Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Help Me Create A Series Of Lessons On “Reading As An Act Of Rebellion” (Or Let Me Know If You Have One Already)

Today’s New York Times has a column headlined Books Can Take You Places Donald Trump Doesn’t Want You to Go.

I don’t think it’s particularly good – it’s more of an example of how to use a lot of words to sound fancy without having much substance. But it did remind me of a study that showed students were more likely to eat healthy foods if they viewed it as an act of rebellion against the food industry (see Study: Teens are more likely to eat healthy if they think it’s rebellious).

So I began to wonder if it couldn’t hurt to do a series of lessons on reading as an act of rebellion…

Obviously, excerpts from Fahrenheit 451 could be used. There are lots of online resources about real-life book burning (here’s a timeline a series of photos and a history of book burning).

I found this article in The Guardian: Reading the revolution: the book club that terrified the Angolan regime.

Of course, The Best Resources For Banned Books Week could be used, too.

I figure someone must have already created this kind of lesson, and I’m hoping you’ll read this post and share it in the comments.

I’m not thinking that it would have some kind of dramatic impact on a non-reader, but I also don’t think anything bad could come out of it.

It seems to me that Anne Frank (The Best Sites To Learn About Anne Frank) provides a ready template for a similar series on writing, but I’d also like to hear ideas on that, too…

December 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New PBS News Hour Video: “This graphic novelist and reading ambassador tells kids to reach beyond their comfort zone”

The PBS News Hour just ran this segment.

Here’s how they describe it:

Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang wrestled with his identity growing up, but he’s made the Chinese-American experience one of the main subjects of his critically acclaimed work. One of this year’s MacArthur Fellowship winners and the national ambassador for young people’s literature, Yang sits down with Jeffrey Brown to discuss his childhood, his love of coding and the feeling of being an outsider.

December 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On “The Danger Of A Single Story”


Many readers are probably familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger Of A Single Story.” If not, I’ve embedded it below:

Over the years, I’ve shared other related resources, and I thought it would be useful to bring them all together in one place.

They include:

TED-Ed has a fairly good lesson using her Talk. It’s definitely worth exploring…

The importance of who is telling the story is a critical one in history, broader social change, and education. Of course, in IB Theory of Knowledge, the idea of who is telling the story in in history an important part of the course.

The late Chinua Achebe who, in an interview where he spoke about “the danger of not having your own stories,” said:


David B. Cohen and I led a workshop on the topic a few years back as it relates to education policy, and David wrote two posts on the idea: “The Danger of a Single Story” Part One and Part Two.

Tell a different story about Santa this holiday season is by Peggy Albers.

You might also be interested in an article I wrote for The New York Times Learning Network a few years ago called English Language Learners and the Power of Personal Stories, as well as Students Remember More When They Tell Stories.

Black History Month & the Danger of a Single Story is from The Morningside Center.

November 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Big Bang Theory Shows (Sort Of) How Close Reading Is Supposed To Work

English teacher and author extraordinaire Jim Burke shared this video on Twitter.

The clip shows (minus the peer insults) how close reading might work in a perfect world.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Close Reading” — Help Me Find More.

September 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Very Good Interview With Literacy Expert Tim Shanahan

You’ll definitely want to read an interview Doug Lemov recently did with literacy expert Tim Shanahan, A Few Minutes With Literacy Expert Tim Shanahan.

Though you’ll want to read the entire piece, the section on reading strategies was clearly the most valuable part – at least, to me.

Here’s an excerpt:


I’ve shared other pieces by Shanahan in the past, and you can see those posts here.

I’m adding info on this new interview to The Best Posts On Reading Strategies & Comprehension – Help Me Find More!

August 31, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Which Is Best – Reading Digitally Or Reading Paper?


More and more attention is being paid to the advantages and disadvantages of reading digital texts compared to texts on paper.

Here is a beginning list of articles exploring this question. Please feel free to contribute more:

I ran a two-part series on this question at my Education Week Teacher column:

* Reading Digitally vs. Reading Paper

Daniel Willingham, Kristin Ziemke, Lester Laminack and Kimberly Carraway explore that topic of reading digitally compared to reading on paper in this post.

* ‘Children Need Both Paper Books & Digital Texts’

Katie Keier, Stacy Nockowitz, Barbara Paciotti and many readers share their thoughts on the debate between reading digitally or on paper.

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens is from Scientific American.

Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren’t the same thing is from PRI.

Books vs. e-books: The science behind the best way to read is from CBS News.

Why Digital Reading Is No Substitute for Print is from The New Republic.

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. is from The Washington Post.

The case against e-readers: Why reading paper books is better for your mind. is from The Washington Post.

Another Tech Tool Claims To Make Online Text More Accessible

I’m adding this post to My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.

August 14, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Create Virtual Classrooms With “Awesome Stories” – Plus Students Can Write For An Authentic Audience


I’ve written a number of posts over the years Awesome Stories, the excellent site for free accessible student content on many topics.

Now, for an annual fee of $59, teachers can create virtual classrooms using the site and monitor student progress. That’s nice, though a feature that goes along with that is the one I particularly like – the ability for students (and teachers) to create their own “stories” that can then become part of the site’s content. You can’t beat having an authentic audience for student motivation!

The process to create those stories seems workable for students, though it would be nicer if it was a little more simple – I get wary of anything that requires a ten minute instruction video. But, as I said, it seems like students could figure it out.

Of course, reading the site’s content remains free to everybody.

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

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