Pulling Back the Curtain: Beta Readers And Critique Groups

  How To Approach Them, Where To Find Them, And When To Accept Criticism/Advice By: Terri Whitmire, CEO & Founder of The WritersTablet.org   So you’ve received that glowing testimony from family and friends, but somewhere in the back of your mind you doubt their platitudes. After all, they may feel obligated to say nice things.…
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Beautiful Books – A Reading Diversely Project

By: Wendy M. McDonald   In recent years, there’s been a strong push throughout the KidLit community to bring diverse books to readers. Perhaps you’ve heard of the grassroots organization We Need Diverse Books. Their goal is to put books with diverse characters into readers’ hands—books that aren’t always about diversity—though sometimes they are—but that embrace it…
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The Disney Effect and What It Means for Our Literature

by Gina Simoncelli   Ursula had just made her big-screen appearance when Lucy buried her face in a pillow. The four year old peered out, eyes wide with fear, and jumped when Ursula’s henchmen swam onto the screen. She was scared stiff, and buried herself firmly beneath a layer of protective covers. I was momentarily…
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Thoughts on Writing

by Joe Novara   All of us have selective perceptive. If a woman walks into a room of four people, one might remark her clothes; another, her shoes; another, eyes; another, total manner and poise. The same is true of the world at large. Each of us notices specific things—music, dogs, cars—and finds ourselves making…
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2016 Relevant Reads Contest Winners

After several months of reading and enjoying the 1,665 stories entered into our 2016 Relevant Reads contest, our team is finally able to announce our five award-winning titles! Congratulations to each of you, and thank you so much to everyone who gave their time, efforts, and imagination to participating in this year's competition. We hope…
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Six Reasons To Use Comics in Your Classroom

by Lisa Simon, Ph.D. Whether you know it or not, it’s likely that comics already have a significant place in your classroom – in your students’ backpacks and desks and on their phones. Bringing comics into your teaching lets you take advantage of the high interest they engender. It’s also a great way to make…
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Literacy Beat’s Review of Story Shares

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey Written for Literacy Beat   Recently, I participated in a Twitter chat hosted by the International Literacy Association #ILAChat and Sam Patterson (@SamPatue) on the topic of the Association’s latest What’s Hot in Literacy report. While there, I met the Story Shares team. In their own words, “Story Shares is a…
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Acting to Up the Ante

By Lacey B. Ramsey * This title and the activities described here are deeply influenced by Jeffrey Wilhelm’s wonderful book: “You’ve Gotta Be the Book”: Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading with Adolescents * Teaching is a reflective profession, and every fall I look back on my previous experiences and reflect on what worked and what didn’t.…
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We Are Always More Than Our Test Scores

By Nicole Salvitti and Lisa Simon (for more information on using and writing poems for two voices, click here). As we write, we are adults who have passed successfully through many layers of education (Nicole has her M.S. and Lisa her Ph.D.in literacy education). But, like so many learners, our school histories included painful times…
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2016 Judging Panel

We have an all new panel of judges this year in place to help us choose our 2016 Relevant Reads contest winners! These talented education and literacy professionals will be looking for those stories which best meet the criteria and goals of the Story Shares library: to engage struggling readers with content that is relevant…
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What Is Readability? It’s a Friendship in the Form of a Text.

By Nicole Salvitti and Lisa Simon Think about something you read recently. How did you come to read it?  Did it catch your eye and then, after reading a bit, you decided it was worth reading?  Is it something friends or colleagues have been reading and talking about? Did you hear a review that made…
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Overcoming Writer’s Block

By: Gina Simoncelli   Writer’s Block. This dreaded ailment strikes when you least expect it and hits you like a bad cold; it’s frustrating, makes it impossible for you to work, and it can leave you with one whammy of a headache. Writer’s block can be all too familiar to writers, whether they’re putting pen…
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Writer Wednesday Featuring Ginger Tull

This week we're excited to feature the mind behind "Pods, Life at Sea" and "New Mexico Winds." These two stories have spent less than one year in our library and have already been read widely, in addition to being used by our organization as "exemplar reads" - stories which do a great job of showcasing…
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Fantasy Writing 101

For this week's writing tips and prompts, we will be taking a look at a story genre that we feel can best be described as a doorway. Turn the knob and you'll be led to a numberless expanse of other worlds, ones where time travel is possible, animals speak, and above all else, magic is…
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Horror Writing 101

