Articles by Dan

How Sharing Their Work Gets Students Excited

Published by Heinemann


Like most activities in the life of a classroom, conference-based reading projects succeed or fail in direct proportion to how big a deal we make of them. If they are treated as tangential to the regular reading curriculum and never discussed or celebrated publicly, chances are students will not take them seriously.

On the other hand, when a teacher allows time for children to share their individual reading projects with the rest of the class, they begin to feel a strong sense of ownership and involvement in their reading.

Deciding Which Connections Help Us To Understand

Published by Heinemann


We often talk to kids about the importance of making connections to our own lives as we read, to facilitate comprehension. The truth is though that not all connections are created equal. Some connections do in fact help us understand, but others can distract us from what is going on in the text. Skilled readers are discriminating; they pay attention to the connections that actually help them make sense of the text, not just any old connection that pops into their head. 

Bronwen’s Guide to Dystopian Novels

Published by Lesley University Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative


5th grader Bronwen, like many upper elementary and middle school students, couldn’t get enough of dystopian novels. After going through the entire Hunger Games series in a week and a half, she had moved on to Lois Lowry’s The Giver. When I sat down for a conference with her and asked what she was noticing about the genre, she thought for a minute. “Well, they aren’t the easiest kind of books,” she finally responded. “You sort of have to know how to read them.” Intrigued, I asked her to say more.  


A Cautionary Tale of Gun and Leadership at P.S. 277

Published by Heinemann


What does educational leadership look like in the age of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? The CCSS have pushed districts across the country to think deeply about rigorous content