Author Guest Post: “Play is Good Trouble” by Brittney Morris, Author of The Jump


“Play is Good Trouble”

“Speak up, speak out, get in the way. Get in good trouble. Necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” — Representative John Lewis.

I’m the mother of a [not so little anymore] toddler, and a video game developer. Play is a core part of my daily life, and I fully believe it has the power to change the world. How? A few ways. Let me elaborate.

Play fosters empathy.

If I asked you to empathize with a hypothetical border agent in 1940’s Eastern Europe, you might look at me sideways and maybe conceptualize the scenario from the perspective of an onlooker in the 21st century. Now, imagine if I handed you a controller, and you stepped into a checkpoint booth in loyal service to [fictional] Arstotzka. Now imagine that a woman steps up to your booth and hands you an expired passport and a necklace as a bribe, begging to be let through with her husband who asked you to let her in only moments prior. Imagine she tells you she’s sick and may never see him again. She may even be carrying a baby. You get the idea.

Play invites people in.

Remember the last time you sat down to listen to a speech or a presentation or a lecture on a new subject, and maybe you zoned out for a bit, looked up, and realized the speaker is now so far into the material that you’re totally lost? That might have been me on day 1 of macroeconomics my junior year of college. In fact it definitely was. Now, maybe if we’d all sat in groups and played a game of Settlers of Catan, basic macroeconomic concepts might have jumped out at us in a tangible way: resource management, supply and demand, scarcity, monopoly, the benefits of trade, and even opportunity cost. Even folks who are brand new to economics who might be intimidated by an hour-long 37-slide presentation, might feel a little more welcomed into playing a game about it.

Play makes big problems feel tackle-able.

For this last point, I’d like to cite my own source. Enter, The Jump.

I was inspired to write The Jump after seeing a mini docu-series about the Cicada 3301 cryptology puzzle, which was a real-life worldwide scavenger hunt posted by an elusive group under mysterious circumstances. While the Cicada 3301 puzzle hosted individual adults, I realized how impactful it would be to see teams of diverse teens taking on such a puzzle. And so was born The Jump, featuring Jax, Yas, Han, and Spider, taking on an oil refinery threatening to take over their neighborhood.

I wanted to show why an unethical multinational conglomerate should be VERY afraid of our youth, and even moreso if they’re getting into good trouble. Even by playing a game.

Published March 7, 2023 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
(Paperback Release: February 27th, 2024)

About the Book: Influence is power. Power creates change. And change is exactly what Team Jericho needs.

Jax, Yas, Spider, and Han are the four cornerstones of Team Jericho, the best scavenger hunting team in all of Seattle. Each has their own specialty: Jax, the puzzler; Yas, the parkourist; Spider, the hacker; and Han, the cartographer. But now with an oil refinery being built right in their backyard, each also has their own problems. Their families are at risk of losing their jobs, their communities, and their homes.

So when The Order, a mysterious vigilante organization, hijacks the scavenger hunting forum and concocts a puzzle of its own, promising a reward of influence, Team Jericho sees it as the chance of a lifetime. If they win this game, they could change their families’ fates and save the city they love so much. But with an opposing team hot on their heels, it’s going to take more than street smarts to outwit their rivals.

About the Author: Brittney Morris is the bestselling author of SLAY, The Cost of Knowing, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales – Wings of Fury, and The Jump. She also writes video games and has contributed to projects such as The Lost Legends of Redwall, Subnautica: Below ZeroSpider-Man 2 for PS5, and Wolverine for PS5. Brittney is an NAACP Image Award nominee, an ALA Black Caucus Youth Literary Award winner, and an Ignite Award Finalist. She has an economics degree from Boston University and spends her spare time reading, playing video games, and not doing enough yoga. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband Steven and their son Atlas.

Thank you, Brittney!
Adults often need to be reminded of the importance of play.

K-2 Teachers: Indigenous Peoples Day and Thanksgiving


My son’s phenomenal elementary school teacher, started the first week of school reading Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard. Children volunteered to share their tribal membership and lineage. They talked about family and what fry bread meant to them and their families. From the first day of school, I noticed the beauty of her instructional approach as she read different picture books aloud which invited the children to share their stories. She doesn’t limit books to designated months and is sharing year-round and her pedagogies are culturally sustaining in so many ways (but this is not the purpose of this post, so I’ll stop there).

