• 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

  • On Tuesday, when we first posed the question “Has close reading gone amok?” we shared some of the “close reading” tasks we found in the workbooks Kim’s sons are using this year to learn to “read closely and carefully.”  Here are a few excerpts: Reread lines 27-44.  In the margin, make an inference about how [...]

  • Social media response to the posts we write and share on this blog help us to keep our finger on the pulse of what really matters to educators. So, when Reading Today recently released its “What’s Hot” list, it didn’t surprise us that “Close reading/deep reading” ranked as one of the hottest topics in literacy. [...]

  • In October 2012, we reviewed several texts useful in helping students engage with complex texts. These professional resources predated the Common Core, yet seemed to address many of the themes educators were discussing in relationship to the new standards. Books, such as  Janet Allen’s On the Same Page, Peter Johnston’s Opening Minds, Kelly Gallagher’s Deeper Reading, and [...]

  • In our recent article, “Break through the frustation: Balance vs. all-or-none thinking,” which has just come out in the September/October issue of Reading Today, we make a case for considering the big picture of your literacy instruction and varying the level of student texts for different instructional contexts. In the same issue of Reading Today, Timothy Shanahan makes an [...]

  • As the first bell of the new school year rings, both teachers and students walk tentatively through the doorway. Breathing in the scent of newly waxed floors, they hug blank notebooks to their chests and proceed to classrooms with impeccably scrubbed whiteboards. They wonder. What kind of year will this be?   Recently, Kim’s children [...]

  • Once again, we offer you a piece from Fran Haley, a literacy coach in Wake County, North Carolina. Last week, we shared Part I of her guest series on teaching writing. This week, she takes us even deeper into the heart of writing. “When you write a memoir, you aren’t writing about your entire ten [...]

  • For the last couple of years, we have connected with Fran Haley, a K-12 ELA educator and literacy coach at a Title I school in North Carolina, via Twitter and some in-person conversations at PD we have facilitated in Wake County. She has a wise soul and her insightful perspective prompts us to think more [...]

  • Last year, as the Common Core state standards were implemented in full-force by schools across the country, “close reading” of “complex text” became the focus of many educators.  In fact, as teachers aimed to amp up their instruction to align with the standards, they labored over text selection wondering if their choices were worthy of [...]

  • Between us, we have six sons and they all LOVE Legos. In the process of organizing for back-to-school–something of a “fall-cleaning” ritual–Jan asked her six-year-old, Victor, to sort through his gigantic box of random Legos and remove anything extraneous. The box had become something of a dumping ground for any small object. After some protest [...]

  •   On Father’s Day morning, Kim decided to go for a bicycle ride.  As a cycling enthusiast, this decision was not out of the ordinary for her.  She tries to fit in a fifteen mile ride most days of the week and, when she has more time, she likes to ride even longer. On Father’s [...]