Lenawee Literacy

Click the expandable blocks below for National Reading Month resources.

March is Reading Month!

Resources for Parents

  • LISD Family Read Alouds and Activities - Join us each Tuesday in March from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the CEMaT Library (Porter Center, 2946 Sutton Rd., Adrian) to enjoy read alouds, book talks, and fun activities. These events are open to families with Y5 - 3rd grade learners (younger siblings also welcome). Leave with a book from our "Free Little Book Fair" and tips you can use at home with your child to encourage life-long reading.
  • A Guide to Reading Aloud with Children - This handout describes best practices and ideas for parents when reading aloud with their children, birth through elementary school. This handout will also be available at the LISD Read Alouds.
  • Lenawee Imagination Library - Have a new, age-appropriate book delivered every month for Lenawee children age birth-5 at no cost.
  • Reading Rockets - This site has lots of learning games and activities for children. Parents, teachers, and other adults can access instructional videos, a blog, PBS TV programs, and vidoes to guide them in helping children learn to read.
  • Reading is Fundamental - This site is known for providing (free) books to families who need them, presents games, interactive stories, songs, and book recommendations for kids up to age 12 and their families, including bilingual activities.
  • Scholastic for Parents - known for their classroom book clubs and book fairs, Scholastic also offers blog posts, activities, book lists, and more literacy-based resources for parents.
  • Read by Grade Three Parent Toolkit - an early literacy toolkit from the Michigan Department of Education related to the new Third Grade Reading Law.

Resources for Educators

  • K-5 Educator Book Study - Facilitated by Ruth Benge, LISD Early Literacy Coach. Every Wednesday in March, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the CEMaT Library.
  • 6-12 Educator Book Study - Facilitated by Amanda Morris, LISD K-12 Literacy Consultant/Facilitator. Every Thursday in March, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the CEMaT Library.
  • NEA's Read Across America - Why focus only on one month? NEA offers literacy resources for your classroom throughout the year.

Weekly Read Aloud Resources

Week of March 4 - Embracing Your Unique You

Week of March 11 - Finding Your Self Control

Week of March 18 - Courage to Follow Your Dreams

Reading Month Featured Author - Grades 9-12

Randy Ribay

Randy writes young adult novels and teaches high school English. He was born in the Philippines but grew up in Michigan and Colorado. 

Notable Titles

Patron Saints of Nothing (2019) 

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth -- and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

After the Shot Drops (2018)

Bunny and Nasir have been best friends forever, but when Bunny accepts an athletic scholarship across town, Nasir feels betrayed. While Bunny tries to fit in with his new, privileged peers, Nasir spends more time with his cousin, Wallace, who is being evicted. Nasir can't help but wonder why the neighborhood is falling over itself to help Bunny when Wallace is in trouble.

When Wallace makes a bet against Bunny, Nasir is faced with an impossible decision—maybe a dangerous one.  

Told from alternating perspectives, After the Shot Drops is a heart-pounding story about the responsibilities of great talent and the importance of compassion.

An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes (2015)

As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends united by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie tries to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari considers an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante works up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam clings to a failing relationship. When the four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve one of their problems--and to avoid the others--the journey tests their friendship and they quickly realize that real life is no game.

Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa's Rashoman, An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out together.

Reading Month Featured Author - Grades 5-8

Sharon Draper

Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Awards, and is a New York Times bestselling author.

Notable Titles

Blended (2018)

Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.

Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?

It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

Stella By Starlight (2016)

When the Ku Klux Klan’s unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella’s segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this New York Times bestselling Depression-era “novel that soars” (The New York Times Book Review) that School Library Journal called “storytelling at its finest” in a starred review.

Stella lives in the segregated South—in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community—her world—is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.

Out of My Mind (2012)

Eleven-year-old Melody is not like most people. She can’t walk. She can’t talk. She can’t write. All because she has cerebral palsy. But she also has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, but NO ONE knows it. Most people—her teachers, her doctors, her classmates—dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can’t tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by her disability. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.


Reading Month Featured Author - Grades K-4

Laurie Keller

Laurie Keller is an acclaimed author-illustrator who grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, and always loved to draw, paint, and write stories. She earned a B.F.A. at Kendall College of Art and Design, then worked at Hallmark as a greeting card illustrator for seven-and-a-half years, until one night she got an idea for a children’s book. She quit her job, moved to New York City, and soon had published her first book.

Notable Titles

Potato Pants (2018)

Potato is excited because today―for one day only― Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants Store is selling . . .POTATO PANTS! Potato rushes over early, but just as he’s about to walk in, something makes him stop. What could it be? Find out in this one-of-a-kind story about misunderstandings and forgiveness, and―of course―Potato Pants!

