Norman Bridwell on Clifford’s 50th birthday

Earlier this week, Scholastic celebrated Clifford the Big Red Dog’s 50th birthday with one big party! Norman Bridwell, the creator, writer, and illustrator of the Clifford series was on hand and Scholastic News Kid Reporter Dani Bergman Chudnow sat down with him to talk about the history of Clifford and how he was created. It’s a great interview, with lots of fun and surprising facts for Clifford fans of all ages. Check it out below!



In Our Feeds: authors who illustrate, literary fashion, and office dinosaurs!

Each Friday, we share a handful of links we found interesting, provocative, funny — or just plain cool. We call it In Our Feeds. Have a good weekend!

Let’s start the weekend with an inspirational story Alex found: Mary Gannon, a teacher at Harding Middle School teaches kids they can do anything they want to do. She was born without arms and learned to overcome he struggles to achieve her dream of teaching.

Continue reading In Our Feeds: authors who illustrate, literary fashion, and office dinosaurs!

Highlights from Education Nation 2012: Grit, early literacy, the Teacher Town Hall

NBC News hosted it’s third annual “Education Nation” summit earlier this week — held at the always-inspiring New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan. Interviews with President Obama and Gov. Romney naturally got a lot of the attention, but several of the panels (which had a “solutions” focus this year) where great. They’re all available on replay online, but I’ve posted a few of the highlights here.

Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams moderated a fascinating discussion about “grit” and the “growth mindset,” topics that are getting a lot of attention these days thanks to research by Carol Dweck of Stanford and Angela Duckworth of UPenn, and a recent book by Paul Tough called How Children Succeed.

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Continue reading Highlights from Education Nation 2012: Grit, early literacy, the Teacher Town Hall

A parent’s peek into Storia

Everyone is still talking about Storia, Scholastic’s free ereading app for kids and classrooms. Today we have Laura Murray, a fourth grade teacher from Paramus, New Jersey, who’s using Storia in her classroom for her second year running. (Neat!) However, today she’s here to talk about how she uses Storia at home with her daughter. Take a look:

“I’m sorry sweetheart, but you need to stop reading, turn off the light, and go to bed.”

I’m sure this is what most, if not all, parents would love to be saying to their children every night instead of struggling with them to get their nightly reading done for homework.  Some children love to read, but some would rather eat their lima beans than pick up a book and read.  Getting children to love reading and enjoy books are two of the most important goals in every home and in every classroom.  I know that because not only am I a mom of a three year old, but I am also a fourth grade teacher.  I have spent my days for the past ten years trying to devise ways to ignite the love of books and reading in my students, and outside of the classroom I try different ways to get my daughter to love books and reading as well.  I have had experiences in classrooms ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, and I know that kids who love to read do it well, and those who do not love it so much aren’t as great at it.  One of those two situations might sound familiar to you as a parent.

At a time in our not-so-distant past, reading was a widely enjoyed pastime.  Video games didn’t exist, cable television was a luxury, and iPads and iPhones were but a figment of Steve Jobs’ imagination.  Reading a book was an opportunity to have an adventure, solve a mystery, or learn about the galaxy or the fishes in the sea.  But a relentless tide of technological advancement has come at the expense of our children’s interest in books.  Luckily, there is a solution to this problem…Storia!

Continue reading A parent’s peek into Storia

A day in the life of Emily Elizabeth

Clifford prepares backstage for his birthday webcast!

As many of you know, Clifford the Big Red Dog celebrated a major birthday this week (he looks good for 50, doesn’t he?!). In honor of our favorite dog’s big day, we celebrated at Scholastic’s New York City headquarters with the biggest birthday party ever, complete with Clifford cupcakes, a live webcast with Norman Bridwell that we streamed to classrooms nationwide, and a humongous birthday banner that cascaded down the front of our building.

A longtime Clifford fan, I was honored when Billy DiMichele — our VP of Corporate Productions and Creative Services — asked me to play the part of Emily Elizabeth in the live webcast. (Plus, as a theater major, I was excited to take on my first role in over a year.) Last week, Dante provided an inside look at what it’s like to be the editor of Scholastic News Kids Press Corps; so, in that vein, I give you “A Day in the Life of Emily Elizabeth.”

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Your 4-week countdown to Taylor Swift has begun

In just under four weeks, Taylor Swift will be back here at Scholastic HQ, hosting a live classroom webcast all about reading. Scholastic’s webcasts have a long history of enticing kids with awesome content that focuses on literacy and learning, and considering the success of Taylor’s last webcast for us two years ago, there’s no doubt this one will be equally as influential!

The webcast will focus on the power of literacy and how books help shape us — about which, as one of the world’s most successful singer-songwriters, Taylor has a lot to say. Teachers, you must pre-register for this event in order to access it live. And parents and students, be sure to share the webcast news with your teacher to see if it’s appropriate for your own class!

In light of the four-week countdown, I thought I’d share the top four facts about Taylor Swift and reading. Ready?

Continue reading Your 4-week countdown to Taylor Swift has begun

Text Complexity: how to go from buzz words to best practices

With all the buzz around the Common Core State Standards we thought what better time to hear from one of our  fabulous authors. Wendy Murray from the Scholastic Teaching Resources team talks with Jennifer Serravallo to get some answers on teaching fiction and nonfiction.

The movers and shakers of the CCSS didn’t invent text complexity—we have Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and virtually all authors to thank for that—but the CCSS sure have put the topic on the front burner of reading instruction. What does it mean for classroom teachers, right here, right now, who want to put it into action? We turned to Jennifer Serravallo, a former teacher and staff developer, and bestselling author to get her take on how to turn up the heat on reading complex fiction. Continue reading Text Complexity: how to go from buzz words to best practices