Category Archives: Spotlight on Products

Teaching Figurative Language and Story Elements in the Elementary and Middle Grades

Literary techniques are the constructions of language used by an author to convey meaning. These techniques make the story more interesting to the reader. It is important that students learn to identify and understand these constructions. The mastering of these devices will help students get more enjoyment from the fiction they read—both in and out of the classroom situation.

These literary devices are commonly taught in the elementary and middle grades: Connotation, Dialogue, Dialect, Imagery, Idiom, Simile, Metaphor, Pun, Personification, Hyperbole, Understatement, Allusion, Oxymoron, Symbol, Alliteration, and Onomatopoeia.

Many of these devices fall into the category of figurative language. Figurative language uses figures of speech—phrases that go beyond the literal meaning of the words—to be more effective. Figures of speech include metaphors, similes, idioms, and hyperbole.

The study of the elements of a story goes hand in hand with the study of literary devices. The basic elements of a story are character, setting, plot, setting, and theme. Also important are point of view, tone, mood, and style.

The inclusion of figurative language in a work of literature enhances the various elements of the story. It improves a reader’s enjoyment and understanding of the literary work in several ways:

1. Figurative language helps create a mood, which refers to the atmosphere that surrounds the reader and evokes certain feelings.

2. Figurative language can enhance characterization. It can help the author reveal the characters’ traits and personality.

3. Figurative language can help the author advance or slow down the plot. The author can slow down the plot by adding long descriptive passages. He or she can use figurative language to add suspense or humor to the plot.

4. Figurative language can make the setting come alive.

In other words, the use of figurative language enriches the reader’s experience by making the text more interesting.

Figurative Language and Other Literary Devices

Figurative Language and Other Literary Devices, written by Rebecca Stark and published by Educational Books ’n’ Bingo, is available in two grade levels: Grades 5–8 and Grades 3–6. They use examples from classic and modern literature to teach these techniques and devices.

The following literary devices and techniques are covered: • Connotation,
• Dialogue
• Dialect
• Imagery
• Idiom
• Simile
• Metaphor
• Allusion
• Personification
• Hyperbole
• Understatement
• Irony (Grades 5–8 only)
• Sarcasm (Grades 5–8 only)
• Oxymoron
• Paradox (Grades 5–8 only)
• Symbol
• Pun
• Alliteration
• Onomatopoeia.

At the end of the unit, students will be able to identify and understand these literary devices. They will also be able to use the figurative language and other literary techniques in their own writing.


Each literary device is defined. One or more examples are given from classic and/or modern literature. Students are then given opportunities to identify, explain, and use the technique.

Story Elements

Story Elements, written by Rebecca Stark and published by Educational Books ’n’ Bingo, is available in two grade levels: Grades 5–8 and Grades 3–6. They use examples from classic and modern literature to teach the elements of literature.

It is important that students learn to analyze and interpret the literature they read—not only for good results on standardized tests but also for enjoyment throughout their lives. To get the most out of what they read, they should be able to analyze a work’s literary elements. These books are designed to help students achieve that goal.

The books cover the following elements:
• Plot and Conflict
• Character
• Setting
• Point of View
• Tone
• Mood
• Style
• Theme
• Genre.

At the end of the unit, students will be able to…
• infer the setting of a story
• understand the devices and word choices that help develop the mood of a story
• understand the devices and word choices that help develop the tone of a story
• understand the elements of plot
• understand the characters in a story
• infer the characteristics and qualities of the main characters in a story
• identify the point of view and narrative voice of the story
• determine the mood of a story
• determine the tone of a story
• determine the style of a story
• identify the theme of a story
• identify the genre of a story
• understand and develop story elements in their own writing.


Each literary element is defined. One or more examples are given from classic and/or modern literature. Skill-building activities based on the literary element are provided.

Other Resources

Educational Books ’n’ Bingo’s Figurative Language Bingo Book and Elements of Literature Bingo Book provide practice and review of these concepts. Each book provides a complete bingo game in a book. There are enough unique bingo sheets for 30 students!

