By Readingintheborderlands

This semester in READ 6310 my students are exploring how identities are represented in children’s and young adult literature. I wish I’d had this book when we started our work together! The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity is a collection of essays that looks at the diversity within a group that is often homogenized.


StoryCorps Celebrates Teachers

By Readingintheborderlands

On November 25 StoryCorps is asking people to thank a teacher in their National Day of Listening. StoryCorps began collecting and archiving stories about every day experiences in 2003. They now have a collection of over 35,000 interviews. 

This YouTube video shares some of the stories about teachers that have been collected so far.


Celebrate the Holidays with Clifford

By S. Duran, UTPA

This post was written by a student in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature.

Revisit Clifford as a puppy as he tries to help Emily Elizabeth make Valentines Day cards for mommy, daddy, grandma and grandpa. Clifford’s helpfulness ends up getting him in a sticky mess. Tag along with Clifford and Emily Elizabeth as they make a trip to the post office to mail their valentines and Clifford encounters a little adventure in the mailroom.




Enjoy the best thing about spring, Easter! Join Emily Elizabeth as she dreams about the excitement about coloring Easter eggs with Emily Elizabeth and the helpful Clifford. Enlighten yourself to see Clifford in all sorts of colors and patters on his body, then join everyone as they gather together to look for the Easter eggs, as they look in all sorts of places.



Being the smallest of the litter, Emily Elizabeth chooses Clifford to be her pet. On Mothers Day Emily Elizabeth, accompanied by her father and Clifford, goes to buy a special gift for her mother. Meanwhile Clifford’s attention is drawn to a ribbon on a box of chocolates. Clifford’s pulling on the ribbon causes all the chocolates to fall. As they continue shopping, Clifford’s has a reaction to the flowers causing them to buy sneezed flowers. In their last stop, Clifford’s leaves his paw prints all Emily Elizabeth’s sweater, making it the perfect gift for Clifford’s mother.

Enjoy Emily Elizabeth and Clifford’s favorite day of the year and see the adventures during the other holidays. Enlighten yourself to see the different costumes Clifford wanted  for last year’s Halloween party such as devil, clown, and witch and ended up being a ghost. At the end of the story use your imagination to help Emily Elizabeth pick a Halloween costume for Clifford this year.


The Thanksgiving season is a time to spend with family and friends. After Emily Elizabeth leaves on her family vacation, Clifford decides to visit his mother in the city. Follow Clifford as he journeys through the city encountering an array of different types of obstacles, like getting stuck in a traffic jam and trying to get through a Thanksgiving Day parade. Read how all ends well as Clifford finds his mother and enjoy a nice thanksgiving dinner. 

Revisit Clifford’s first Christmas, as Clifford tries to hang an ornament and ends up at the top of the Christmas tree. During the night the anxious little pup wakes up to explore, when suddenly he gets a big surprise by a man who was coming down the chimney, wearing a red suit. Feel the excitement Christmas morning as they open up all the gifts from under the tree.

Need to Stock Up on Bilingual Books?

By Readingintheborderlands

Arte Público Press is one of my favorite sources for bilingual children’s books. I’m on their mailing list, and today I received this notice of a sale: 

Enjoy 25% off + free shipping when you buy books from now until December 20, 2011. Just enter coupon code HOLIDAY11 at the end of the check-out process and enjoy!

I may need to add to my collection.

By Readingintheborderlands

Right now I’m at the National Council for Teachers of English Annual Convention in Chicago. At a session this morning the following quote was shared:

“I have never encountered any children in any group who are not geniuses. There is no mystery on how to teach them. The first thing you do is treat them like human beings and the second thing you do is love them.”

Asa Hilliard

Something to think about!

Reasons why children stop “wondering” when they reach middle school

By: Mayra Padilla, MECC

This post was contributed by a student enrolled in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature.

Being a kindergarten teacher has taught me that 5 and 6 year olds have a natural way of wondering about certain topics and ideas. Reading nursery rhymes, fairy tales and many fiction books will motivate them to wonder about kings, queens, castles, a cow jumping over the moon and a handsome prince. Literature promotes wonder because it invites and encourages students to slow down, ponder on characters and plots, presents ways to think about the world we live in, and builds inquiry in our students (Johnson & Giorgis, 174, The Wonder of it All: When Literature and Literacy Intersect). Very few children, however, will continue this process. It is amazing how middle school students have lost their interest in reading, wondering, and overall asking questions. Even though many factors contribute to this notion, I am aware that three of these factors include; standardized reading/tests, families, and educators.

Standardized Reading/Tests            

Standardized reading will never promote a true love or even interest for reading. I have heard middle school students say, ‘I HAVE to read this book for class because it is going to be on the test next week.’  Having students read a book just because it will be on the test next week is really teaching them to be efferent readers, and based on transactional theory, we motivate children to have a passion for reading when we teach them to read aesthetically.  


Families have a great impact in middle school students having a love for reading, wondering, and asking questions. Many times students want to buy books online or at bookstores, but at home, reading is not important so the parents will not buy their child a book. This is when the student begins to feel discouraged and even doubtful. They begin to believe that books are not as important or that they are a waste of money to buy.



Educators are perhaps the most influential people in encouraging or discouraging a love for reading. Even though a child may have a great kindergarten teacher that really promotes the wondering and asking questions, it will only take one bad teacher to kill all of this inspiration. Many educators do not allow children to ask questions until it’s “question time” or let children choose their own genre of books because they feel it is not appropriate. Educators, whether in preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school, should have classrooms where the students get submerged in reading every single day! Activities such as read alouds, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, literature circles, partner reading, choral reading, book talks, and reader’s theater should take place on a daily basis! Reading should be integrated into all subjects.  Students should be allowed to choose their own authentic literature and write reader’s responses and feel it is ok to disagree with the teacher and even peers during literature circles.     

I believe these three factors are the cause of why students in middle school have lost their interest in reading, wondering, and overall asking questions. Of these three factors, the most dangerous one, is the educator. Not only can an educator inspire a child’s love for reading but also kill their love for reading. It only takes 15 minutes for a child to love reading, however, once a child’s love for reading is killed, it will probably be for a very long time.