Recently, two K-2 teachers asked me specifically: What can I do for Indigenous Peoples Day and Thanksgiving? These are two teachers who I didn’t need to say: first, don’t make this a single day or a month. They knew this. I shared with them some of the resources from good sources that I know, and I am sharing them here in case others find them useful. My expertise is in 6-12 teacher education, but I know others who do research/writing in this area or write books for K-2 (and beyond), and they are cited among the resources below. There are so many resources outside of this post, so if this is your first go at it, please don’t limit yourself to this post here. If you are grades 6-12, this is not really the post for you, and on another day, I might venture into recommendations for this age level, which I feel are even more bountiful (which include publications by some of the people cited on the list below, among other brilliant authors and scholars). If you are K-2 and have more suggestions, lay them out in the comments section.

First, I recommend Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza’s Tips for Teachers: Developing Instructional Materials about American Indians (which is K-12). This just offers grounding knowledge that is imperative. If you will read nothing else on this page, read this (and their two comments below the post, which include resources that primarily feature resources for grades 4 and up but are very good).

Indigenous Peoples Day

Every family celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day differently. With my relatives and (non-school) community, growing up, we most often talked about the truth about Columbus on this particular day because it was such a glaring holiday on our school calendar. Looking back, this centers Whiteness in many ways because we were so keenly focused on that day. But it was a reality for us as I would come home with worksheets from school coloring in his face. It is still celebrated as “Columbus Day” in the school district that I grew up in as a student. This made school very confusing to me, where Columbus was revered. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I felt like my relatives shifted to more of a Indigenous Peoples Day conception and celebration (although they have no problem talking about some of the absurdities of who is revered in holidays—such as Columbus). I don’t know if others celebrated it this way growing up, but this was my experience as a child in K-6.

When these K-2 teachers asked me how they might talk about Indigenous Peoples Day this coming Monday, I recommended that they start by ensuring that their 5- and 6-year-old students knew that Indigenous people are still alive. I know this feels like a basic thing, but young kids are often taught about Indigenous people as a thing in the past, and they don’t seem to connect this past and present connection at this age. The way Native Americans are depicted in history and books, they are frozen in time. If you want to show them that Indigenous people are not a thing of history, you could, for instance, show the Project 562 gallery or you could show this video of an elementary school which offers a bilingual Ojibwe program and bilingual Cree program. Celebrate famous Indigenous people in the news, sports, etc. today. These are quick suggestions, and I am sure others have more.

You might also talk with kids about the land that they live on. I like the Native Land Digital website a lot. This gets complicated because territories are a Western notion, but this site offers a starting point. You can talk about the nations that exist in your area and their present day issues (rather than solely focusing on historical) and look at the nations’ websites.

Native Knowledge 360 offers ideas for instruction (sortable by grade). Beyond the K-2 suggestions, you might offer a modified version of this project about environmental challenges for your students.

Focus on reading stories by Indigenous authors. The American Indian Youth Literature Award is a great place to start.


This holiday is associated with a lot of hard experiences for me—and the holiday is inextricably tied to experiences in my schooling. It is these schooling experiences that compelled me to decide to go into teaching. There’s a lot to unpack and it’s beyond this post, so instead, I can offer a brief list of don’ts for teaching: Thanksgiving plays/feasts, dressing up as Indians/Pilgrims, stereotypical images of Indians and pilgrims, Indian names (and while we are at it, spirit animals), Native American craft time, and paper headdresses or fake feathers.

When I was younger, we did a harvest dinner, and our family talked about what this day meant (and it wasn’t a happy pilgrims/Indians thing). As a starting point, Teaching Tolerance offers age-appropriate ideas for teachers, Oyate has a website about myths about Thanksgiving, and you might check out the blog post “Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?” There is also an “interactive historian” website that works against myths about the holiday.

For our family, when we sit down to dinner on that Thursday that is revered by many, we do take the time (and we do this every day) to talk about the food that we are eating and honoring where it came from; the land that we reside on and the original habitants and the cost at which it came to us; and those for whom we are grateful. Along this line, I especially recommend We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell. She has another book coming out in April 2021 that is available for pre-order.

