Archive for the ‘BOOK TOURS/PROMOTIONS’ Category

ESL Tips for Teachers from ESL Specialist Dorit Sasson

Welcome to day three of Dorit Sasson’s 6-day NWFCC February Specialist Showcase tour as she presents “Ways to Use Children’s Books to Build Oral Literacy and Vocabulary Skills for ESL Students.”

Before they even begin school, ESL children have already absorbed the grammatical structures, sounds, and vocabulary of a language. This assumption takes into account that parents speak with their children in their own mother tongue from a very young age. But what about building literacy skills for a second language? Research shows that ESL students are not reaching the same levels of reading proficiency as their native English speaking peers by the time they reach third grade.

Using children’s trade books (i.e. read-alouds) is a great way for parents and teachers to help build literacy skills for ESL students.

Bridging Oral Work with Vocabulary Development

Teachers and parents can make sure specific aspects of oral instruction correspond to vocabulary development and story comprehension of their respective curriculums. Young ESL students at the first stage of reading development (ages 6-7) are generally aware of sound-letter relationships, can map speech to print and sounds out words, attempts to break code of print and uses decoding to figure out words (Roskos, Less skilled readers however, do not have the automaticity in lower-level process (i.e., letter, word levels) to process information at the vocabulary level without expending a great deal of cognitive effort.

Use Language Scaffolds

In a read-aloud context, teachers and parents can provide a range of language scaffolds so that ESL students can map out the basic story components of plot and character and understand basic vocabulary integral to the read-aloud.

Such language scaffolds that naturally bridge the oral and written aspects of the curriculum include:

  • Using simple and concrete language to introduce and discuss new vocabulary
  • Using modeling strategies to help facilitate with comprehension
  • Anticipating and predicting further content
  • Encouraging ELLs to make connections with what they have heard

In order to ensure that ESL students understand 99% of a spoken text, teachers need to provide opportunities to discuss vocabulary in context, otherwise ESL students may spend an inordinate amount of their cognitive energies trying to guess at the word’s meaning thus losing the flow of the story. The read-aloud story gives teachers a framework with which to teach the letters, words or other stories.

Before teachers focus on new vocabulary words, they may need to check students’ familiarity with the context. In the story Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, for example, the word gloves should be associated with cold and hands. Teachers will want to teach new vocabulary, such as the word gloves, in the context by providing contextual clues to help students recognize the meaning either independently or with the teacher’s help.

Other examples include:

  • Teacher discusses the word ‘grouchy’ as the underlying theme for Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug using a picture of a grouchy face.
  • Teacher explicates the word ‘snores’. What does the bear do when he is sleeping?

Non-verbal (i.e. gestures) and verbal clues (i.e. pictures) facilitate the process of scaffolding between hearing words and seeing them in their respective contexts before students have the necessary reading skills to acquire vocabulary independently.

The stages for discussing new vocabulary should follow several teaching principles relating to a particular pattern of development.


  • Passive exposure using techniques such as brainstorming as in the example of the word birthday. Teacher asks: What happens on a birthday? Teacher asks for dates of students’ birthdays.
  • Active exposure using presentation techniques such as showing pictures, guessing, and simulation.


Practice has important implications for vocabulary retention. Opportunities should be provided for reinforcing the meaning following the read-aloud.

  • Use questioning techniques for ‘snore’ in Bear Snores On. Parents and teachers can ask: Where is bear snoring? Who comes in the cave while bear is snoring?

While every teacher’s approach to oral work is different, strengthening performance is promoted through constant recycling, repetition and review of sound/symbol correspondences, phonics and vocabulary.

Works Cited

Carle, E. (1996). The Grouchy Ladybug. HarperCollins.

Wilson, K. (2003). Bear Snores On. Simon and Schuster.

Roskos, Kathleen A., Tabors, Palton, O., Lenhart, Lisa. Oral Language and Early Literacy in Preschool. Delaware: International Reading Association. 2004.

NOTE: This article is only part of a presentation regularly offered by Dorit Sasson as part of her in-service training programs for teachers of English language learners. For more information about speaking engagements and in-service, contact Dorit Sasson at or visit the Teachers’ Diversity Coach, at and click on the “speaking” page.

Follow Day 4 of Ms. Sasson’s tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.


