What Should a Student Read Before Going to College?

What Should a Student Read Before Going to College?

I’m often asked, “What does my high schooler need to read before college?,” as though there were one or two novels out of the hundreds and hundreds of spectacular works in the Western tradition without which any primary educational journey would be void of meaning. I don’t mean to ridicule the impulse to choose wisely what we offer our students. We clearly should. But I do sense an undercurrent of misunderstanding about the educational project in questions like these…

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What Mathematics Can Teach Us About Literature

What Mathematics Can Teach Us About Literature

Missy and I spend a lot of time showing parents how to teach short stories with pictures by means of simple questions like “does the main character succeed?” This approach has helped thousands of teachers get young students started in literary reading with children’s classics like Mem Fox’s Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Patricia MacLachlan’s All the Places to Love, or Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. But what, we are often asked, should older students do?...

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The Wind in the Willows and the Wonder of the Everyday

The Wind in the Willows and the Wonder of the Everyday

A dear friend and former teacher of mine* recently wrote of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, “If ever there was a children’s book written for adults, it is this one.” I whole heartedly agree, and not only because of the stunning beauty of Grahame’s prose.  By way of explanation, I’d like to share a passage from Grahame’s story that, I think, aims right at the heart of his project.

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Picture Books...for High Schoolers?

Picture Books...for High Schoolers?

If you are already thinking about the reading list you will assign to your students next fall, congratulations– you are way ahead of Missy and me! But let me offer one piece of advice as you assemble your curriculum: Assign children's picture storybooks to all of your students in the first few weeks of the school year. 

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