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Do you teach a young adult literature course, or do you integrate YAL in your classroom?

I am currently working on a book project that explores the different ways in which middle and high school teachers structure their YAL courses (elective or required). I am also looking at how teachers infuse YAL into their regular education courses. I’ve seen great classroom designs and course projects, and I am looking for others. I’d love to capture them and acknowledge the great work happening in classrooms. If you might be interested in being included in the book, please send me an email at ricki[DOT]ginsberg[AT] or message me on Facebook! Participation would involve the sharing of a course project, classroom activity/activities, and/or course syllabus.

If you know someone who might be interested, please share this post with them. Thank you! 



Hello, dear friends! We are both away at the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention and ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE) Workshop! We can’t wait to see many of you there and those who aren’t, we’ll miss you! We will be sure to put up an IMWAYR post next Monday for folks to link up, and then we will return on Monday, November 26! See you then!

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It has officially been 2 years since we launched Unleashing Readers!!

To celebrate our blogiversary, we thought it’d be fun to do some revisiting. Today we are going to visit with each other to learn more about our literary, educational, professional, and parental journeys! We each came up with a handful of questions, and we cannot wait to see how the other responds to them!


1. How has your job changed since you have become a reading coach?

The main goal of my job has not changed at all. I still work with students to help them find the books that they are going to connect with. The difference is found in the specifics. I no longer am teaching intensive reading (struggling readers). I coach and work with the other three reading teachers in my school. Each of those teacher’s students are allowed to come visit my classroom library where I try to work with each student who comes in to find the best book for them. In addition to continuing our struggling readers’ literacy growth, I am in charge of helping my reading teachers with instruction, interventions, and data analysis. Because of every course having an end-of-course exam, I am not able to do pull-out intervention anymore, so instead I work with the teachers to ensure interventions are being implemented in the classroom. 

In addition to coaching, I am still teaching my yearbook class, coaching Future Problem Solvers, and they added an advanced reading class for me last year. 

2. What are you aspirations for the next year of the blog?

I would really like to work on our Navigating Literary Elements pages and try to add even more than we did this week. I think it is so important for teachers to have a go-to place to help them decide which texts will best suit their needs.  I think it is essential to really flesh out these pages to make our blog even more of a resource for teachers. 

3. What is one special reading moment you’ve had with Trent?

Trent loves books! I am so glad that I began reading to him as early as I did because he knows how special books are. 

One of my favorite memories includes the book Fifteen Animals by Sandra Boynton. If you don’t know it, go listen to it here for free 🙂 

This is one of Trent’s go-to books (if you follow the blog, you know that he has a handful of favorites, and it is really tough to get him to read anything else; however, he loves those books so much!). We have read/sang this book probably a hundred times already.  One day, Trent grabbed it just as he usually does, but this time he began turning pages himself, pausing, and saying, “Bob, Bob, Bob” and other words/sounds as he read to himself. It was magical, so cute, and just wonderful. His first independent book of choice!

One of Trent's many times reading Fifteen Animals.

One of Trent’s many times reading Fifteen Animals.

4. What is your favorite teaching memory?

This one is the one that stumped me. I have so many amazing memories! I am going to share two recent wonderful things then probably my favorite collective teaching activity (this answer is going to be long!).  

My advanced reading class this year was not a class that students chose to be in. It ended up with 8 students who had no where else to be (plus 4 that did ask to be put in after the year started). This can make for quite a tough go of it because some of the students would have rather been in any other class next to a class where they were going to be forced to read. There was one student in particular that fought me most of the year. He is so smart, but didn’t always choose to work to his ability. He also was one of the few students (since I’ve started being an advocate for independent reading) who I could not get to read or grow a love of reading. He was tough. But then two things happened. 1) The Crossover; 2) A yearbook message. In May, he read The Crossover and he said to me that he now understood why people read independently. He connected so much with Josh and couldn’t stop talking about the book. Then, at the end of the school year, this student wrote in my yearbook one of the nicest messages that I’ve gotten. With the way we butted head, I would have never assumed that by the end of the year he would appreciate it. He thanked me for never giving up on him. 

This year also marked my third year of students graduating from high school. This graduating class is especially special because many of the students who graduated were in my class all three years of middle school (and many others for one or two years). I know a lot of the seniors. These students graduating also meant I could become Facebook friends with them! Many of these students are ones that I want to be in touch with for the rest of our lives, so as soon as they requested, I accepted. Last Monday, on my birthday, these new students wrote well wishes on my wall, but one stood out in particular: “Happy birthday to the greatest teacher I’ve ever had!!! Hope you have a wonderful day Mrs. Moye 😊” Wow! A student who graduated from an IB high school just said I was the greatest teacher she ever had. That really blew me away (and made me tear up). 

As for my favorite classroom memory, I love having students Skype with Eliot Schrefer and/or interview Ginny Rorby. This blows students’ minds because most of them have never interacted with an author. I think it is so important to have students learn about the process of writing, background for the books, and have a chance to ask questions that they have about the book. This is an experience unlike any they had have before. (Interviewing Ginny in addition to our Center for Great Apes field trip really is a special thing as well.)

