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Dedicated to Teachers

It’s Almost Time for Summer Camp!

Jen S. Camp (1)It’s almost time for summer camp!

Join Camp Director Jennifer Serravallo for the Third Annual Camp experience, this time: Reading & Writing Summer Camp: Exploring Mentor Texts to Teach Strategies from July 27–August 7, 2020 in the Reading and Writing Strategies Facebook Group. Take five minutes a day to explore ways to use a small set of mentor texts (some in English and some in Spanish) again and again to teach reading and writing strategies. This year, Jen brings with her a full roster of camp counselors to help everyone get the most from the experience. You’ll not only hear from Jen directly but also meet and work with Lainie Gatch Powell and Molly Feeney Wood, two consultants expert in Jen’s work, with guest appearances by Clarisa Leal, Cristy Rauseo, and Nicole Sanchez, members of Jen’s bilingual consulting team, to support teachers who support children in Spanish.

Jen has gotten questions about the camp, and here she answers them to help you get ready.


Q: What's this camp all about?

Jen: We’re going to get to know a small set of beautiful, rich mentor texts so that we can use them to teach reading and writing strategies even more effectively, whether you’ll be meeting children in your classroom or online next school year. We’ll be focusing on own-voices texts that are examples of poetry, narrative, and informational modes; five of which I’ll take the lead on linking the books to strategies in the Reading Strategies Book and The Writing Strategies Book, and 3 of which my bilingual colleagues will take the lead on for those of you who have El libro de estrategias de escritura or El libro de estrategias de lectura. One of the books I’ll focus on is also available in Spanish, and all three of the books my colleagues chose are available in English. Week #1 we’ll be focused on the ways the books can be used to teach reading strategies and Week #2 we’ll focus on how the same texts can be used to teach writing strategies.

Q: Do I need the Reading Strategies Book and the Writing Strategies Book to participate?

Jen: Yes, we’ll be referring to specific strategies in the books throughout summer camp. If you teach in Spanish, or in a bilingual setting, El libro de estrategias de lectura and El libro de estrategias de escritura will be the ones you’ll want to use.

Q: My books are quarantined in school, is there an electronic version available?

Jen: Yes! Click through the eBook versions of Reading Strategies Book, Writing Strategies Book, El libro de estrategias de lectura, and El libro de estrategias de escritura at Heinemann.com.

Q: What picture books will we be using?

Jen: I’ll be presenting five titles:

  • Islandborn by Junot Díaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa (available in Spanish as Lola)
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  • Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Nuana Martinez-Neal
  • My Footprints by Bao Phi
  • The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammed with S.K. Ali, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Additionally, for those teaching Spanish speakers or in bilingual classrooms, my colleagues Clarisa, Cristy, and Nicole will present the following three titles in Spanish:

  •  ¡Se audaz, se valiente! by Naibe Reynoso, illustrated by Jone Leal (bilingual text)
  • Mi papi tiene uno moto by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña (available in English as My Papi Has a Motorcycle)
  • Soñadores by Yuyi Morales (available in English as Dreamers)

If you don’t want to purchase the books, you can find videos of them being read aloud online. If you do purchase the books, please purchase through AKJ Education where 100% of my proceeds will go toward We Need Diverse Books, which funds scholarships for unpublished Black, Indigenous writers of color. If you’re outside of AKJ’s shipping area (the lower 48 states and Hawaii), please check with your local bookseller or better yet, find a Black-owned bookstore.

Q: I teach in Spanish. Will I benefit from joining for the English book conversations?

Jen: Yes. Although, only one of the English books I’ll present is available in Spanish (Islandborn/Lola), the conversations about how to find places to teach strategies in picture books is beneficial to all teachers. In addition, the sessions with Clarisa, Cristy, and Nicole, presented in Spanish and presented during the same weeks the English books will be explored, are designed with you in mind.

Q: What time each day should I log in?

Jen: This is designed as asynchronous learning (we all know that term by now, right?) so you can join in at any time, when you have time. I will post at some point each morning (most likely a video of under 5 min), and you don't need to see it live to participate. You’ll find an invitation for a slow-chat in the comments on that post and can comment and read through the thread at any time, all day long.

Q: I can't wait to get started! I want to start today!

Jen: We’re excited too! To put yourself into Summer Camp mode while you wait, please check out the 2019 reading camp and the 2018 writing camp.


Are you a podcast listener? Listen to our podcast conversations with Jennifer Serravallo.
Listen to Jennifer Serravallo Podcasts

Topics: Mentor Texts, Online PD, The Reading Strategies Book, The Writing Strategies Book, Facebook Groups, Jennifer Serravallo, Summer, Understanding Texts and Readers

Date Published: 07/07/20

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