Tag Archives: RWT

The 2017 African American Read-In!

“The African American Read-In (AARI) . . . is built on an ambitious yet confident premise: that a school and community reading event can be an effective way to promote diversity in children’s literature, encourage young people to read, and shine a spotlight on African American authors.”

Join over a million readers as part of the Twenty-Eighth National African American Read-In in February 2017! Learn more about what happens at a Read-In in the English Journal article “The African American Read-In: Celebrating Black Writers and Supporting Youth“. This month, look for posts marked with #AARI17.

The ReadWriteThink.org Text Messages podcast “Celebrating the African American Read-In” provides recommendations of both old and new titles by distinguished African American authors who write for teens. Featured books range from historical novels to contemporary explorations of African American life in both urban and suburban settings.

In the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Analyzing First-Person Narration in Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind” students explore the different facets of complexity in the compelling first-person narrator in Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind.

The lesson plan “I Have a Dream: Exploring Nonviolence in Young Adult Texts” has students identify how Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of nonviolent conflict-resolution is reinterpreted in modern texts, including a text by Walter Dean Myers and rapper Common.

Childhood Remembrances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Nikki-Rosa’“, invites students to read Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Nikki-Rosa,” and then writing about childhood memories of their own.

This lesson from ReadWriteThink.org this lesson gives students an introduction to Jacqueline Woodson’s verse memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming.

Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 is the focus of the lesson plan “Graphing Plot and Character in a Novel“, which invites students to graph the journey of the family while exploring the plot and character development in the novel.

Nikki Giovanni’s poem “The Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.” is paired with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, taking students on a quest through time to the civil rights movement in the lesson “Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King Jr.

Listen as Myers shared how his own experiences as a reader shaped his approach to storytelling.

Tune in to a podcast interview with Nikki Grimes where her writing process and what inspires the characters in her books is shared. Also shared is her philosophy about writing for children and how her life has influenced her writing.

For more ideas, see the ReadWriteThink.org Calendar entry for the African American Read-In which includes more lesson plans, classroom activities, and online resources.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

KingDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929. Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, he was ordained as a minister in 1948. Dr. King became one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement in the U.S., advocating a nonviolent approach to fighting for equal rights. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. As we recognize his birthday, here are some activities based on his works.

Listen to a recording of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech and discuss the meaning of his words. This I Have a Dream lesson plan includes numerous discussion questions that can help guide class exploration of the speech.

Once students understand this speech, ask them how they would convey Dr. King’s vision and character without using words. To get started, look at these photographs of Dr. King and historical events in which he was involved. What messages are these photographs communicating?

Using the photographs as a model, have students work in groups or as a class to create a mural that depicts their understanding of Dr. King’s vision of peace. The Art and Activism unit from Tolerance.org includes lessons on planning, creating, and sharing murals that you can use to get your own class mural underway. Once the project is complete, display murals throughout your school to honor Dr. King.

How do you plan to make this holiday “a day ON, not a day off?”

New Year, New Resources

ReadWriteThink.org keeps getting bigger and better, and as new theory and technology arise in the world of literacy education, we grow and change and adapt so that we can provide innovative materials and resources to the teachers and students who need them most. Here are the newest resources on RWT:

Mobile Apps:


Lesson Plan:
Developing Citizenship Through Rhetorical Analysis
Students analyze rhetorical strategies in online editorials, building knowledge of strategies and awareness of local and national issues. This lesson teaches students connections between subject, writer, and audience and how rhetorical strategies are used in everyday writing.

Calendar Entry:
Sandra Cisneros was born today in 1954.

Classroom Printout:
Group and Self-Evaluation
Students use this printout to evaluate both their own performance in a group as well as the actions of their group members.

Strategy Guide: 
The Art of the Doodle: Writing with Imagination
Use independent, imaginative artwork and varied writing prompts to assess understanding of a given topic for a student body with differentiated needs.

Afterschool and Summer Reading with LGBTQ Content
Motivate your middle school reader with books that include LGBTQ characters.

Tip & How-To:
How to Help a Child with Research
Help students select and narrow a topic, find strong sources, and record new learning in an online tool.

Podcast Episode:
Being a YA Lit Advocate
Tune in to hear about what it means to be a YA lit advocate and what YA advocacy work can look like. You’ll learn strategies you can use to challenge misconceptions about YA lit. You’ll also hear about a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles you can recommend to teen readers.

This past year was a fun one for us at ReadWriteThink.org, and our success and popularity has us excited for opportunities in 2017. We’d like to thank you, our users, for making the site so widely used and so well loved. We couldn’t have done it without you, and as always, your comments and feedback are appreciated.

ReadWriteThink Lesson Plans in 2016

rwt_logo1ReadWriteThink.org has hundreds of standards-based lesson plans written and reviewed by educators using current research and the best instructional practices. Here are the lesson plans and teaching resources most visited in 2016:

Literature Circles: Getting Started
Students practice different ways of collaborating to read a work of literature. They work in different roles as they compose and answer questions, discover new vocabulary, and examine literary elements.

Exploring Compare and Contrast Structure in Expository Texts
Students build their understanding of the terms compare and contrast by participating in class discussions, using Internet resources, working collaboratively, and by visually representing information in a Venn diagram.

Teaching Plot Structure through Short Stories
Students use an online graphic organizer to analyze the plot structure of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and three short stories.

Teaching Point of View With Two Bad Ants
Students will be crawling all over this assignment when they use illustrations and text to learn about life from a bug’s point of view.

Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing
Through a classroom game and resource handouts, students learn about the techniques used in persuasive oral arguments and apply them to independent persuasive writing activities.

Creating a Classroom Newspaper
Students write authentic newspaper stories, including learning about various aspects of newspapers, such as writing an article, online articles, newspaper reading habits, and layout and design techniques.

Readers Theatre
Students develop scripts, perform, and use their voices to depict characters from texts, giving them the opportunity to develop fluency and further enhance comprehension of what they are reading.

Persuasive Techniques in Advertising
Students will be introduced to persuasive techniques used in advertising, analyze advertising, and explore the concepts of demographics, marketing for a specific audience, and dynamic advertising.

Solving Word Meanings: Engaging Strategies for Vocabulary Development
Vocabulary gumshoes use context clues and semantics to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Get the GIST: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area
GIST is a summarizing technique that can be used in any content area. Students will learn and apply the strategy while doing online research and writing activities on news stories.

Have you used or adapted any of these in your classroom?

Use of ReadWriteThink Tools and Apps in 2016

As 2016 winds down, I took the opportunity to dig into the analytics to see what users on ReadWriteThink.org used the most in the past year. This week we will look at the use of ReadWriteThink tools and apps, focusing on the Top Ten of 2016.


Timeline Tool and Mobile App

Trading Card Creator and Mobile App

Printing Press

Comic Creator

Cube Creator

Letter Generator

Acrostic Poems Tool and Mobile App

Persuasion Map

Theme Poems Tool and Mobile App

Venn Diagram Tool and Mobile App

Come back next week when we take a look back at the most accessed lesson plans.