? Support w/evidence from your reading.

— Would you recommend this book to friends? Why or Why not?

— Write a journal entry as if you were a certain character from your reading.

— Write a paragraph describing the setting.

— Write a quote from what you are reading that has meaning for you. Explain why you chose this quote.

— Write a quote from your reading that connects to your life. What did it mean to what you’ve been reading? What did it mean to your life?

— Write a review of what you just read (summary plus personal opinions).

— Write a summary of what you just read.

— Write a summary of what you’ve read.

— Write about a situation a character experiences. Write about a similar situation you experienced.

— Write about how one character feels. Write about a time you felt that way, too.

— Write down one word from your reading that you didn’t know. What is your guess about what it means? How did you make that guess?

— Write an editorial, an opinion essay, about an event from your reading.

— Write an obituary for the protagonist or antagonist.

— Write the biography for one character.

Test Readiness Terms


When analyzing, look closely at all the parts or ideas to explain how they are related.

— Analyze how your feelings change as you read this story and why.

— Analyze what motivates the main character’s behavior.

— Analyze the author’s ability to write. What does the author do most

effectively? What does the author do least effectively?


When comparing things, look closely to find all things that are alike between them.

— Compare what is happening to a character in the book with your own or a friend’s life.

— Compare the plot of what you are reading with your favorite book.

— Compare where you live to the setting described in what you are reading.


When contrasting things, look closely to find all thing that are different between them.

— How does what you are reading contrast with a novel you were assigned to read in school and didn’t like reading.

— Contrast the theme of what you are reading with something you read last month.

— What would be a good contrast to the setting of what you are reading?


When defining something, look at it carefully and identify the qualities that make it meaningful.

— Define what makes an interesting story or poem.

— Define what is needed to make a good setting.

— Define what is needed for a reader to be able to relate to a character.


When describing something, use descriptive words and lots of details. Describe it so that a person reading what you wrote can make a picture in their mind with what you are saying.

— Describe the important ideas in this story.

— Describe the similarities and differences between the main character and you.

— Describe the main characters.

— Describe the mood of what you are reading.


When you differentiate, you want to explain the difference.

— Differentiate between the main character and your favorite teacher.

— Differentiate between a good story or poem and a bad story or poem.

— Differentiate between the setting of what you are reading and where you live.


When discussing something, closely examine the subject in detail.

— Discuss why you like or dislike what you are reading.

— Discuss what you think what moral, or life-lesson, can be found in what you are reading.

— Discuss what images appear in your mind as you read & how the author helped create those images.


When evaluating, look closely to determine what is important and significant.

— Evaluate whether the title fits the story.

— Evaluate the quality of the writing.

— Evaluate whether the main character would be worthy of your friendship.


When explaining something, give reasons why things happened or give reasons why you got your answer.

— Explain what kind of reader would like this book most.

— Explain why somebody should or should not read this?

— How would you explain the plot of this story to somebody interested in reading it?


When identifying something, look closely and explain what makes it unique.

— Identify what the author has done to try to keep you reading the book.

— Identify the main characters. Describe what has happened that makes you believe they are the main characters?

— Identify the protagonist. Identify the antagonist. Describe what has happened that makes you believe they are the main characters?


When interpreting something, think and examine it carefully, then give the

meaning or significance of it.

— Pick the phrase from what you are reading that made you think. Interpret what the author meant.

— Pick out 2-4 words from what you are reading that you had difficulty

understanding. Interpret what you think each word means based on context

clues (other words around that word that might help you interpret what the

author means).

— Which characters would you interpret to be ‘good’? Which would you interpret to be ‘bad’? What has the author written that leads you to those interpretations?


When creating a list about an event or thing, provide all of the details or all of the steps in order.

— List the reasons why another person should or should not read this.

— List the events, in order, that have happened so far in what you’ve been reading.

— List five characters and their personality and physical traits.

Main Idea

When looking at the main idea, look for the most important idea or reason.

— What is main idea? Defend your answer.

— Write the main idea of what you are reading and your reasons for thinking it is the main idea.


When outlining something, you are creating a brief description.

— Outline the important events of what you are reading.

— Outline the plot.

— Using outline form, describe what is needed for an effective poem or book

I found this list online years ago.  The Librarian’s name who posted it on the internet was Leslie Preddy, from Perry Meridian Middle School.  That is the only reference information I have.  Ms. Preddy’s list was so instrumental in my reader’s workshop, however, and I thank her.