I debated not writing this post because I am not a K-2 teacher, and I am not someone who specializes in representation. But I am a parent. And I was a K-2 child once, and this age carries a lot of weight for me, primarily because of how I struggled in school. When these teachers asked me for help, they asked me genuinely, and they were earnest in their goals of doing what is in the best interest of kids. If your expertise falls more in this area and you have recommendations, comment below. If you have questions, comment below. I’ll come back on another day with more 6-12 books, but as I noted, there are so many great resources in this area, that I felt it best to start with K-2.

Student Voices: Digital versus Traditional School by Nitya A. and Sarah W., 7th grade


Digital versus Traditional School by Nitya A. and Sarah W., 7th grade

Thoughts on Digital School:

Sleep: You definitely get more sleep because you don’t have a set time for class. This means you can wake up whenever it feels right for you and do your work whenever you want.Since you control what you do throughout the day and when you do it, you can move your schedule to get more sleep.

Disruptions: You won’t get disrupted as much. Instead there is a due date and the teachers give you more freedom to be productive on your own time and/or scheldule. This leads to more sleep, and a good look at self-control for future jobs/projects.

Engagement: Since you don’t have teachers to make you stay focused on what you are supposed to be doing in online school, you can become very lazy and not do work. When your work is due and you haven’t done it, it can be very stressful for some students. In online school, there is no one to enforce rules and tell you to stay focused so you can procrastinate a lot and not be very engaged in what you’re doing.

Flexibility: Since you don’t have a set schedule, you can change your schedule in any way you see fit as long as you complete your work. You have lots of flexibility when it comes to online school and when you do your work during it.

Time for extracurricular activities: You have more time for your extracurricular activities because you can choose when to do your work and when to do something else. Also if you finish your work early, you can use the time that was not used for school to do some other activity. Since you don’t have to sit in class for most of the day and limit the time you have for extracurricular activities, you can have more time to do other activities.Lastly, even if your extracurricular activities outside of home are canceled, you can still do other things inside of your home to keep active.                                    

Thoughts on Traditional School

Sleep: You will get less sleep because of the schedule for school. This is because when you have normal school, you have a set amount of time for each class and a set amount of time you are in school. Since you will most likely have homework for after school that may take up lots of time, sleep is also limited and you have less of it.

Disruptions: There will be quite a couple disruptions because you have so many breaks between classes and you might not be completely focused due to those “disruptions”. Since there are many disruptions and you aren’t focused on the task at hand but rather talking with your friends or something else, your grades, performance, and participation might drop drastically.

Engagement: Engagement may take a toll on many kids during online school because during normal school you are being watched over and teachers are making sure that you’re doing your work.

Flexibility: During normal school many kids don’t have a lot of flexibility during their day. They have to get ready to go to school, come home and go to their activities, then do their homework and go to bed only to do the same thing the next day. This means that students don’t have much room to change their schedule or be flexible.

Time for Extracurricular activities: During normal school there are many opportunities for Extracurricular activities. But for some this makes your schedule a lot tighter and harsh to manage. While others may miss all the excitement and activity going on whether it’s going to soccer practice or a ballet class.

Thank you, Nitya and Sarah, for comparing the two types of school from a students’ point of view!

Everywhere Book Fest


The Everywhere Book Fest, a virtual children’s lit festival available on May 1 and May 2,  is proud to announce an all-star group of speakers and panelists. Award-winning graphic novelist Gene Yuen Lang joins bestselling author Nic Stone to keynote for the inaugural festival. Other acclaimed speakers include Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, Meg Medina, Marie Lu, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Daniel José Older, Raúl the Third, Erin Entrada Kelly, Libba Bray, Linda Sue Park, Gail Carson Levine, Grace Lin, and more.

Streaming technology will make it possible for fans of children’s and young adult literature world-wide to ask questions at a number of live panels, just as they would at a traditional book festival. Live panels include a graphic novel drawing panel and an illustrators’ “doodle duel.” Other panels and speakers will be pre-recorded and available asynchronously. “With over 215 panel submissions, we were overwhelmed by the quality of the proposals,” says Christina Soontornvat, Everywhere Book Fest co-founder. “It made choosing the final line up incredibly difficult, but our panel selection team, led by author Kat Cho, did an incredible job. Our final program is full of panels that are fun, dynamic, important, and engaging.”  