Barbara Peller, AKA Rebecca Stark, author of Figurative Language and Other Literary Devices, Story Elements, Figurative Language Bingo Book, and Elements of Literature Bingo Book.

The books described in this article are published by Educational Books ’n’ Bingo.

Book Creator – the simple way to create beautiful ebooks

We appreciate this guest post from Book Creator. We think it is a great app and deserves consideration in any technology toolbox. We are beginning to explore templates for Book Creator and invite you to check out the product listed at the end of the post.

You may already be convinced about the potential for using educational ebooks in your classroom. But have you thought about actually creating the textbooks yourself?

Book Creator is a super-simple app for combining text, images, audio and video into an ebook that can be shared across the classroom and beyond.

Create meaningful ebooks that your class can relate to

For teachers, this means you can tailor your ebooks to the level of the class, or even to each student. This is what Math teacher Cathy Yenca did with her 7th grade students.

Example of math books from Cathy Yenca

Teachers could create templates for their students covering any topic – vocabulary notebooks, informational research, music books – you name it. Book Creator books are easy to create, and simple to share – you can export the books as ePub, PDF or video. Use a cloud app like Google Drive or Dropbox and you have the power to create a classroom resource library that everyone can access with ease.

Turn your students into published authors

Students often have a greater level of motivation when they know they are producing work for an audience beyond their classroom. Book Creator is so simple to use that the app gets out of the way and allows for creativity to take precedence!

Here’s some ideas to try with your students:

And when you’re done, why not publish the book to Apple’s iBooks Store and turn your students into published authors?

Example of ebooks published with Book Creator

Half price for schools

Book Creator for iPad a best-selling app on the App Store, with over 25 million ebooks made with the app worldwide. What’s more if you don’t have an iPad, there will soon be a cross-platform web version of Book Creator available.

Find out more about Book Creator at

Please click here to see our first Book Creator template.

Trending Titles for March 2017


These are the Trending titles for March 2017

We had one publisher that seemed to dominate the list this month.  With a Math resource in French taking the top two slots.  As usual, Math was the top subject for the month, with Language and Science making a strong appearance.  We also had two positions taken by another popular topic, Study Guides.   Be sure to check out all these titles and see why they’ve been in such high demand.

New Products in August 2016


Summer of 2016 brought some extreme heats for us here in the west.  Our publishers have been staying cool inside by developing many new products that will be essential teaching resources for you in your classroom.

Teacher Created Resources – 62 new titles

Teacher Created Resource is one of our most popular publishers.  In August they released a wide variety of series such as,  Project-Based Writing series, Instant Math Practice series, Formative Assessment series, Non Fiction Writing series and more.  They’ve also added a large selection of topical titles for Fall and Winter and many new spanish version titles.  Be sure to have a look at these amazing new resources for your classroom.tcr

Gallopade International   – 57 new titles

Gallopade is well known for their high quality educational resources that provide new insights and knowledge.  In August, they released some fun non-fiction titles such as, ‘Wild Things in the Classroom’, provides a fun and entertaining lesson on good behavior in the classroom.  Then some current topic studies such as the upcoming 2016 Presidential election, government and historical titles and a full range of State Photo packs.  Be sure to check out these new titles and bring some new excitement to your lesson times.


Charlesbridge Publishing – 14 new titles

Charlesbridge Publishing is trusted source by teachers around the world.  With learning resources such as non-fiction titles to meet every readying level, as well is titles geared to help teachers reach their students learning needs in bright colorful ways.  Though the olympics have come and gone, it’s still fresh on our minds.  Ever wonder what it is that makes Michael Phelps so good at swimming?  You and you student can have an in-depth look at cutting-edge science in high-performance sports!  Take a look at these new titles and explore some new fun ways to learn.

charlesbridge – 5 new titles

Teach literature, grammar, style, and proofreading all at the same time! Grammardog Guides are a unique form of literary analysis, including exercises regarding grammar, proofreading, figurative language, sensory imagery, poetic devices, allusions, and style analysis passages.  Be sure to check out these new titles and see how they can help your students with their grammar skills!grammardog