Arnie the Donut (2016)

Arnie was fascinated as he watched the customers stream into the bakery. One by one, doughnuts were chosen, placed in paper bags, and whisked away with their new owners. Some went by the dozen in giant boxes. "Good-bye!" Arnie yelled to each doughnut. "Have a good trip!" 

This is so exciting!" Arnie beamed. "I wonder who will choose ME?"

At first glance, Arnie looks like an average doughnut―round, cakey, with a hole in the middle, iced and sprinkled. He was made by one of the best bakeries in town, and admittedly his sprinkles are candy-colored. Still, a doughnut is just a doughnut, right?

WRONG! Not if Arnie has anything to say about it. And, for a doughnut, he sure seems to have an awful lot to say. Can Arnie change the fate of all doughnuts―or at least have a hand in his own future? Well, you'll just have to read this funny story and find out for yourself.

We Are Growing (2016)

 Walt and his friends are growing up fast! Everyone is something-est. But . . . what about Walt? He is not the tallest, or the curliest, or the silliest. He is not the anything-est! As a BIG surprise inches closer, Walt discovers something special of his own!

Do Unto Otter:  Book about Manners (2009)

"Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you."―Socrates (the Greek philosopher), circa 470-399 B.C.

Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are Otters. OTTERS! But he doesn't know anything about otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you'd like them to treat you, advises Mr. Owl.

In her smart, playful style Laurie Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor―simply follow the Golden Rule! This title has Common Core connections.

Reading Month Featured Author - Pre-K

Michaël Escoffier

Michael was born in France in 1970. Growing up, he discovered his passion for making up stories at a young age. Michael has written over fifty books and divides his time between writing, teaching, and being a dad. He lives in Lyon, France, with his wife and two children.

Notable Titles

Beware of Monster (2018)

Can a monster ever eat too much?

Wolves, ogres, and giants have always populated children’s books. That little bit of fear that they inspire is what makes storytime so exciting. In this book, young children are introduced to a ravenous monster that eats everything in its path. Apples, leaves, trees, and even cows don’t stand a chance as he plows his way through the woods satisfying his enormous appetite.

Who will his next victim be? Be careful! His favorite dish is little children! But don’t worry. The surprise ending will make children sigh with relief―and laugh out loud.

Filled with humor and just the right amount of scariness, this book speaks directly to the child with comments, warnings, and asides on every page. Giggle-inducing lines such as “I think you’d better hide” and “Here he comes! Close the book!” place the child right in the story. Energetic, colorful illustrations complete this funny book for very young children.

Take Away the A (2014) 

Take Away the A is a fun, imaginative romp through the alphabet. The idea behind the book is that within every language there are words that change and become a different word through the simple subtraction of a single letter. In other words, without the "A," the Beast is Best. Or, without the "M," a chomp becomes a chop—though it could be that this particular play on words didn't even make it into the book, there are so many! We certainly don't want to give too much away. . . . Now, take a look and find some more! Discovering all of the words in the book is a lot of fun, and then there's the wild, exciting adventure that follows, of trying to find more!

Brief Thief (2013) 

Witty, humorous illustrations of great charm tell this story of conscience and mistaken identity as thoroughly as the book's delightful text. Here a lizard takes the liberty of using what seem to be some old underpants when he runs out of toilet paper. What he doesn't count on is that his own conscience and an outraged rabbit will be watching.

Lenawee Literacy Team

Amanda Morris

Curriculum Consultant
517-266-6983 | amanda.morris@lisd.us

  • K-12 Literacy Consultant and Facilitator
  • Provides job-embedded professional learning in the areas of literacy and GELN's Essential Practices
  • Facilitator of the Lenawee District Coaches Network
  • Chair of the Cradle to Career Reading by Third Grade Network

Cradle to Career Reading by 3rd Grade Network

Ruth Benge

K-3 Early Literacy Coach
517-266-1638 | ruth.benge@lisd.us

  • Provides job-embedded professional learning in the areas of literacy and GELN's Essential Practices


The Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy

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#MichiganLiteracy - Every Child, Every Classroom, Every Day!

The purpose of the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy documents is to increase Michigan’s capacity to improve children’s literacy by identifying a small set of research supported literacy instructional practices that could be a focus of professional development throughout the state. The focus of the document is on classroom practices, rather than on school- or systems-level practices (which will be addressed in a future document).

View the Essential Practices

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There are lots of exciting literacy opportunities around Lenawee County.  Please check back here each month for a monthly update.