The festival will be free and viewable from the Everywhere Book Fest website and YouTube channel. Follow Everywhere Book Fest on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay updated on announcements of exciting new panels, speakers, and more. Festival organizers encourage everyone to share using the hashtag #EverywhereBookFest. If you’d like to be an event sponsor or FMI please contact Ellen Oh at

The Everywhere Book Fest has received robust support from the kidlit publishing community. Monies raised from sponsorship will make the event free to participants; support livestream technology; provide viewers with access to dynamic panels with all-star, diverse speakers; fund ASL interpreters for live panels; and give books to readers in need through the nonprofit organization We Need Diverse Books. 

Publishers who have pledged their support include: Abrams, Candlewick, Chronicle, HarperCollins, Levine Querido, Little Brown, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and GooglePlay are also funding the effort.

Arthur Levine, Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief of Levine Querido, said, “One of the cornerstones of our publishing philosophy at LQ is that great stories, great art comes from everywhere. It isn’t located in one community, one part of the country, one part of the world. We are so grateful … for the opportunity to let our authors inspire readers, writers, artists, librarians, booksellers, teachers, and kids, wherever they might be right now.”

“[Everywhere Book Fest] is giving children an opportunity to stay personally engaged in reading the books they love,” said SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver. “Especially in this time of isolation and fear, the children’s book community once again rises to the occasion, reaching out to our audience to show our most human face.”

About Everywhere Book Fest: Founded by authors Melanie Conklin, Ellen Oh, and Christina Soontornvat, the aim of Everywhere Book Fest is to bring the celebration and joy of the book festival experience directly into the homes of readers everywhere. Everywhere Book Fest will direct online sales to independent bookstores, particularly those hard hit by the event cancellations. The festival has partnered with We Need Diverse Books to distribute books to schools, libraries and community-based literacy programs in need around the country. 

Here is a list of all of the authors who will be presenting virtually at the festival: Abigail Hing Wen, Adam Rex, Aida Salazar, Aiden Thomas, Amerie, Amy Alznauer, Andrew Eliopulos, Anna-Marie McLemore, Anne Bustard, Anne Nesbet, Annette Bay Pimentel, Ashima Shiraishi, Bethany C. Morrow, Brandy Colbert, Carole Lindstrom, Chloe Bristol, Christina Soontornvat, Chirstine Lynn Herman, Claribel A. Ortega, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Daniel José Older, Daniel Miyares, Daniel Nayeri, Danielle Page, Debbi Michiko Florence, Donna Barba Higuera, Ellen Oh, Erin Entrada Kelly, Erin Yun, Ernesto Cisneros, Gabby Rivera, Gail Carson Levine, Gene Luen Yang, Gina Klawitter, Grace Lin, I.W. Gregorio, Isabel Sterlin, Ismée Williams, J. Anderson Coats, Jacqueline Woodson, Janella Angeles, Jason Reynolds, Jennifer Baker, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, Jennifer Li Shotz, Jessica Kim, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Juana Martinez-Neal, Kamen Edwards, Karen Strong, Karin Yan Glaser, Karyn Parsons, Kat Cho, Katy Rose Pool, Kayla Miller, Kelly Yang, Kim Hyun Sook, Kwame Mbalia, Liara Tamani, Libba Bray, Linda Sue Park, Lisa Brown, Mae Respicio, Mahogany L. Browne, Marcie Colleen, Marie Lu, Max Brallier, Mayra Cuevas, Meg Medina, Melanie Conklin, Michaela Goada, Mike Jung, Molly Idle, Natalia Sylvester, Nathan Hale, Ngozi Ukazu, Nic Stone, Raúl the Third, Ray Jayawardhana, Remy Lai, Renée Watson, Robin Ha, Roseanne A. Brown, Samira Ahmed, Sarah Allen, Sarah Mlynowski, Sayantani DasGupta, Shannon Wright, Somaiya Daud, Stuart Gibbs, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Swati Teerdhala, Teri Kanefield, Tom Lichtenheld, Tonya Bolden, Vashti Harrison, and Yamile Saied Méndez.

Hope to “see” you there!


Teaching Tuesday: Online Tools Recommended for Digital Teaching


Most school districts have moved completely to digital learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, so I wanted to share some of mine, and my colleagues’, favorite online tools since we’ve been 1:1 for quite a few years now.

Gimkit is a gamification system created by a high school student. He loved the games in class but his teachers didn’t use them very often, so he interviewed his teachers to find out what would help them want to use a gaming system in their classrooms, and VOILA! He created Gimkit based on their suggestions. I love Gimkit and so do my students.