Shell Education – 1 new title

Shell may have released only one new title this past month, but it’s packed with great writing lessons for students in the upper grades.  Shell turned to the industry experts for assistance in answering some common questions, what should they write about? To whom are they writing? How do they make the text say exactly what they want it to say? And perhaps the most important decision of all—when they get stuck, to whom should they turn for advice? The writers and editors at TIME Magazine face these same questions every day. And they know how important it is to have an easy-to-use resource that provides no-nonsense answers to writing questions the moment they arise. The Writer’s Notebook is just such a resource.  Be sure to check out this amazing resource for your students today!


Check out all these products now available here at

Top Trending Products -June 2016


These are the top-trending titles for June 2016

1. Mathematics: Drill and Practice, series (Gr 1-6)
hspa281rby Hayes School Publishing

Skill and problem solving activities with equal emphasis on skill and concept development. Ideal supplement for any current text. Number sequences, addition, subtraction, problem solving, rounding, place value, money, units of measurement, multiplying, dividing, shapes and more.
Our price: $5.65

 2. Improving Comprehension and Reading Fluency (Grades 2-4)
rem0173aby Remedia Publications

Simple sentences and short, easy-to-read paragraphs are paired with compelling illustrations for a strong picture-text correspondence. Age-appropriate topics and a controlled vocabulary motivate students and help ensure success.

Standard Edition: $12.34 Enhanced Edition: $17.09

3. Mastering the Standards series(Grades K-12)
hspam106eby Hayes School Publishing

Help students do their best on standardized tests in mathematics by familiarizing them with the formats and skills they will need for success. The problems developed for this series are based on standards from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and state standards from across the nation. Each book includes practice pages on Numbers/Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis/Probability.
Our Price: $5.65

4. Daily Math (US Edition), series (Grades 1-8)
chk2005by Chalkboard Publishing

Aligned to Common Core State Standards! “Daily Math Practice” from Chalkboard Publishing is a terrific addition to your classroom. Each eBook contains a wide variety of reproducible activities for each day of the week. Each daily set of activities focuses on a specific math strand, including measurement, data management, algebra, number sense, geometry, number and operations in base ten, operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in fractions, and measurement and data. Also includes an answer key for teachers. Available for immediate download. Canadian Edition also available
Our Price: $15.19

5. Ralph Masiello’s Drawing Books, series (Grades 1-4)
cbp9781607341079by Charlesbridge Publishing

Fans of Ralph Masiello’s illustrations in many of his alphabet books can finally draw creepy creatures, robots, dinosaurs, fairies and more . Kids will learn from the master in this step-by-step drawing guide made especially for children.

Our price: $6.64

6. Complete Book of Math Reproducibles, series (Grades 1-6)
emp5090by Milliken Publishing

This activity book of over 110 ready-to-use, reproducible pencil-to-paper worksheets are ideal for enrichment or for use as reinforcement. Perfect for use at school or as homework, they feature basic math skills including fractions, decimals, measurement, time, money, and much more.

Standard Edition: $11.35 Enhanced Edition: $14.20

7. 12 Fabulously Funny Fairy Tale Plays (Grades 2-4)
sch0439153891by Scholastic

Humorous takes on favorite tales that boost reading skills, build fluency and keep your class chuckling with lots of read-aloud fun. Stories such as: Spiderella, The Emperor’s New Hair, Three Little Elephants, Rafunzel, Little Late Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bullfrogs, Slurpy Beauty and more.

