Independent Reading on Independence Day (or Any Day)

Happy Fourth of July! To celebrate Independence Day, we’ve put together a list of Independent Reading books for middle grades, which, incidentally, make great summer reading. And since summer is in full swing, take the opportunity this holiday weekend to enjoy the liberating power of reading!

Middle Grades


Golden Retold-ens: 18 Best Books Based on Fairy Tales

The new trailer for the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” has us hearkening back to the animated classic and our first introduction to our beloved, book-ensconced Belle.

So while we wait for a deeper glimpse into the fantastic library scenery of this new adaptation, we can also look to our own shelves for fairy-tale retellings that resonate with the thrill of timeless stories.

Read on for our picks of novels new and old inspired by classic folk and fairy tales.


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Summer Reading 2016

School may be coming to a close, but as summer starts we want to echo Mr. Bennet’s encouragement to READ ON! Read On Mr Bennet

Okay, so that line isn’t in the book, but it is in the BBC miniseries, and that’s the best adaptation. And it’s totally within Mr. B’s bibliophile nature as something to say. Always looking for a peaceful moment in which to read his book; could Mr. Bennet be the most relatable character in Jane Austen’s works?

In any case, as you encourage your students to take on summer as a season of reading, you can fulfill your Summer Reading list with books from Adams Book Company! Here is a list of all kinds of books that would be great for summer reading.

A Lesson Before Dying, Angela’s Ashes, 1984, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Cold Mountain, Friday Night Lights, Great Expectations, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, The Bean Trees, The Color Purple, The Joy Luck Club, The Kite Runner, The Road, The Tiger’s Wife, Fast Food Nation, The Alchemist, Salvage the Bones, The Beautiful Struggle, How to Read Literature like a Professor

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Teacher Appreciation Week 2016: A Gif List

Since Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6) is officially a weekday-type celebration, we present to you the Five Days of Teacher Week. We turn five gifs into traditional gifts that should be  given to teachers during the first week of May.

On the fifth day of Teacher Week, my students gave to me…

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Celebrating Chinese New Year with Classroom Books

With all the customs and celebrations surrounding the lunar new year for students to either share or learn, it’s a great time of year to bring more Chinese culture into your classroom. Here are some great fiction and nonfiction books with Chinese characters and subjects.

Newbery-Honor winning writer Laurence Yep’s “The Star Maker” is about a boy’s Chinese New Year adventure; Grace Lin’s “Starry River of the Sky” recalls her 2011 Newbery Honor winner “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon;” Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, revitalizes a long-lost Asian comic book hero of the Golden Age in “The Shadow Hero.” And be sure not to miss middle reader books “The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong,” “The Year of the Book,” and nonfiction titles “A Girl Named Faithful Plum” and “China: Land of Dragons and Empires.”

And if your school has a Chinese language program, Adams Book Co. also provides textbooks and workbooks including the popular “Integrated Chinese” series from Cheng & Tsui.

3 Things Hogwarts Reveals About Real Schools

harry-potter What’s one big objection to the reality crafted by the Harry Potter books? How about the fact that so many kids are so bored by learning magic? Putting ourselves in their place, it makes no sense. Wouldn’t anyone be thrilled to gain magical powers just by studying? Instead, there are pages of complaint and annoyance with the burden of school. Even magic-deprived Harry balks at the hours of research and practice assigned every day. But this is neither a flaw in J.K. Rowling’s characterizations, nor merely a convenient device to add relatability or to set studious Hermione apart. It’s a perceptive rendering of schoolkids and their education.We see kids that really should be excited to learn, and are reminded of that same truth about kids in the real world. Continue reading

21 Songs We Wish Existed for a Teacher Appreciation Week Party

As the official Teacher Appreciation Week 2015 comes to a close, let’s not forget our appreciation for teachers throughout the year: all the work they do for their kids every day, and for the future strength of their profession.

In the mean time, to celebrate the week, what better way to wrap it up than with a custom party playlist? Here is the perfect soundtrack to the end of Teacher Appreciation Week — if these songs existed.

“(I Can’t Get No) Appreciation” by the Roll-Call Stones

“Appreciation” by Skool & the Gang

“A Little Help from my Friends” by Sgt. Paper’s Folded Hearts Club Band

“Should I Stay and Work or Should I Go Home and Work” by The Class

“I’m Gonna Meet (500 Goals)” by The Protractors

“Love Stats” by the Bring-#2s

“Sit Down Alright” by PD and the Summertime Band

“In Data Club” by 50 perCent

“I Love Taking Roll” by Joan Jetta and the Checkmarks

“Pass Your Class” by Ink

“Lesson ‘n a Prayer” by Blend Jovi

“Teach Me How to, Mr. Dougie” by California School District

“This is How We Do It” by Model Jordan

“Holla Back, Girl” by Engage Stefani

“Single Spacies (Put a Grade on it)” by BYOD-oncé

“MOOC-use” by Canny Log-ins

“D,C,B,A.” by the Valued People

“The Test” by Bubble Checker

“Grade That Funky Rubric” by Filed Cherry

“Slips Don’t Lie” by School-kira

“Assessment Back” by Justin Timeforbreak

Some of those were okay, right? Can you think of some other occasion-specific song titles for a Teacher Appreciation Week wrap party?

Give the Teachers What They Want! Teacher Appreciation Week

Teachers are the ones interacting with the kids every day — those very individual, often vulnerable young people at the ideal center of a school’s focus. And not merely interacting with, but guiding, hearing, interpreting, counseling, correcting, encouraging, alloparenting, and instructing.

Teachers’ names and faces are the ones kids remember as they move through school and into their adult lives.

So if schools want to serve kids, let’s face it, what’s good for teachers is good for schools.

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Engage ELLs With These 17 Books of Poetry This April

April is National Poetry Month, and poetry is a great tool for teaching English Language Learners.

As a form that intentionally slows down in order to explore language, poetry provides a context appropriate for many levels of readers to learn phonics, structure, and oral fluency. Also, blended language, especially Spanish and English, is a favorite device of many poets, offering ELLs familiar vocabulary and a different level of interest.

In the book list below, there are not only poetry collections, but also evocative novels in verse addressing the immigrant experience or culture relevant to ELLs.

Search for more poetry or nonfiction or textbooks at And, if you want more ELL resources, you should check out our ELL Pinterest board.

Super-Smooth Guide to Integrating Digital Learning (Part Three: Best Practice Wrap Up and Getting Everyone on Board)

Admin-UserSo far in our series on best practices to implement a digital curriculum, we have covered what to look for in the features of a digital product, and how to predict success based on the needs of the school community. In this wrap-up post coinciding with Digital Learning Day, we will emphasize the importance of establishing proper groundwork for a digital transition as well as communicating to help set the expectations of faculty, students, and parents.

Consider possible obstacles

Looking out for potential glitches before implementing a new program shouldn’t only apply to technology; schools should do the same analysis with their human assets: the community.

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