• 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

  • Oh, sweet Washington, DC.  That was a great conference. While the sessions and the learning were inspiring, most inspiring of all were the connections.   On Friday, To Make a Prairie blogger and co-author of What Readers Really Do, Vicki Vinton, gathered together some of our favorite teachers/thinkers/fellow bloggers to present a session titled It’s Not [...]

  • We’ve been reading and studying Time journalist Amanda Ripley’s fascinating book The Smartest Kids in the World and How they Got that Way.  In this book, Ripley investigates schooling in three educationally high performing nations: Finland, Korea, and Poland.  In addition to carefully parsing apart the data revealed by the Program for International Student Achievement [...]

  • When the Common Core Standards were released, “close reading” was a nebulous term that left many not only seeking to better understand what it was and how it served children, but also wondering what it looked like in the classroom. Because discussions of the Common Core Standards placed such emphasis on close reading and most [...]

  • By the time students reach fourth- and fifth-grades, certain writing “basics”–capitalizing proper nouns and the first word of a sentence, indenting paragraphs, using details to develop ideas–have been taught for years. However, many students are slow to “own” these basics, leaving teachers dismayed and wondering how to best use their already limited instructional time for [...]

  • Those of you who know us personally or follow us on social media know that the last few months have been filled with the emotional highs and lows that come along with writing and finishing a book. However, those of you who know us exclusively through this space probably know very little about Reading Wellness, [...]

  • We are constantly on the look out for beginning reading material that gives young readers substantial work with meaning. Unfortunately, too many of the beginning reading texts available offer minimal opportunities to think deeply. As finding texts worth rereading is essential to teaching students to read closely and carefully, the quality of beginning reading texts [...]

  • As publishers continue to flood the market with “Common Core” aligned materials, the task of sifting through and weeding out the good from the bad becomes increasingly more difficult. Educators are particularly concerned about which materials to purchase to support students’ ability to read “closely and carefully.” In response to this growing concern, we offer [...]

  • One of our first efforts to write about the Common Core State Standards involved looking closely at the research behind the author’s suggestion that students should spend their time in frustration-level texts. From analyzing the research a couple of years ago to speculating on the use of the term “frustration” more recently, the ongoing national [...]

  • 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. [...]