Standard Edition: $11.39
Enhanced Edition: $16.14

8. Creating a Google Apps Classroom(Grades K-12)
sed51312by Shell Education

Cook up amazing recipes with this engaging, resourceful Google™ cookbook! Great for both the beginning and seasoned Google-using teacher, this resource is the perfect tool to help guide teachers using, or preparing to use, Google Apps for Education™. This resource will help you feel comfortable using Google Apps™ in no time. Helpful icons, easy-to-follow instructions, screen shots, and websites are also provided throughout for ease of use.
Our price: $18.99

9. Westward Expansion and Migration (Grades 5-12)
csd404138ebby Carson-Dellosa Publishing

Designed for middle-school history curriculum, independent study, or tutorial aid, the American History series provides challenging activities that enable students to explore history, geography, and social studies. Activities include critical thinking, writing, technology, and more. Vocabulary words, time lines, maps, and reading lists are also provided. Meets NCSS standards and is correlated to state, national and Canadian provincial standards.  From the American History series, be sure to have all look at all the titles in this series.
Our Price: $13.29

10. Readers’ Theater (Enhanced eBook), series (Grades 1-6)
emc3306iby Evan-Moor Educational Publishers

Readers’ Theater helps students practice reading orally with fluency and expression. Each Readers’ Theater book contains fifteen complete scripts that provide all the fun and interest of full-scale dramatic productions.

This enhanced eBook gives you the freedom to copy and paste the content of each page into the format that fits your needs. You can post lessons on your class website, make student copies, and more.
Our price: $18.04

Recommended Summer Read: The View from Saturday

viewfromsaturdayI have a well-honed love for children’s literature. Due to a rather hectic work schedule, my reading time has a tendency to be compressed into a tiny skillet of 37 minutes before bedtime. Reading a book marketed for kids, generally a compact piece of writing, always makes for a satisfying end to my day. Children’s novels have a way of reminding you of the absolute joy of youth and how those years greatly shaped your perspective on life. And, inevitably, they have me reaching for tissues and rampant nostalgia.

I’ve had a copy of The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg for many years now, but have never given myself a chance to read it. Having received it for a long-ago birthday, I regrettably shelved it a week later and promptly forgot about its existence.

But after returning home for Christmas, I was rifling through my bookshelves in a sad attempt to clean my room (still on the to-do list), and came across my pristine copy of E.L. Konigsburg’s masterpiece – the cover still a freshly pressed robin-egg-blue, four cups of lemon tea still pictured on the front, a shiny Newbery Medal medallion still prominently featured.

I flipped to the back cover and read the following:

“Their victory was so profound that the sixth-grade math teacher, Mrs. Sharkey, confided to the music teacher, Ms. Masolino, that for the first time in the history of Epiphany Middle School there was a chance-just a possibility, mind you-that a sixth-grade team might beat the seventh grade.”

The charm was immediate. The book screamed, I’m a piece of art. Choose me. Read me. Love me.

Always being one to listen to the pleas of inanimate objects, I dropped the book into my backpack for my flight back.

Am I ever glad I did.

The View from Saturday centers around five characters – a sixth-grade teacher and her four students (dubbed “The Souls”), who eventually go on to compete in the Academic Bowl, a state championship typically won by eighth-grade students. Konigsburg’s novel is doled out in flashbacks from the four students, their separate narratives interspersed with the team’s journey to the final championship round of the Academic Bowl.

Here’s a sketching of our characters:

  • Mrs. Olinski: A sixth-grade teacher at Epiphany Middle School, still recovering emotionally from an automobile accident that left her widowed and in a wheelchair. She is responsible for selecting the four students for her team in the Academic Bowl.
  • “The Souls” (who each narrate their own chapter)
    • Noah Gershom (Noah Writes a B & B Letter): Intelligent, confident, and incredibly fond of calligraphy. A natural leader who ends up playing an important role at a wedding.
    • Nadia Diamondstein (Nadia Tells of Turtle Love): Still reeling from her parent’s divorce and feeling a keen sense of abandonment. Also the red-headed owner of Ginger, a clever mixed-breed canine. (Bonus: Baby sea turtles figure into Nadia’s storyline in the best way possible.)
    • Ethan Potter (Ethan Explains the B and B Inn): A lonely boy who dreams of working in a New York theatre and has a sense for a good joke. Often suffers relentless comparisons to his older brother.
    • Julian Singh (Julian Narrates When Ginger Played Annie’s Sandy): A brand-new student at Epiphany whose parents have recently opened a bed and breakfast inn. Has a refined British accent and is often teased, but is always composed and tender-hearted. Also has the “chops” for magic.

