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Blackbird & Company

Read for Comprehension

Reading comprehension has been reduced to filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil. Thriving bookstore chains around the nation stock workbooks by the dozens to improve reading comprehension scores on standardized tests.

Liam reading Roald DahlWhen readers become emotionally involved in a story, they will be intrigued by its details. Retaining detailed story tidbits is not automatic, it is a skill that needs to be formally introduced and practiced. While the process of teaching a reader to comprehend the complexities involved in a story may seem mundane on the surface, the job of the teacher is to help the student value the long range possibilities of this skill, to encourage students that understanding a story develops creative thought. Students who dig into the task of building comprehension skills will bask in the pleasure of reading.

Strong reading comprehension skills will follow a student into adulthood. The reality is, there are few short cuts in education. Reading comprehension requires self-motivation, good work habits, and strategy:

Know the Structure of Writing
Most of the time, the first sentence will give a hint about the paragraph’s topic. Because paragraphs always have a beginning, middle, and end, watch for words and phrases that change the topic.

Make Predictions
Anticipating and predicting ideas by asking questions about a story as you read reinforces comprehension of the story.

Pay Attention to Details
Follow the development of the characters, setting, and plot.

Re-read sections to develop a deeper understanding.

Ultimately it is the students who believe their work is valuable, and who are encouraged to press into that work, who will enjoy success in this and all subject areas. Building reading comprehension skills requires a long-term commitment, Blackbird & Company is devoted to contributing to your success.


Start a Summer Book Circle

Book CircleWhile the normal school routine slows down and shifts during the summer months, reading should be a year-round delight. A fun way to motivate your children to keep reading and to make it a community affair is to start a book circle. Make a pitcher of lemonade or some brownies and invite a group of friends over weekly to discuss a great story. Blackbird & Company guides offer engaging and thought provoking discussion questions to help inspire your time together.

Book Circle Sale: Buy two or more bundles of the same title and receive a 15% discount through July 15. Simply enter book circle in the discount code box when you checkout.

Browse the many great titles we have at every reading level.
A couple of our favorite book circle stories include:

Seven WondersThe Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

by Betty G. Birney

A tale of transformation, of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, of the wonderful things that can happen anywhere, to anyone.

LocomotionThe Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

Only two people hold all the clues to solving a mystery that will lead to a great inheritance. One is a Westing heir...
The other is you, the reader!


“In summer, the song sings itself.”

—William Carlos Williams   

making books

Flat Michael

Breathe some creativity into your summer days by making your own books. Be resourceful with materials you find around the house like paper bags, cereal boxes, fabric and string. Make palm-sized mini books and large epic books! Then fill your creations with anything and everything: poetry, family history, nature observations, comics, vacation diaries, interviews, short stories, sketches, favorite words. Another great alternative to making your own books is to purchase blank books, ready and waiting for little writers, artists and poets to fill with their own creations.




see us in long beach

For those of you attending CHEA on July 9-11, come visit us in the vendor hall. We'll be leading a workshop on the art of poetry, as well as unveiling our new Exploring Poetry and Earlybird Poetry Guides. Hope to see you there!


join our flickr group

We’ve created a place where you can share projects your students are creating as they explore and are inspired by great stories! It’s a great place to catch some inspiration and it’s easy to join. Check us out and upload your photos to the group pool at www.flickr.com/groups/blackbirdandco/


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about us

We love books! Reading is a passion in our families and classrooms and we believe that great stories have the power to instruct, inspire and enlighten. With beauty and clarity, we desire to provide tools that will foster your students' delight in learning and encourage them to become lifelong readers!


Blackbird & Company Educational Press

11613 Washington Place, Los Angeles, CA 90066 | Visit our website blackbirdandco.com

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