Literally Speaking

Fall 2016

Jennifer Serravallo Podcasts

Jen answers questions posed by actual teachers, twice each week. Teachers like you. Jennifer Serravallo is the author of eleven books on the teaching of reading and writing, most recently The Reading Strategies Book, a collection of 300 reading strategies organized into 13 goals, each aligned to skills, genres and reading levels (Heinemann 2015).


A safe place for students to share and review books as well as create a virtual bookshelf. Teachers can manage and monitor reading lists and reading challenges. Parents can use it to select books based on their child's interests and abilities.

Newsela for Argument Writing

Newsela is a great resource for argument texts that are age appropriate and engaging for students. Click on the "News" tab, followed by "Opinion." There, you will find the latest in opinion pieces. Remember, you can adjust the Lexile levels based on your latest i-Ready data. This is also great for locating articles for "Article of the Week."

The Takeaways from Jenn Serravallo's Talk at Barnes & Noble

On Thursday, October 13, 2016, Jenn Serravallo gave a talk at the Barnes and Noble in Holmdel. About 100 teachers attended the event and it provided some great information for teachers of all levels.
Here are some takeaways:

  • Students in the middle grades should have at least 40 minutes of independent reading time each day
  • Jen is writing a new book, The Writing Strategies Book that will follow the same format as The Reading Strategies Book. It will be released Februrary, 2017.
  • You can group books according to genre or interest rather than Lexile when organizing your classroom library
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Blog Recommendation

To Make a Prairie is a blog dedicated to reading and writing, written by Vicki Vinton, a literacy consultant who works in the New York City public schools. Here, you can find posts about a variety of topics, such as constructing understanding, writing realistic fiction, and examining student work.

i-Ready Toolkit

Don't forget that we have a full year of access to the i-ready toolkit. This is a valuable resource for teachers to utilize in their small group instruction. You can log in simply by selecting your state and school-no license code is needed.