Writing one character with a distinct voice is difficult enough. Writing five nuanced characters, and giving each ample time to develop a strong narrative, is more than a challenge – it’s Mount Everest without oxygen.

Konigsburg knocks it out of the park.

Each character is forced to undergo their own transformative process, to face the demons of their past and emerge stronger. The View from Saturday is extraordinary because it is not simply the tale of one character’s self-discovery – it is the intricate and seamlessly woven story of five individuals learning about the strengthening power of friendship.

It’s not the easiest story to read. While being marketed for children ages 8 and up, the complexity and layered texture of the story would probably be best grasped by students grades 6 and up. But for a keen young reader, this novel is more than worth the time and effort. A balanced puzzle of stories, Konigsburg has crafted a novel that begs to be read again and again and again.

And that’s no small feat.

It took me over seven years to finally get my act together, and read The View from Saturday. If you have yet to read Konigsburg’s novel, please do not make my youthful mistake. Learn from my tale of woe. Pick up a copy today – tomorrow! This week. And enjoy.

I promise – it’ll be worth your time.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 5.55.13 sells literature guides for The View from Saturday, click here to see what’s available

Monika_avatarThis Recommended Read is brought to you by Monika Davies.  Monika is a university graduate who studied the art of creative writing and heralds from a family of educators. She writes many of our Recommended Reads and hopes to one day teach creative writing. Despite having traveled to 16 different countries, she remains geographically challenged and still lacks the ability to make heads or tails of a map (much to her mother’s dismay).



The New Era of Teaching: Common Core State Standards

Hi, my name is Mari and I’m an educator with 21 successful years under my belt in the classroom teaching mostly great students. Can we talk?  The concept of Common Core State Standards is a great one: The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.    However, many educators regarding their expected performance of conveying CCSS’s lessons can feel the pressure to perform and measure up breathing down their necks. 

TCK-1Many educators I’ve worked with or read articles about point out that they feel CCSS is a great concept but feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes down to conveying the Standards in an entertaining, engaging, and effective student-friendly manner within the expected completion time limits as outlined by the Curriculum Maps. First, the most important thing is understanding the CCSS provided materials and then conveying the concepts effectively to students. Well, even after 21 years teaching, occasionally I have to take a minute to figure out how some of the answers are derived.   If you fall in this category also, just take a knee and nod your head in silence with me and know I feel your pain. It’s not that we’re not up to the task of teaching CCSS, or heaven forbid, have gotten dumber; it’s more the time constraints of everyday teaching coupled along with the expectations placed on us because it’s our job to help our little darlings understand new CCSS math problems like in this example:

Honestly, some CCSS explanations are real head-scratchers. Granted there was a lot of money and effort spent by school districts on CCSS materials for us to be ready for the embrace of CCSS, however, much of the supplied materials’ explanations of given subjects to be introduced to students seem to be written for those who have advanced degrees in understanding gibberish or can understand the “Klingon” dialect for the “Trekies”.  But guys, we’re into CCSS four years and the explanations haven’t gotten any better. What about those confused, lost, uninformed parents?  Those who want to assist their struggling child with homework, once seeing some of the CCSS material, take on a deer in the headlight type stare over how vague the explanations are.

In order to gain a solid footing with CCSS and convey it so I could feel I wasn’t short-changing my students by not giving them my best, I’ve spent many nights and weekends searching for outside digital resources dealing with CCSS Math. I feel there are some good outside resources available to teachers that can save time and effort when wanting to reinforce lessons, but there are few that pull it altogether.

These are critical areas to pay attention to when purchasing teaching supporting resources:

Do I like the product?

Is there a free sample available or by request?

Is it grade level and age appropriate?

Does it address / reinforce what I’m teaching?

Is it visually engaging?

Are explanations easy for students understand and follow?

Does it encourage conceptual thinking?

Does it encourage critical thinking to reach conclusions?

Can all my related math classes use this product?

Can the product be useful in various classroom group settings?