As we approach the launch of our 2016 Relevant Reads contest, we will be bringing you weekly tips and prompts to help get you started with your story submissions! We look forward to providing content related to each of our five contest categories, which we'll do over six weeks, breaking horror/suspense into two separate posts…
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Writer Wednesday Featuring Tiffany Jones

This week's Writer Wednesday features Tiffany Jones, author of Bully, The Alternative, Where is Beauty, Change of Heart, Starting Over, The Minorcans, and The Best News. Tiffany has been with Story Shares since the very beginning. Her story Bully earned her a finalist award in our first competition. At that time, Story Shares existed as…
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Monday Mini Contest Winners

Monday Mini Contest: noun.  a weekly competition intended to provoke creative thought and inspire story generation. Story Shares' Monday Mini Challenges are an interactive weekly fixture in which the organization's followers are asked to write one sentence in response to a given image. The challenge runs from Monday morning of each week to Thursday afternoon,…
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Behind the Scenes with John Mayo Smith

Behind the Story Shares organization is a series of talented, experienced professionals who dedicate their skills, time, and passion to improving the quality of our platform so that we may reach more struggling readers, more effectively. We are immeasurably grateful to these volunteers, and so much of our current success and forward movement can be…
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Writer Wednesday Feature: Angela Dell’Isola

  For this week's Writer Wednesday Feature, we interviewed Angela Dell'Isola, author of "Leap of Faith," and our organization's Outreach and Content Manager. Angela is a fantasy writer who has seen the power of words in her own life, and who believes deeply in the goal of the Story Shares organization: to share that power…
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5 Stories on the Power of Friendship

Together with kindness, confidence, curiosity, hope, belonging, and courage, friendship has a tremendous impact on the quality of one’s daily living. Cumulatively, these values comprise the 7 Strengths, a series of core ideas that our friends at LitWorld name as crucial elements for educational success, healthy relationships, and an overall happy and fulfilling life. Friendship…
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Writer Wednesday: Featuring Joe Novara

This week's Writer Wednesday features Joe Novara, author of the My First Horse Series, City Food/Country Food, Quiet Game, Patchooky, and Help for the Humor deprived. Besides the Story Shares library, Joe has been published in a number of other venues, all of which you can find by visiting his blog, Writing for Homeschooled Boys. Be…
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Feature Author: Kelly Winters

For this week's Writer Wednesday, we interviewed Kelly Winters, author of "Darius Quinton Coleman, Boy Genius," "Jacob's Trouble," and one of our most popular stories, "Jacob and the Bee Man." Read on to discover Kelly's thoughts on writing, remaining inspired, and keeping bees! Why do you write? What inspired you to begin writing? I've always…
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What Happened Before? One Student’s Story

By Angela Dell'Isola The classroom is an ever-changing environment and many teachers will tell you that no two days are the same. And the main reason for that is: the students. No two are alike and so no two will learn in exactly the same way. This is what makes the educational field both challenging…
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5 Stories to Inspire Courage Through the New Year

Belonging. Friendship. Kindness. Confidence. Curiosity. Hope. These are six of the seven strengths that our partners at LitWorld emphasize as necessary ingredients for a healthy and satisfying life. The last of these, which acts as a foundation for the others, is: Courage. As Maya Angelou once said, “Courage is the most important of all the…
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WINNERS of the 2015 Relevant Reads Story of the Year Contest

We are pleased to announce that our second annual writing contest was a tremendous success! Our goal was to expand our collection of Relevant Reads: stories that are Easy to Read, but Hard to Put Down. Thanks to an outpouring of talented writers, we were able to meet this goal and grow our library. To…
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5 Stories to Inspire Hope this Holiday Season

5 Stories to Inspire Hope this Holiday Season By Angela Dell'Isola   It’s a word you hear often throughout the holiday season, spoken in conversation, sung in choruses, and written in glittery font across store windows. It’s a feeling that pushes us forward and gives meaning to our days and direction to our actions. It’s…
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Imagine Not Being Able to Read This….

