Miscellany

The Two Hour Dragon

It’s a good title for a children’s story, don’t you think?  It would go something like this… One morning at school, the art teacher passed the word: “The dragon just might be ready by this afternoon.” As every good school knows, dragon parade opportunities come but once a year: Chinese New Year in February. It’s … Continue reading

Miscellany

A Poem a Day

  When he was poet laureate, Billy Collins created “Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry.” It’s an anthology of “contemporary poems,” enough for one on each school day (with a few to spare, in our case). His goal was to freshen up the perception of poetry by collecting new voices and varied topics, have … Continue reading

Miscellany

The Great Books

Epic literature comes in unexpected packages. We forget that all the rules of the greatest books also apply to children’s literature, so-called…and that children need great literature. “Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play,” says Philip Pullman, author of The … Continue reading

Miscellany

Reading about Reading

In David Denby’s recent book, Lit Up, the New Yorker magazine writer embeds himself with several quite varied American high schools in order to explore the state of reading and teaching literature at the secondary level. A few items caught my attention as they affect the middle level and the “onramp” to secondary school language … Continue reading