While following the curriculum sequence is a normal factor in everyday teaching, CCSS added more urgency to get things done on the set time tables of Curriculum Maps. In addition to the pressures of learning, perceiving, transmitting, and assessing new standards for teaching old subjects, teachers now are required to teach their students a new way of learning these old subjects and insure that their students have a grasp of these new ideas so they will be able to ‘Meet or Exceed’ the annual springtime standardized testing.  As mentioned, the plight of gathering useful material for those completely new, difficult, and confusing standards is in itself time-consuming and mindboggling.  With this notion in mind, TeachersKorner CCSS Math resources was started.  I put the difficult and hard-to-find critical point areas in one place to save teachers time when looking for great CCSS Math resources. Our “See the Lesson in Action” concept addresses visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic learning encouraging critical thinking and problem solving skills development.

Our Common Core State Standards Math resources are continually being used in the classrooms of many elementary and middle grade level teachers and are getting great reviews and praises for their ability to engage and motivate students. Students also gain a sense of pride in their ability because they now “See the Lesson in Action”. If you’d like to check out why teachers are excited about our products or get on my safe mailing list for new product releases, just email me here at

TEACHERS KORNER- MARI-1by: Mari Parson B.A., M.Ed.
Math Intervention Specialist
21 year classroom teacher veteren

See all the great products geared to assist teacher with CCSS!

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 4.09.16 PM

Product Spotlight: ‘180 Days of’

We wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight a new series that was recently released by Shell Education and is already trending with our customers, so we thought we would take a deeper look.

This ‘180 Days of’ series is available into four individual series with topics such as, Writing, Language, Reading and Math.

180 Days

This particular series is geared to teachers but also parents that are working with their children to gain or improve basic skills.  Great for after school, intervention, or homework. Resources includes companion files to make the learning experience more complete.  Each individual series is specially developed for students grades K – 6.

writing180 Days of Writing:  180 Days of Writing is an easy-to-use resource that provides students with practice in writing opinion, informative/explanatory, and narrative pieces while also strengthening their language and grammar skills. Centered on high-interest themes, each two-week unit is aligned to one writing standard. Students will interact with mentor texts during the first week and then apply their learning the next week by practicing the steps of the writing process… read more


language180 Days of Language: Provide students with the right tools to grow their grammar skills. This easy-to-use classroom resource provides daily practice in punctuation, capitalization, parts of speech, and spelling. Featuring 180 quick, diagnostic-based activities, data-driven assessment tips, and digital resources including pdfs of the activity sheets, and assessments, students will be gaining grammar skills in no time! As well as detailed step by step instructions for teachers and parents on how to best use this resource with students. read more


reading180 Days of Reading: Encourage students to build their reading comprehension and word study skills using daily practice activities. Teachers and parents can help students gain regular practice through these quick, diagnostic-based activities that are correlated to the Common Core and other state standards. Both fiction and nonfiction reading passages are provided as well as data-driven assessment tips and digital versions of the assessment analysis tools and activities. With these easy-to-use activities, kindergarteners will boost their reading skills in a hurry! read more


Math180 Days of Math: This book provides teachers and parents with 180 daily practice activities to build and gauge students’ mathematical fluency. Each problem is tied to a specific mathematical concept. Students gain regular practice through these quick, diagnostic-based activities. Data-driven assessment tips are provided, and the companion Teacher Resource files includes assessment analysis resources. This series is available in both standard and enhanced versions. read more

As stated in one description above, each eBook, in each series comes with comprehensive instructions for teachers and parents on how best to use this resource .  Teachers can use this as part of their main or supplemental curriculum.  Parents will appreciate the ease to which the materials are set up making it easy for students to work through the lessons.

Be sure to check out this wonder series and see why it is already a trending favorite with our customers.

The Case for Keeping Handwriting Practice in Our Schools

provided by Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
written by: Theresa Wooler

handwriting-blogIs handwriting here to stay? With our increased use of technology and day-to-day texting, typing, and tweeting, it’s no surprise that handwriting is suffering and may seem like a “lost art.” I see it in my own deteriorating handwriting and my children’s hybrid mix of print and cursive writing.