Tips for Teachers from Author Suzanne Lieurance

Tips for Teachers from Author Suzanne Lieurance

Thank you for following me on Day 3 of my 6-day virtual tour for my middle grade historical novel The Locket: Surviving the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire from Enslow Publishers. Obviously, this book was designed for classroom use as a way to supplement the regular social studies textbooks when it comes to helping students learn about events in American history. But I think readers enjoy the book mainly because they get to know and like the main character, Galena, a young Russian-Jewish immigrant who lived in New York City with her family in 1911. This was an interesting time in American history and I wanted this book to help readers get a feel for what life must have been like for struggling immigrants back then.

I have also written a nonfiction book about this tragic fire called The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and Sweatshop Reform. It is part of the In American History series from Enslow Publishers, Inc. When I visit schools across the country I sometimes talk to students about using real events in history as the basis for creating fictional stories. I even have a workshop about this, so I can guide students to choose historical events to research so they can create fictional characters who witnessed these events and tell their stories.

I love to visit schools, libraries, and bookstores to talk about my writing and my books. I particularly enjoy helping teachers and school librarians see how they can use nonfiction to help students write better fiction. Teachers and librarians can find out more about this at my website at, too.


Follow Day 4 of Ms. Lieurance’s tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.


Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Sherrie Madia

Welcome to day three of Sherrie Madia’s 6-day NWFCC February Author Showcase tour where she discusses a Preschool Lesson Plan for her children’s book, Bumblelina.

Preschool Lesson Plan

Teachers can read this book to preschoolers as part of several different possible thematic units, including:  spring, bumblebees, the preschool experience, drawing, learning colors and the importance of trying.  The following lesson speaks specifically to spring and bumblebees.

Two underlying elements within the book are repeated sounds (“Bumblelina fumbles.  Bumblelina stumbles.”) that enable teachers to get kids thinking about these elements as an essential part of learning to read.  Also fun to include is a lesson on colors.  Each page of the book has one “hidden” spot of color, so it is fun for children to find the spot and identify the color.  Because the book is illustrated in line drawings, teachers might talk with children about using their artistic ability to draw their own bee character.  This can be a wonderful way to engage preschoolers in the story by having them draw their own bumblebees, using their imagination.

Another worthwhile exercise based on the notion of trying is to have children draw a picture of themselves trying to do something that was hard (e.g., buttoning a coat, zipping a zipper, pouring a glass of milk, writing their letters, etc.—and then draw the picture of them succeeding at the task).  The teacher might offer a story of something he or she had trouble doing as an adult—but succeeded at by practice and hard work. 

This exercise is a wonderful way not only to demonstrate to children the importance of trying, but also an exercise in enabling them to celebrate past accomplishments, thus serving as a means of building self-esteem and to reinforce the message of how important it is to try until you succeed.

Pages to Color

Here is a fun coloring page that also includes practice with the letter “B”:

Children will also enjoy this bee-hive coloring page, which lets them spend time imagining what it might be like inside a hive:


Rhyme and Movement

Every child like a hand rhyme, and learning simple rhymes and movements is an important component in teaching preschoolers. Children can pick up the rhyme and movement easily, and this reinforces both the topic of the book about a bumblebee, but the more important underlying theme, which is the importance of trying.  When used prior to reading Bumblelina, a rhyme and movement activity can help to focus children and settle them in for story time.

Here is The Beehive Hand Rhyme, which is a brief, easy-to-learn rhyme with hand movements:

To accompany your reading of Bumblelina during story time, here are some fun bumblebee crafts to make:

Paper Plate Bumblebee

Thumbprint Bees

Follow Day 4 of Ms. Madia’s tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.

Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author M.E. Finke

Welcome to day three of M.E. Finke’s 6-day NWFCC February Author Showcase tour.

I have long believed that reading wonderful books is a child’s Magic Carpet Ride to safe adventure, fun learning, and an expanded imagination. Teachers are often the Caliphs or gatekeepers of this Magic Carpet Ride.

**The story of Taconi and Claude offers a class trip to the Australian outback of the early 1950s.
The rich and fascinating flora and fauna of this area of Australia rises off the pages. Kids will smell the gum trees, feel the scorching heat, and wonder at the termite mounds. A fear of wild dingoes might steal over them at any moment.

Pictures of unique Aussie Animals – click a picture for extra information:

Aussie flora – pictures and information:

A class reading of my “Down-under Fun” page, on critters unique to Down-under, offers fun facts + links to other resources. Supervised Googling of the various animals will show more detailed information + pictures. The wattle tree is the Australian national tree, and is mentioned in Taconi and Claude. The sweet smelling clusters of yellow flowers are a national symbol.

Taconi and Claude offers a chance for children to look at another culture and see how it compares with their own. It will help children learn to be tolerant of the customs and beliefs of others. Doing this will hopefully make the world into a more peaceful and happy place.


