It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 6/4/18


the newcomers

The Newcomers is must-read nonfiction about a Denver area ELL high school classroom where refugees new to America begin learning English and acclimating to the U.S. education system. It’s a wide-ranging book that’s both the story of one inspiring teacher and his classroom as well as the story of a global refugee crisis, told through profiles of the individual students Thorpe meets and interviews. It’s also a book about empathy and compassion and what kind of people we choose to be when vulnerable and traumatized people need help. I can’t imagine a more necessary book to read in this political climate.


Kwame Alexander resurrected the nightly read-aloud at my house! Even though my son hated the tragedy that opens Rebound, he still wanted to hear the story. It wasn’t until we got to the end that he confessed he hasn’t yet read The Crossover, so for now, I skipped the Epilogue, which includes appearances from Josh and Jordan Bell, and we’ll return and read the final few pages together after we read The Crossover. I did enjoy Rebound, though I liked The Crossover and Booked better.

reimagining writing assessment

Maja Wilson’s Reimagining Writing Assessment is a powerful argument against the rubrics, scales, and grades that dominate writing assessment and in favor of assessing writing through stories and a growth lens. I loved how ambitious this book is: Wilson’s ultimate point is that rubrics and scales are anti-democratic “methods of oppression” that create “miseducative experiences” for students and that if we are serious about teaching and learning, we will develop humane methods of assessment that actually promote growth. It’s a very short book (under 150 pages) but includes a thorough critique of scales assessment as well as a thorough description and application of what she proposes to use instead: inquiries into writers’ relationships with writing and an interpretive lens that focuses on their decision-making process throughout the act of writing. If you teach writing, you need to read this book.

hello lighthouse

Hello Lighthouse is Sophie Blackall’s new picture book, and it just might be her best book yet. Gorgeous illustrations and simple, lyrical text work together seamlessly to convey what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper. This is one I’d really like to own.

21 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 6/4/18”

  1. I have The Newcomers since Helen Thorpe is a patron of our bookstore and it is a timely book. I’ve read a little, need to finish it. I love Hello LIghthouse, probably will purchase this one. And I need to read Rebound & catch up with more from Kwame Alexander. I loved Crossover, have Solo but haven’t read it. Happy Reading!

    • It’s an excellent book. Once I started, I had a hard time putting it down–which is sadly usually not a problem for me! (I’m such a distracted and distractible reader!) I may have to purchase Hello Lighthouse as well. Just too beautiful. Haven’t read Solo either–tried it on audio but found the very beginning quite confusing. I need to be able to see it!

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed Rebound–how funny that he hadn’t read Crossover! That sadness in the beginning carried through so much of the book, for me. But I loved his connection to the rest of his family (and that little surprise at the end with the journal). And I adored Hello Lighthouse, of course! I’ve picked up Solo and have been tempted to squeeze it in before I finish my current two novels. Alexander’s books flow beautifully and are so meaningful. ❤

    • He’s told me many times that he read The Crossover, but I think he was just carrying the book around and pretending to read to hide his dyslexia. Poor kid! Solo is kind of fat but I’m sure it’s a quick read. I do love verse novels because you can breeze through them!

  3. You are the second person to have Hello Lighthouse this week and there were a couple last week–I need to get it 🙂
    I am so excited for Rebound; Alexander is so popular in my room. I still have to read Solo also.
    I hope your son loves Crossover.

    Happy reading this week 🙂

  4. Requesting Hello Lighthouse and The Newcomers. I think it might be a good book for my book club (which loves NF, and I don’t. So I’m always looking for NF I want to read.)

  5. Sadly, we don’t have Hello Lighthouse yet – maybe in a few months or so. I really enjoyed Crossover – and glad to see Rebound receiving a lot of love – and good to know it resurrected your read-aloud! Good choice! 🙂

    • It’s fun to be reading aloud again! I’ll be honest: I had enjoyed the extra 20-30 minutes to myself at night, but it’s an easy thing to give up when READING together is what replaces it! I think you will like Hello Lighthouse–really strong work.

  6. I am very interested in the writing book. Thank you for the recommendation.

    Also, I am teaching children’s lit next spring, and I am v. excited about trying your totally free reading choice to create lifelong readers. 😀

    • Let me know if you read the writing book! Yay for totally free reading in Children’s Lit! I’ve been doing it for a few years now and finally feel like this past semester, I’ve got the balance right with the additional pieces that have to be there for it to really work: personalized book stacks and personalized recommendations (in the first week, they write a literacy narrative from an assignment I borrowed from Lisa Patrick’s Children’s Lit syllabus, and I come to the 3rd class with book stacks for each student based on what they write about in their literacy narrative); daily book talks by me and by students; book trailers; time to read in class; books available in the classroom to browse (I have a rolling cart from the library that I use to cart books to class); no additional homework besides the literacy narrative and then reading; and a variety of genre and diversity requirements to ensure that they try different things and really discover themselves as readers. Now to figure out how to replicate it all online because the online version of this course really needs an update!

      • Ahhhhhhhh, that sounds amazing! What are the genre and diversity requirements? Are they broad or specific?

        I may be required to assign some critical articles about reading, but I’ll find out soon enough. This is very exciting!

    • They are pretty broad. I’ll email you the handout. Students also choose one award for a deep reading dive. That’s been a good excuse to order many more books for the library! And we do a fair number of critical articles together, but we read and discuss in class.

      • Oh excellent. I’ll be teaching in a 3-hour block so doing a lot of stuff in class will happen! I am so excited!

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