• Welcome to Literacyhead!

    A Literacyhead is someone who is intensely serious about exercising creative literacy, making connections across multiple literacies, pursuing thoughtful literacy as an individual and as a teacher, and constantly searching for ideas. Literacyheads may have expertise in different areas of literacy, but all are committed to children's literacy, passionate about the arts, incessant thinkers, and display a propensity for having fun
  • What is Literacyhead?

    We wanted to help teachers nurture their creative lives while they meet the demands of high accountability to which they are subject. We saw that art naturally differentiates lessons leading to more student engagement and less time planning. We love children's books and art, and the connections between the two make us positively giddy.
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  • Vocabulary Lessons

    In our "Visual Vocabulary" we select five words from a featured book in our Reading Lessons and provide four images that illustrate the meaning of each word. In accordance with vocabulary research, three of the images are examples of the word's meaning and the last one is a "non-example." In addition, we present a definition simple enough for students to remember and really "get" what the word means.
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  • High-frequency Word Lessons

    Here we've created sets of images and discussion prompts designed to help you teach high-frequency words with visual art. Use the six images and accompanying sentences to make concrete connections to these abstract words. These lessons pair wonderfully with vocabulary words, reading lessons, and writing lessons.
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Our Blog

  • Recently, we encountered this three minute video essay by Daniel Pink that you should watch before reading the blog post that follows.  After watching this video essay, we had many thoughts, including, “Wow, this makes writing persuasive essay infinitely more interesting!” We imagined showing students this video and studying how Daniel Pink uses literary devices, [...]

  • Mr. Jones walked into the teacher’s workroom exasperated.  Throwing a stack of papers onto the table and speaking out loud to anybody who would listen, he said, “Can you believe this work?  These kids these days can’t write.” Sifting through the papers strewn about the table, another teacher chimed in, “I know exactly what you’re [...]

  • This time two years ago, the educational community was super-focused on becoming acquainted with the Common Core State Standards. We were exploring questions, such as what do the Common Core documents say? What do they mean? How are they different from the state standards we had before? We engaged ourselves with exercises to “unpack” and “unwrap” standards, as we [...]

  • Image from Wikipedia Commons Once again, Steve Peterson (Inside the Dog), Mary Lee Hahn (A Year of Reading), and I wrote a renga together. As I described this summer, I found our first experience writing a renga together challenging because the form is so tenuous and you don’t have that “aaahhh” feeling that comes when [...]

  • The allure of a fresh start makes back-to-school one of our favorite times of the year. With new students comes new perspectives and new ideas that infuse energy into our teaching. Recently, we have found ourselves thinking a lot about what it takes to create a classroom culture that supports teaching and learning, and much [...]

  • We love stories of children learning to read and write. While most of these accounts come from the teachers with whom we work and the professional books we read, we especially love when we find reading and writing stories in texts that aren’t specifically related to education.  Here are a few favorites to enjoy as [...]

  • In the Corn Field, Lars Plougmann (Wikipedia Commons) A few weeks ago, Steve Peterson approached Mary Lee Hahn and me (Jan) to see if we would participate in a collaborative poetry writing experience. After some research, he had selected the form, a renga, which he describes in this companion post on his lovely blog, Inside the Dog. [...]

  • No time to read? Listen to today’s post while you do something else!   Kate McCue, who we met in West Palm Beach’s Sun Sentinel on July 14,  is a 37 year old woman from San Francisco who was recently appointed captain of the Summit, a Celebrity Cruise megaship. When asked how she became interested [...]

  • In this hilarious video, George Costanza–who has just quit his job–talks about what he enjoys and the related jobs he would like to pursue. He finally decides that he should be a talk show host, and wonders how to do that.     Of course, becoming a talk show host as an adult would be [...]

  • “As is a tale, so is life. It is not how long it is, but how good it is that matters.” ~Seneca This is the time of year for finishing–across the country, students are finishing preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. While none of our sons have reached a traditional educational milestone [...]