** Tribal history is in the past: but it is never forgotten.

Much as the arrival of white men in the Americas decimated the Indians, the penal colonies that grew and spread in early Australia meant death and disaster for the aboriginal tribes. The sheep the newcomers brought ate the grass needed for wild animals. Fear of each other made both sides wantonly kill.  Well into the 20th century the aboriginal people of Australia were disrespected and treated badly. Now small in numbers, they drifted to the cities, where alcohol proved disastrous for them. Only in the last few decades have they banded together and improved their standing. They now manage the great Urulu as a tourist attraction, and keep its secrets safe for future generations. Education is making a huge difference.

The aboriginal custom of going walkabout (naked as a newborn) can be appreciated if not indulged in. The wide open spaces of Australia let their souls breathe free. They believe the dreamtime is an all encompassing entity that lives in them and in everything that nature provides. The large tribal gathering at the end of the story gives a feel for the rich heritage that is handed down from generation to generation. Aboriginals have no written language. All their history is verbal, and must be memorized and passed on to story tellers in each generation.

 Artwork is revered and often sacred. It can be found in secret caves all over the outback. Different tribes have their own ways of revering the Dreamtime and specific ancient customs. The tribal call pulses throughout my story. Ask children how they would feel if they had Taconi’s problems: a scary and secret Man Ceremony, a mean Medicine Man, and Dreamtime Sprits versus the Big Smoke and the white man’s way.

The affluent owners of a cattle station, and the times, also come under Taconi’s keen eye. The quirks and customs will boggle kid’s minds


**Go for a Down-under geography lesson:

It’s not called Down-under for nothing – look where it is situated on a world globe. Only the coastal areas are friendly to human habitation. The vast inner regions comprise what they call scrub or bush plus huge outright desert areas.

Ayers Rock (now called the sacred name of Uluru) is the Aussie heart. Australia is rich in coal, and rare minerals that are in worldwide demand.  Around the land off the Gulf of Carpentaria are diamond mines. The climate goes from tropical rainforest beneath Cape York, to the colder and drier areas of Victoria. The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest in the world, and once covered all of Australia. It now clings to a small area at the top of Queensland. The outback begins in Queensland when you cross the Great Australian Divide from the lush coast east of the Pacific ocean, to the dry bush and desert areas on the western side of the mountain range.

For more detailed current and historical facts these two sites offer lots of out of the ordinary information that is kid friendly.

Basic Australian Information

History of Australia:

Follow Day 4 of Ms. Finke’s tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.

Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Pamela Hamilton

Welcome to day three of Pamela Hamilton’s 6-day NWFCC February Author Showcase tour.

From the time I’d first conceived Snow Day I’d always thought of it as a read-a-loud book to be read as a bedtime story or perhaps as a book that beginning readers could read on their own. I had purposefully kept the story simple and I had never thought about how teachers could use Snow Day in the classroom until I was asked to address that in this blog post.

After some thought, here are some ideas I came up with for incorporating Snow Day into the classroom.

Creative writing: Using Snow Day as a starting point, have students write

  • about what they did the last time school was cancelled for snow. (Or, if the school is not in the snow belt, what did they do on their last day off from school)
  • Pick 5 to 7 words from Snow Day and have the students write a story of their own using them.
  • Write a class story starting with the first line of Snow Day. The teacher writes “It’s a snow day” at the top of the page, then the first student writes the next sentence, the second student the next, and so on until everyone has contributed and the story is completed.
  • Write a class play based on Snow Day.


Art: Illustrations for any of the above with the learning objective to help students identify what makes a good illustration, or, in the case of the play, good set decoration.

Science: Snow Day can be part of a unit on weather.

  • What is snow?
  • Why does it snow?
  • What is a blizzard?
  • How is a blizzard different than a snowstorm?
  • What is the difference between winter storm warnings. watches, and advisories?
  • With older students, teachers can use Snow Day as a starting point for using the Internet for research. In the story, Tessa, Jake, and Molly have a day off from school because of snow. Students could research and chart:
    • What are the snowiest (rainiest, sunniest) parts of the United States?
    • Track and chart snowfall (rainfall) in the school yard for a week, month, year
    • Follow the weather map/forecast in the local newspaper or TV news for one week. Identify the indicators/patterns the forecasters use for predict the next day’s weather. Give your weather forecast for the next 3 days.