Imagine Not Being Able to Read This… By Louise Baigelman Imagine moving to a new country. You have only just begun speaking the language and you have a lot left to learn. You have basic language skills: you know some simple vocabulary and common expressions, and you’re able to use them to have short conversations.…
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Story Shares on Kickstarter: Crowdfunding for a Literacy Solution

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/519465043/story-shares-a-literacy-solution   Story Shares began as a literacy project – an experiment, of sorts. Could we expand the collection of content meant for teens and young adults who read below grade level? To test this, we launched a writing contest and built a prototype of a digital story-creation tool.   The success of the contest,…
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Tips from Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block

Tips from Writers on Overcoming Writer's Block   By Marcelle Hutchins   For some writers, one of the scariest moments of writing is starting the first sentence. Writing the first part can be tricky, and sometimes when a writer sits down in front of a blank sheet of paper or computer screen there’s nothing. Other…
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Grand Prize for Story of the Year Contest: CELEBRATE DIVERSITY AWARD

At Story Shares, it’s no secret that our mission is to create ‘relevant and engaging’ content for students in middle and high school who read below grade level. Often, the approach to reading instruction or improvement is focused around building the technical skills and using assessments to accurately measure progress. At Story Shares, we prioritize…
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Brother No More: Story Shares Literacy Project

Written by Lori Schafer [Input by Priya Minhas] http://www.storyshares.org/books/view/535 What an amazing, fantastic, wonderful idea! This was my first thought when I heard about the Story Share Contest. A product of the collaboration of a group of partners, including Benentech, CAST, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Orca Book Publishers, Motivate, and Jabico Enterprises, the…
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Exemplar Stories for the Relevant Reads Collection

Looking for some inspiration? These are some of the most popular stories in the Story Shares collection!   Jacob and the Bee Man By Kelly Winters Jacob is on a tough path in life. When he commits a petty crime and has to pay for it, he discovers a whole new world of possibilities. http://www.storyshares.org/books/view/166…
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Stories Make Us Strong

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are LitWorld and Story Share, two organizations who are coming together to spread joy and hope through literacy. At LitWorld, our mission is to empower young people to author lives of independence, hope, and joy. How do we do that? By implementing transformational literacy programs called LitClubs and LitCamps…
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Story Shares Executive Director Named To International Literacy Association’s Inaugural 30 Under 30 List

We are thrilled to share with you that Story Shares's very own Executive Director, Louise Baigelman, has been recognized as one of International Literacy Association's 30 Under 30 for her outstanding and inspirational dedication to improving literacy outcomes! The list recognizes the next generation of young innovators, advocates and educators who are leading efforts to address the…
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5 New Story Shares Features To Enhance Your Reading Experience

5 New Story Shares Features To Enhance Your Reading Experience  Our digital library of free stories was relaunched in May, with a new and improved design. With hundreds of teachers and thousands of students using the Story Shares platform in ~100 schools across 27 states in the U.S. alone, our stories are making a meaningful…
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STORY SHARES TESTIMONIALS

STORY SHARES TESTIMONIALS Story Shares has had some inspiring success already, and we are excited to continue building on this as we evolve our literacy platform and initiative. During the first phase, we ran The Story Shares Writing Contest, and received almost 600 story submissions in just 4 months. We had incredibly talented writers, educators,…
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The Seed of Joy, and Reading for Kids Who Hate Reading

The Seed of Joy, and Reading for Kids Who Hate Reading By Kelly Winters, Author of Jacob and the Bee Man and Jacob's Trouble [Input by Priya Minhas]   Every child – every person – is born with a seed of their future joy and happiness inside them, and if you watch a child carefully – or if you…
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7 Fantasy Stories To Keep Reluctant Readers Engaged This Summer

For teens who struggle with reading, keeping up with reading practice over the summer vacation can feel like a chore. The following are some of our most popular fantasy and science fiction stories written specifically with the goal of being accessible and engaging for below grade level readers beyond elementary school. Share our picks with…
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Story Shares Pilot Studies

Story Shares Pilot Studies We are piloting the Story Shares platform in schools and programs across the country. The Story Shares pilot studies enable us to gather feedback on our literacy solution, which will inform future development and help us to continue evolving Story Shares in a way that meets the needs of readers, educators,…
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Story Shares and the Summer Slide

Story Shares and the Summer Slide By Priya Minhas As summer vacation rapidly approaches, there is no doubt that students and educators alike are looking forward to a few months of downtime to relax and recharge before September rolls around. However, one of the major concerns that arises from this downtime is the ‘summer slide,’…
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What I have Learned

What I have Learned By Priya Minhas I joined Story Shares in October 2014, having previously worked with young adults who struggled to read in both Spain and India. Being an avid reader myself from a young age, seeing young adults denied access to the joy of connecting with a story is something that has…
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