However, the scientific and psychological research supporting handwriting provides evidence that handwriting should be an integral part of the curriculum from preschool through high school.

Of the many reasons to keep handwriting instruction, here are two that I find most interesting:

1. Learning to write by hand is connected to reading acquisition–while typing and even tracing are not.

Research shows that teaching young children to write letters activates part of the brain that becomes crucial to reading. The act of shaping and forming letters develops successful phonological processing in early emergent readers and writers:

“The emerging consensus is that the motor experience of manually creating letterforms helps children discriminate the essential properties of each letter, which leads to more accurate representations, bolstering both skilled letter recognition and later reading fluency.” For more information see this article: “Neuroimaging correlates of handwriting quality as children learn to read and write.”

Another study, “The influence of writing practice on letter recognition in preschool children,” compared the differences between handwriting and typing for children 3 to 5 years old. The results showed that handwriting training contributed to the visual recognition of letters more effectively than typing training, among the older children in the test group.

2. Handwriting helps the brain process information.

Taking notes by hand has proven to help students better absorb and retain information in comparison to typing on a keyboard. In a white paper from the educational summit, Handwriting in the 21st Century?, Dr. Virginia Berninger of the University of Washington reported that “after studying students in Grades 2, 4, and 6, those who used handwriting wrote more words, wrote words faster, and expressed more ideas than those who used keyboarding.”

In recent studies by two psychologists, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of UCLA, college students who took notes by hand performed better than those who took notes on a laptop:

“In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.”

How to Keep Handwriting Alive

In her commentary entitled “Educating Students in the Computer Age to Be Multilingual By Hand,” Dr. Virginia Berninger offers this strategy to incorporate handwriting in the busy school day: “One effective, research-supported strategy is to teach handwriting at the beginning of lessons as “warm-up,” just as athletes do warm-up exercises before a game and musicians do warm-up exercises before a concert. The warm-up is then followed by spelling and composing instructional activities. Handwriting instruction does not have to take up valuable time for meeting other Common Core standards.”

dhp-book-cover2If you’re looking to improve your own handwriting (like I am!) or add handwriting instruction to your lesson plan, Evan-Moor’s Daily Handwriting Practice is a solution. Daily exercises in small doses help to practice and improve handwriting skills.

Handwriting, printing, and keyboarding all have their place in school and in preparing students for college and careers in the 21st Century. After all, Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs was a talented calligrapher!

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers has over 200 product specifically geared toward helping your students improve their handwriting skills.  Be sure to check out all their resources on this topic.


Evan-Moor Contributing Writer:
Theresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.

Special thanks to Evan-Moor and Theresa Wooler for giving us permission to share this educational article with  See this article on Evan-Moor’s blog here.

Welcome AKJ Education

We here at are excited to welcome AKJ Education to our family of publishers.

dedicatedteachers150x150For over 40 years, AKJ Education has been a leading provider of tradebooks and classroom library collections, offering the best in service and pricing.  Now, we have added new, supplemental products and services for social studies and language arts classrooms.  We are the exclusive provider of the social studies digital learning platforms, CICERO Kids and CICERO: History Beyond the Textbook, as well as social studies collections with CICERO Resource Packs and Common Core text sets.  We continue to grow to provide teachers, schools, and districts with high quality education materials.

New titles such as:

Cicero Resource Pack Civil War Grades 4-5

Cicero Resource Pack Civil War Grades 6-8

Cicero Resource Pack Revolutionary War Grades 4-5

Cicero Resource Pack World War II Grades 4-5

Cicero Resource Pack World War II Grades 6-8

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 6.39.50 PMCicero Resource Packs include two lesson plans and two classroom ready Power Point presentations. Lesson plans provide objectives, key terms, lesson details with homework, assessments, and extension activities. All lesson materials, reproducibles, and primary sources are included as well as historical background information. Classroom ready Power Point presentations help students gain a better understanding about events of the time period and can be used for teaching large group instruction or student review and research. Organized, easy-to-use and classroom ready.

Be sure to check out these wonderful educational resources now available at