Welcome to the Kewaskum Literacy Lab!
We aim to grow together as a reading and writing community.
This site will provide teachers, parents and students with ongoing information and support.
Kid Lit Book Shares
A few of our recent reads
The Tree Lady
by H. Joseph Hopkins & Jill McElmurry
This is the story of Katherine Olivia Sessions, a girl who loved trees, a student who studied science when girls did not, and a woman whose legacy endures in the landscape of San Diego, California. Our group loved this book's story of a girl who dreamed and persevered. We thought it would pair well with these other books about influential women who have changed the world for the better.
A Boy Called Bat
by Elana K. Arnold, with pictures by Charles Santoso
Bat (Bixby Alexander Tam) is a young boy who lives between his parents and for whom friendship doesn't come easy. His mom brings home a skunk kit as a temporary foster, who quickly finds his way into Bat's heart. We appreciated the author's subtle and sensitive approach to sharing how Bat (and his family and classmates) experiences life on the autism spectrum. We recommend it as a read aloud in the early grades and for book clubs in grades 3-5. (F&P level R)
by Erin Entrada Kelly (2018 Newberry Winner)
This upper elementary- middle school novel follows 4 middle school kids whose lives become entwined during summer break. We loved how Kelly developed rich characters with whom kids can relate. Woven into the story is mystery, friendship, bullying, and identity, and folklore. We recommend it to 5th-8th grade students. (F&P level X)
Seeing Ourselves in Texts
Last month we shared what it means to provide students with windows into the world with texts that feature diversity. In our Kid Lit book study, we read The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez. Often, the authors we study share how transformative it was for them when they first discovered books with characters that reflected their own cultures. These are mirrors.
Every child needs to find themselves in a book. This could be reflected in a character’s cultural identity, or it could be a character with a disability or with a non-traditional family. Mirrors can help develop our sense of identity, make us feel valued and remind us that we are not alone in the world. If you’re looking for books that provide mirrors, ask your child’s teacher, try the advanced search options at the library or check out the We Need Diverse Books section in the Scholastic Book Clubs. The First Book website also has a nice selection available in their Stories For All Project.
Windows & Mirrors
You might not know that KSD has an educator Kid Lit group who studies children’s literature. One of our focuses is to read books that provide windows and mirrors. In the next two months we’ll share what this is all about! In short, a mirror is a text that reflects your own culture and helps you build your identity. A window is a resource that offers you a view into someone else’s experience.
Why are windows important? Providing windows allows our children to develop understandings about the wider world. Text-based windows help students learn about others’ experiences and differences that they may not encounter in their daily lives, such as differences in culture, skin color, communities, or abilities. Windows also allow us to develop greater acceptance and to find similarities in what it means to be human.
Check out these recommended Hispanic Heritage Month books that could provide windows into the world. Adapted from https://www.weareteachers.com/mirrors-and-windows/
Back to school; back to reading!
When I run into students over the summer, at the park, the grocery store and even out for ice cream, I always ask, "What are you reading?" I look forward to summer as a time to read what I love, and to spend hours lost in a book. For many families, however, summer is late nights at baseball, or working in the garden or on the farm. Summer is hours spent at the lake. I get it!
Now that we're heading into the third week of school, kids should be back to the habit of reading. In order to grow as readers, students need to spend at least 20 minutes a day reading. And, when families spend time reading together, that habit can become a really special tradition.
For book ideas or ideas about growing readers, check out Read Brightly, embedded below. I love this website because it's meant for parents and teachers and has ideas for readers of all ages. Check it out!