CIES Wednesday Envelope

for Elementary Staff ~ March 18th, 2015

In This Newsletter:

  • Good Readers vs. Great Thinkers
  • Ten Children’s Books About African-American Heroes
  • Schoology Humor
  • Video: 6 Reading Strategies

Good Readers vs. Great Thinkers

Aimee Karr writes -

"For today’s learners to be successful, knowing the “why” behind a text is more important than just being able to read it with accuracy. What if a student could go beyond good reading to great thinking?

What’s the difference between the two? Great thinkers are good readers, too, but great thinkers also frequently ask higher-order questions, tend to think critically, and evaluate the text when reading.

Going "beyond good" requires more from teachers and students, but by making instructional adjustments to these three areas, all students can practice great thinking!..."

Read more of Good Readers vs. Great Thinkers

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Ten Children’s Books About African-American Heroes

“Too many teachers still view books about African Americans as relevant only in February or as an occasional addition to a set curriculum,” says Terry Meier (Wheelock College) in this article in The Reading Teacher. When this happens, books by and for black Americans are separated from the larger literary tradition, with its recurring topics, themes, metaphors, and visual images. As an antidote, Meier does an in-depth analysis of ten books about the childhood lives of highly accomplished African-American men, all suitable for read-alouds for grades 1-4, drawing out some common themes and suggesting classroom activities. Here are the books:

- Words Set Me Free: The Story of the Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James Ransome (2012)

- More Than Anything Else (Booker T. Washington) by Marie Bradby, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet (1995)

- Howard Thurman’s Great Hope by Kai Jackson Issa, illustrated by Arthur Dawson (2008)

- Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes by Floyd Cooper (1994)

- Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz, illustrated by A.G. Ford (2013)

- My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold (1995)

- Float Like a Butterfly (Muhammad Ali) by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez (2002)

- Ron’s Big Mission (Ron McNair) by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden, illustrated by Don Tate (2009)

- Jump! From the Life of Michael Jordan by Floyd Cooper (2004)

- Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier (2008)

“‘The Brown Face of Hope’ – Reading Engagement and African-American Boys” by Terry Meier in The Reading Teacher, February 2015 (Vol. 68, #5, p. 335-343), available for purchase at; Meier can be reached at

Schoology Humor from a Rush Creek Student

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6 Reading Strategies - a Parody of Justin Bieber 's "Boyfriend"
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