Short Reads

Below is a selection of pieces from my years as a journalist and commentator. I hold an English Education degree, and many of these pieces were written for Noodle.org, a resource for parents, kids and educators.

Kaplow! Should You Let Your Kids Read Graphic Novels and Comic Books?

“Even if you’re not a parent or an educator, it’s likely you’ve heard about American students’ dismal reading scores. The most recent numbers compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics place the U.S. 20th in the world…”

How to Fight Book Banning

“Believe it or not, censorship in America is alive and well. 2013 saw 464 official challenges reach the American Library Association. These are just the registered complaints. The ALA believes it receives one official challenge for every four to five that occur, putting the real number of banned books last year somewhere in the range 2,500 books…”

6 Ways to Keep Your Kids Reading This Summer

“If you’re a parent with a school-age child, you’re no doubt well aware of the summer “learning gap” issue. Three months off of school may rock your kid’s world, but in most cases it also leads to a loss of knowledge. Every fall, teachers struggle to re-teach the skills kids mastered the year before, and at the top of that list is reading skills…”

The Ultimate Unassigned Reading List for High Schoolers

“An English teacher myself, I can tell you this: Most of what high school students are asked to read is bleak, sober, realistic fiction that nearly always leaves out any mention of drugs, sex, or rock ‘n roll. Kind of like getting nothing but a plate of steamed lima beans for every meal, with no promise of dessert…”

8 Great Scary Books for Middle Schoolers

“There’s nothing like reading a scary story in the winter. The chilly air, few hours of sunlight, and howling wind make the season the perfect setting for a spooky book…”

8 Books That Will Make You a Better Teacher

“Teaching is a tough profession, one that requires constant learning, questioning, and adjusting. Stay up to date in 2015 by checking out these publications, both recent and classic, that relate to some of the hottest topics in education…”

9 Writers From Around the Globe You Should Get to Know

“Indeed, many readers ignore foreign literature altogether, and American publishers have historically been reluctant to publish translations. However, this trend has shifted gradually over the decades with the monumental success of writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and it has bloomed into today’s wide acceptance of translations of European thriller writers such as Henning Menkell and Jo Nesbo…”

5 Ways to Teach Tolerance to Your Kids

“Tolerance is a key component of being a good human being and of sensitively interacting with people from different backgrounds. Kids need to learn it somewhere. But how does one “teach” tolerance, anyway…”

How is Unschooling Different From Homeschooling?

“Every day, parents and students face the challenges of navigating the American school system. More than one parent has scratched her head and wondered if there might not be a better way…”

9 Books Banned for Bizarre Reasons

“Most children’s books are banned because of parental disapproval of books that include themes related to sexual content, language, violence, and the promotion of anti-traditional values. We examine these banned books that have been attacked for other, less obvious reasons..”

What We Lost When We Stopped Writing Letters

“Garfield’s book examines the long life of letter writing throughout history, taking numerous detours to explore topics such as the proper way to conduct the saw-the-woman-in-half trick, and why Jane Austen’s correspondence is so utterly dull. But the crux of Garfield’s book rests on the questions surrounding how written letters affected the world and what we have lost as letters have been replaced by email, texting, and Twitter…

4 Character Traits to Help You Soar After College

“Earning a college degree may mean the end of all-night study binges and standardized tests (hallelujah!), but it isn’t the end of learning. At least it shouldn’t be…”

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