I use Canva in my personal life and in my classroom. Canva allows you to create posters, flyers, infographics, etc. In my classroom, I’ve had students create book recommendation flyers and infographics. A new feature that Canva has that I cannot wait to try out is Story Boards! This tool would allow for a sequenced creation for so many different classes.
YouTube: What is Edpuzzle?

EDPuzzle allows educators to make interactive videos. The videos can be filmed or an external video can be used. Then throughout the video, you can add check ins, quizzes, etc. for students to complete. Also, you receive a report of who has and has not completed the video and data of how they did on the check ins.
YouTube: Screencastify Overview

Screencastify allows you to record your screen with audio or video of yourself.

Quizizz allows educators to create a quiz or pick from an already created quiz for many different subjects. The quizzes are student-paced yet still a gamification system.
YouTube: What is Nearpod?

Nearpod takes a PowerPoint and moves it to the next level! Create or upload a presentation and add many different options such as videos, quizzes, images, drawing boards, web content, activities, etc.

Quizlet is a study tool that allows educators and students create study guides and flashcards. With each set, there are study games like matching, tests, and educators can even assign a game called Quizlet Live.
YouTube: Getting Started with Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a website where videos are the discussions and assignments. Teachers create grids to allow for video discussions. The grids have topics and students create videos to reply to the topic.
YouTube: How Pear Deck Works

Pear Deck makes any Google Slide or PowerPoint presentation interactive and allows students to see the presentation on their own device. AND it pairs directly with Google Drive.
YouTube: Sutori in Under a Minute

Sutori has so many uses! Students can create timelines or stories collaboratively or individually, teachers can created to share as a lesson, or teachers can create assignment templates for students to complete. This is the tool that my students used to create their interactive timeline about the fight for equal rights in America.
YouTube: Introduction to Padlet

Padlet is like an interactive bulletin board! It has multiple ways it can be set up and can include likes or responses if the moderator wants it to. Padlet is what my class used to discuss focus questions when they were reading the same book as another class in a different state

Any other digital tools you find super useful you want to share?
And good luck for the rest of the year! 



Ricki’s Reflection: Drawbacks of Homeschooling for My Child


I don’t believe in homeschooling for my children. That’s not to say that I don’t believe it is appropriate for other people’s children, but it isn’t right for mine. Does my child advance academically when I have one-on-one time? Yes! Homeschooling has been beneficial in several ways. I’m finally teaching my son to slow down and take care in his writing. I am able to give him individualized attention. Yet there is some things that are missing for me, and I feel a great sense of loss that he is going to be missing three months of his kindergarten year in a public school. I’ll admit that I am mourning this loss for him.

Shared Experience with Same-Age Peers

I am not a person who believes in worksheets. I constantly think about how we can learn from nature and the world without traditional assignments. And we do these lessons together. Yet in the early primary years, I see the value of some worksheet-like/activity book assignments. Students are able to practice writing and learn skills that help them with more advanced work. I am able to pull out a journal and ask my son to write because I know that he has the basic concepts of writing down. We are completing the worksheets that his (amazing) teacher has provided, and they are helping him. But there is something lost in the experience when it is just him and me (and his brothers). He isn’t able to sit beside his peers who he has grown to love and watch them complete the work, too. Instead, he sits at our kitchen table and dutifully completes the work next to me. Yet he lacks the life that he has that I’ve seen when I volunteer in the classroom. He isn’t beside his friends—in it together.

Group Work

I can put my son with his brother and ask them to complete a group mission/project, yet it is his brother. There is a certain dynamic between brothers that is not the same as putting my son with a peer he doesn’t know well. He isn’t able to negotiate group roles in the same way that he would with a peer of the same age and who is less familiar. He isn’t about to talk to someone at his age and ability level who can work towards a solution. Instead, my choices are: a) allow him to work independently with minimal assistance to build up his ability/confidence (this is not group work, though), b) work with him and try to be similar to a peer (disingenuous, and he knows it), c) allow him to work with his brother (different age and dynamic as a peer). We’ve been participating in a virtual book club which captures this need in some ways, but there is something that is lost that just can’t quite be replicated in the homeschooling experience.

