You love books, you love kids, and authors love you. We’re pleased to offer teachers and librarians a wealth of resources to help you make middle-grade books an even more effective and engaging part of your classroom and library/media center!
Our first two entries are especially for you: The collected MUF blog posts categorized for teachers and librarians! The rest of this page is organized alphabetically by the following categories to help you find resources quickly: Author visits, Author websites with discussion/activity guides, Blogs for middle-grade reading/writing, Book clubs, Book lists, and General resources for teaching and literature.
MUF Posts for Teachers and MUF Posts for Librarians: We’ve captured the posts that are categorized for teachers and/or librarians in one convenient place. The posts are organized by date, so “drop on by” any time to see what we’ve written with you in mind.
Most middle-grade authors and many illustrators love to visit schools and libraries. Check their websites or their publishers’ sites for contact information. For a searchable list of authors and illustrators by region, check out The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
General Tips for a successful author/illustrator visit: Few experiences generate more reading and writing excitement than having a real live author interact with your students…. (read more)
MUF Posts on author visits: We’ve offered a great series of posts about author visits here at the Mixed-Up Files:
- Care and Feeding of Your Visiting Author by Bobbie Pyron. Tips for schools and groups hosting an author.
- Successful Author Visits: What an Author Can Do to Prepare by Rosanne Parry. Valuable details to help authors get ready for a great visit.
- Successful Author Visits: What Teachers and Librarians Can Do to Prepare by Rosanne Parry. More helpful tips for the people who are planning the visit.
- Authors Visiting Schools: Thinking Outside the Box by Rosanne Parry. Creative alternatives to a standard, in-person visit.
- Memorable Author Visits: Tips from Teachers, Librarians, and Writers by Katherine Schlick Noe. Advice for authors on what makes a visit a memorable learning experience for young readers and writers.
- The Three Biggest Mistakes Authors Make on Blog Tours by Bruce Eschler. Crucial tips for authors on how to put yourself in the mindset of the teens and tweens in your audience to deliver a winning author visit.
- Getting the Grant by Yolanda Ridge. Detailed advice for all grant writers, including those who want to fund an author visit.
Virtual Visits: Like to have an author visit your school or library but can’t manage the logistics of an in-person visit? There is another way… (read more)
AUTHOR WEBSITES with discussion/activity guides
Many authors provide discussion or activity guides for use in the classroom on their websites… (read more)
BLOGS (of special interest to teachers and librarians)
American Indians in Children’s Literature: Debbie Reese helps teachers and librarians find resources and consider issues related to the representation of American Indians in children’s books.
Charlotte’s Library ~ Weekly Round Up of New Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction: Charlotte will help you keep up with what’s new and hot in the world of middle-grade fantasy and science fiction so you can stay one step ahead of your young readers.
GreenBeanTeenQueen’s Tween Tuesday: A round up of great book talks for the upper end of middle grade.
Middle Grade Ninja: A blog about reading and writing middle grade that includes great interviews to enhance author studies.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: A weekly round up of book talks from middle grade authors, librarians, teachers and booksellers. From new releases to classics to graphic novels, they have all reading interests covered.
The Pirate Tree: Authors who explore books in the context of social justice themes, from violence to gender to race to poverty.
Project Mayhem: A group of well-known middle-grade authors blog about writing, life and reading. Great opportunity for students to see inside the mind of some of their favorite authors.
The Reading Tub: Extensive collection of middle grade and YA book review blogs
Smack Dab in the Middle: Middle-grade authors talk about their books, their journeys to publication, and themes of the month where the bloggers weigh in on different topics. Gives students a great opportunity to learn even more about the authors they read.
New! Top Teaching Blog by Scholastic: Well regarded as a resource for literacy professionals everywhere, Scholastic also offers teacher-to-teacher support through the Top Teaching Blog. Eight innovative teachers bring you right into their classrooms for ideas on how to enhance middle graders’ literacy experiences. Even though summer is quickly waning, you’ll get some great ideas team member Shari Edwards in this post: a challenge to herself to read a children’s book a day.
New! A Year of Reading: Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn are classroom teachers and authors of acclaimed professional books on literacy. The blog is rich with ideas and resources for bringing middle grade readers and good books together! Check out Franki’s thoughts on selecting that all-important first read aloud of the school year.
MUF Blog Posts on Book Clubs
- Literature Circles: Savoring Books in a Community of Readers: Guidelines for literature circles and book clubs in the classroom by Katherine Schlick Noe.
- Book Club Guide: A guide for starting a book club and keeping it going by Hélène Boudreau.
- Tips for Running a Book Club for Kids: More suggestions for effective book clubs by Kurtis Scarletta
Book Club Central: Book suggestions for children and tweens with sample chapters and ideas for organizing a book club.
Book Clubs for Kids from PBS Parents: Great resources for teachers and parents.
Literature Circles Resource Center: Resources and information on book clubs and literature circles from the College of Education at Seattle University.
Middle School Reading Activities: Suggestions for teachers and families to encourage reading using classroom reads, literacy projects or for engaging alternatives to traditional book reports.
National Public Radio’s Back-Seat Book Club: Offers a monthly book club selection that students read then have the option to send in questions to NPR. Some of those questions are given to the author when visiting the radio programme, All Things Considered at the end of the month.
Pragmatic Mom-Book Clubs for Kids: Excellent resource of tried and true book club strategies, including meetings, including the books used and the activities done. Includes many middle-grade titles.
BOOK LISTS and REVIEWS
MUF Book Lists: Check out our complete file of middle-grade book lists.
IRA Children’s Literature Special Interest Group Book Reviews: Weekly reviews of books for grades K-12 organized by topic.
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Children: Annual list compiled by the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council
Outstanding Science Trade Books: Annual list compiled by the National Science Teachers Association
GENERAL RESOURCES for teaching and literature
American Library Association (ALA)
ALSC Blog: Programming ideas and literacy initiatives from this branch of the American Library Association.
Exploring Diversity: Resources related to diversity compiled by author Cynthia Leitich Smith.
Middle Web: Resources for middle grade educators and parents
ReadWriteThink: Literacy resources for teachers at all levels.
Scholastic Teacher Resources: Search for both free and paid curriculum resources.
Scholastic Librarian Resources: Search for both fee and paid resources for your library.
TeachingBooks (Note: this service charges a membership fee after the free trial period has expired)
Teaching Tolerance: From the Southern Poverty Law Center, in-depth and free resources and book lists on a wide range of social justice issues for educators. You’ll find an extensive list of classroom resources, as well as “What We’re Reading,” culturally aware book lists for educators in Teaching Tolerance Magazine. Subscriptions to the magazine (print or digital editions) are free for educators.
Themed Literature Units: Resources for teaching children’s literature using books with themes such as speaking out for justice, persevering to overcome obstacles, reaching out to others, and many more.
New! Finding Common Themes in Fiction Texts: 3rd grade teacher Beth Newingham offers a wonderful array of strategies and resources (downloadable posters!) to help you guide middle grade students to find and learn from the themes in good books. This is a rich site from Beth’s classroom in Troy, Michigan — take your time and dig in! Beth is also part of Scholastic’s Top Teaching Blog team, so we encourage you to visit her there as well!
MUF Blog Posts on Themed Literature Units