  • Brainstorm a list of winter activities and take a class poll – what is the most popular? Least popular? Make a graph of the results.
  • Expand the poll to the school, charting the results by classroom and by grade.
  • Measure snowfall, rainfall, temperature for a given period of time. Calculate the daily average, weekly average, or monthly average. 


Follow Day 4 of Ms. Hamilton’s tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.

Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Nancy Sanders

Welcome to day three of Nancy Sanders’ 6-day NWFCC February Author Showcase tour.

Q: This month we celebrate Black History Month. Do you have any resources for helping teachers incorporate African American History into the classroom?

A: Because my husband, Jeff, is a teacher, I understand how teaches can’t just use anything in their classroom. They have to teach to the state and national standards. That’s why many of my books support these standards in a variety of ways.

My book, America’s Black Founders: Revolutionary Heroes and Early Leaders with 21 Activities, supports the standards for teaching about American history in elementary, middle school, and high school. It is for age 9 and older. The book’s website is

On the book’s website, under the Teachers and Librarians page, educators can download PDF files for a free Teacher’s Guide that has worksheets and fun activities for classroom use.

Teachers and librarians can also visit a special ongoing Virtual Book Tour they can participate in with their students to celebrate Black History all year long. For instructions on how the tour works and also how to incorporate my books into their classroom for the tour, visit my website

Readers Theatre for African American History includes scripts for classroom use about America’s Black Founders as well as other key events and individuals.

Q: Do you write books specifically geared for teachers?

A: My husband, Jeff, and I have worked together on several books for teachers. With his expertise in the classroom as an elementary teacher for over 25 years and my experience as a children’s writer, we’ve teamed up to write books for teachers such as Hello Hi-Lo: Readers Theatre Math and 15 Fun-to-Read American History Mini-Books.

I’ve also written numerous books for teachers with Scholastic Teaching Resources. These books are reproducible mini-books or mini-book plays for classroom use. My book, 25 Read and Write Mini-Books That Teach Word Families (PreK-1) is listed as a bestseller for Scholastic and has sold over 234,000 copies to date!

Q: What other resources to you have for teachers to celebrate Black History Month in the classroom?

A: Along with the overall text of the book, America’s Black Founders contains numerous short biographies of key African Americans who influenced the founding of our nation in powerful ways. These bios are showcased in separate frames throughout the book, often with nearly-lost or hard-to-find historic portraits of these amazing men and women. Students can quickly see at a glance an overview of the lives of these important individuals, start recognizing their faces, and read even more about their lives within the context of the book’s pages of text.

Teachers can reproduce these bios as posters in their class, create a classroom book featuring these bios as the pages of the book, and invite students to post Wikipedia articles based on the information found in these biographies.

For more activities and tips about incorporating my books in the classroom, teachers and librarians can visit my website at

Follow Day 4 of Ms. Sanders’ tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.


Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Laurie Monopoli

Welcome to day three of Laurie Monopoli’s 6-day NWFCC February Author Showcase tour.

At first glance you will think this is the ideal book to help children overcome their fears of the first day of school.  However, just like the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, there is much more depth in learning encompassed in this little picture book.  First of all, the story is interactive and children are invited to actively participate with the characters.  Through active participation children become engaged in the story and its message; aiding in comprehension, memory and recall.   Additionally, all children have different learning/reading styles.  It is important that we respect these differences in children. Some children can sit for long periods of time for story, after story.   While others may get fidgety after you turn the first page. Some children actually require a level of movement to keep their brains focused.   This story offers restless readers a splash of movement and motion that their brain requires to maintain focus.  Accordingly, The Book About Tony Chestnut attracts the interest of ALL children — even the most reluctant reader.

To assist educators in their daily planning I developed a comprehensive curriculum that correlates with The Book About Tony Chestnut.   Kindness Counts: Exploring Random Acts of Kindness is a curriculum where children are invited to learn through active; hands-on experiences how their actions affect others.  United they create a kindness tree that beautifully blooms with their expressions of sharing, caring and being kind towards others.

The Kindness Counts curriculum is based on integrated units that allow educators to make certain their children are learning relevant knowledge that they can easily apply to real life situations.  Theme teaching with correlating projects also allows classes to cover a variety of material and effectively teach many concepts and skills. This approach builds on children’s interests, as it allows them to learn at their own individual pace, and connect this knowledge to their daily lives.  A learning environment rich in meaningful opportunities for children to explore is a holistic and natural way for them to learn.  It is vehicle that demonstrates respect for the classrooms diverse learning styles and individual developmental needs. 

Link to Kindness Counts: Exploring Random Acts of Kindness:      

Follow Day 4 of Ms. Monopoli’s tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.