Skyping this year and two years ago: 20150330_122700 

Phone interview two years ago: IMG_20130531_132742

5. What is one book that is special to you?


By far the most special book to me is The Giver. I remember reading it when I was 12 and having my mind blown. The Giver made me realize how lucky we were to have art, love, music, family, books, memories, etc. I looked at the world differently. These things weren’t something I should take for granted–they are something we are blessed to have as part of our life because it can be taken away by the snap of a government official’s finger.  Even now, as an adult, I cherish each of the things that Jonas didn’t have will all my heart. 


1. Can you tell us a bit about your doctorate program and what point you are at?

I am in the Curriculum and Instruction Department, and my focus is English Education. My long-term goal is to teach preservice teachers and conduct research in English Education. I am particularly interested in young adult literature and multicultural education. I just took my comprehensive exams and have moved from being a doctoral student to a PhD Candidate. Technically, this means that the doctoral student doesn’t need to take more classes, but I love taking classes, so I am going to enroll in at least two more courses. As long as my dissertation proposal passes, this upcoming year, I will be out in schools conducting my dissertation research. The following year, I hope to write up my research and defend my dissertation. If any bloggers/readers are interested in learning more about doctoral research, please don’t hesitate to contact me. It has been a really fun, life-altering ride for me. I absolutely love it. 

2. What teacher inspired you the most?

This is a two-part answer for me. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but my 8th grade language arts teacher (Mr. Goffin) urged me to teach English language arts instead of mathematics (my initial plan). He always pushed me to do my best in school, and I am forever grateful that he steered me in the English language arts direction.

My current doctoral advisor (Wendy Glenn) has this magic about her. She makes her students want to be incredible teachers. We always joked that we should buy bracelets that say “What Would Wendy Do?” When I was teaching high school, I often heard her voice in the back of my head. Specifically, she guided me to become more involved in the professional/research/service realm, and eventually, she planted the seed that I should consider going back to school for my doctoral degree. If you’ve met her at NCTE, ALAN, or elsewhere, you will know what I mean when I say that she has this way about her that makes people want to do better and be better.

3. What is one special reading moment you’ve had with Henry?

Before Henry was born, I was reading books to my belly. I ached for him to enjoy reading. Thank goodness, it seems he loves reading as much as my husband and I do. One of my favorite moments was before he was crawling. He barrel rolled across the living room floor because he wanted to be closer to the bookshelf to pull down a book to read. He is 18 months old now. Every day (multiple times a day), he walks up to me and holds out a book. I pull him into my lap, and we read together, and nothing else in the world seems to matter. 


4. What is a funny thing that Henry does?

Just one? That boy has me laughing all day long. When we eat dinner, he loves to “cheers” everyone’s glasses. If we are out at a restaurant, he holds out his sippy cup to people at other tables and often gets them to cheers glasses with him. He is a social butterfly. He learned how to kiss this week, and he can’t walk by our shiny fridge without kissing his reflection with a loud, “MWAH!”

5. What is a favorite book memory from childhood?

I know I did read books as a young child, but I don’t remember them at all. I most remember sitting on my grandfather’s lap as he blew smoke rings and told us Native American myths. He had a ruddy complexion and his red cheeks always stood out to me. That man wasn’t a people person, but he loved to tell stories. He was most happy when he was out at sea. My upper elementary school memories consist of me hiding books under the table and sneaking to my bedroom to read because I didn’t want to be social.

Make sure to check back tomorrow and Friday as we revisit two of our most popular posts and put a new spin on them!

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This has been a wonderful week filled with celebrations, reflections, and goals!

Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Posts in the First Year of Unleashing Readers

We look back at the past year and share our ten (+1) favorite posts.

Wednesday: Why Do We Blog?

Joined with our blogging friends, we tell why we love blogging.

Thursday: What We’ve Learned This Year

Reflecting on our first year, we share what we have learned about ourselves and blogging.

Friday: New Year’s Resolutions

What’s next?! We detail our plans for the upcoming year.

Please visit our anniversary posts and celebrate with us!

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Teachers Write

Teachers Write! is an online virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians who understand how important it is for people teaching writing to walk the walk.

My plans for Teachers Write: 

This summer, my friend Jennifer Fountain and I are working on writing a proposal for a education professional book about teaching struggling readers which is our passion. Our goal this summer is to finish the cover letter, the expanded outline, and a couple of sample chapters so that by the end of the summer we can present our proposal.

My summer writing recap so far: 

So far so good! However, does anyone else find that the summer is going so quickly! This is also my first summer trying to have a reading and writing goal and it is so hard to keep up with both of them. Also, when your reading is research, it goes much slower than reading for pleasure or even for review or a committee. Also, launching a new blog really eats into both!

Writing a proposal is a lot more work than I even imagined. The biggest challenge for us has been putting onto paper what we already understand in our brains. When writing the proposal, you have to remember that the editor or publisher reading it may not know certain things about education and you have to explain it. You can’t just say book pass or other terms; you have to explain them.

I’ve also found out that I really like the idea of co-authoring. I am truly enjoying working with Jenn. It is so nice to have someone to talk to about decisions, have someone to read your work, and someone to bounce ideas off of.  I also think that she keeps me on track which means I should be writing right now…


How is writing going for all of my Teachers Writes friends? Do you find it hard to keep up with writing and reading? How do you balance the two?

Happy writing!


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