Varied Work and Varied Passions

There are things that I value in education. For instance, I love to have students make predictions when they read. I feel that this builds their capacity to engage in creative writing of their own. Another first grade teacher might have students make predictions but might value a different skill that is entirely different. In another example, I’ve worked hard with my son to learn place value and addition. His kindergarten teacher has been teaching the kids to count by 2s, 5s, 7s, etc. This is such a great skill that will help them with multiplication, yet I never thought too hard about how often I should be doing it with him until he came home with a lot of work that engaged in this concept. I love the fact that my son will have dozens of different teachers who all value different things. Instead of him learning what I, his mom (who happens to be an educator) value, he will get a smattering of values. He might learn from a teacher’s love of art history or engage in a critical reading of body image or learn to create advertisements or learn euphemisms. And as long as the teacher brings passion and energy to the teaching of the material (as teachers do), I am thrilled that he will learn from so many others and not just me.

The Magic of a Classroom

I’ve visited over a hundred different classrooms as a teacher educator. Every classroom has been different, and they’ve all had a touch of magic specific to that teacher. The ways in which kids move around a room independently of their parents and develop an identity outside of their families—that just can’t be matched in another setting. I can bring my son to his sports activities, art class, etc. and drop him off and can operate in that space for an hour or so. Yet there is nothing like a sustained space in which my son can grow in ways independent of me. The buzz of a school just invigorates me, and I hope that it will do the same for my child.

Mom as Teacher

I cannot count how many times that a parent told me, as the English teacher, “My son would never have done that for me.” I feel that there is value to having a sustained figure who is not me who teaches my son. I can do everything in my power to support him in that work at home, yet I have to be honest with myself that my child will learn best from others.

Social Interactions

I don’t care how many dozens of activities that my son did before he entered kindergarten. There was nothing quite the same as the lessons he’s learned socially in this first year of elementary school. He’s learned what it means not to be picked for something. He’s learned what it means to have friends choose others for partners. He’s learned the excitement of being chosen by a child to eat lunch with their parents. He’s learned to negotiate relationships with children who are mean or cruel. Without school and being around the same kids in a classroom for long periods of time, I don’t know if he would gain this. He has neighbors that he plays with daily, yet something is different in the 8-hour day of school.

Do I think homeschooling is bad for all kids? Absolutely not. I know some parents who homeschool will read this post and disagree with me, and that is okay! That is why we all can choose to educate our children. There is value in homeschooling—I can individualize instruction and we can move through work at his speed. I am a person who has a lot of opinions as a teacher educator, and I certainly have ideas of how I’d like my son to learn and be taught (and I am aware that he will not always have a teacher who matches those ideals). Yet the benefits of homeschooling simply don’t outweigh the loss that I feel my son experiences when he is not in a public school classroom.

Teaching Thursday: Book in a Bag


Typically, our teaching-related posts fall on Tuesdays, but today I feel inspired, so it’s Teaching Thursday! I can’t say enough good things about my son’s kindergarten teacher. She’s so good at her job that she inspires me regularly. Whenever I volunteer in the class, I am fascinated with the ways in which literacy instruction is similar and different for kindergarten.

One of the things she does is called “book in a bag.” All of the kindergarten team uses this method/idea and maybe this is an idea that is common for this age level, but it makes my son very happy, so I thought I’d blog about it from a parent’s perspective! The children each have a bag that is labeled with their name. They bring home a book to read in the bag. Their job is to reread it as many times as they need until they can master the book. The teacher stressed that this should be fun. If the children get frustrated or aren’t having fun, then the program is not serving its purpose.

This is what I love about my son’s kindergarten teacher. She has them doing data analysis on mittens and gloves and she makes learning fun for my son. He looks forward to going to school every day. For me, this is what I want for him—I want him to love school as much as I do. Also, this is differentiation!

So my son excitedly brings home his book and slowly reveals it from his backpack for the whole family to see his next book before dinner. He taps at the door when I am feeding his baby brother and whispers, “Can I read my book in the bag to my baby brother? He’s the only one who hasn’t heard me read it yet.” And he holds up the book to us as he reads it, so we all can see the pictures. The repetition is helping him, and this is rereading at its best. So before we hop into bed to read, he pulls out his book one last time for the day to practice the words and to proudly show off his reading skills. As a parent, I love how happy this makes my kid, and the ownership feels with his book makes him enjoy reading even more. <3