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Blackbird & Company

A Lump of Coal

A book on a shelf is like a lump of coal waiting to be transformed into a diamond. For those who know how to use them, books will spark curiosity, evoke imagination, and foster deeper thinking. Great stories also encourage students to persevere in the complex tasks they encounter while reaching for life’s potential.

The question remains... In an age when electronic devices are at the top of everyone’s wish list, how do we inspire students to open a book?

  • To begin with, provide support and structure to help students pace their way through a piece of literature. This will help them to embrace and absorb what they once may have feared or felt intimidated by.
  • Read portions of the story out loud to your student, this allows them to envision the story without having to simultaneously exercise emerging decoding skills. Illuminating nuances in the narrative, which otherwise might be missed by novice readers, will entice them to read on their own. Seeing you excited and engaged in the story will inspire students and instill a positive attitude toward books.
  • Schedule consistent discussion circles where students are heartened to examine how the story speaks to issues that are relevant to everyday life.
  • Finally, and quite simply, supply your students with a plethora of outstanding books for them to mine.

Give your readers a lump of coal and help them discover the diamond potential that lives within great stories.

Because we believe there are riches to be found in both classic and contemporary literature, you will find a diverse selection on our website for every level of reader. Below are a few of our recommended gems!

The Matchlock GunThe Matchlock Gun
by WalterD. Edmonds
Level 1 (grades 1-3)

Diamond: Courage

The Iron GiantThe Iron Giant
by Ted Hughes
Level 1 (grades 1-3)

Diamond: Peace

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerFrom the Mixed-up Files of
Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

by E. L. Konigsberg
Level 2 (grades 3-5)

Diamond: Perseverance

Macaroni BoyMacaroni Boy
by Katherine Ayres
Level 2 (grades 3-5)

Diamond: Compassion

Eight CousinsEight Cousins
by Louisa May Alcott
Level 3 (grades 5-7)

Diamond: Belonging

Pictures of Hollis WoodsPictures of Hollis Woods
by Patrica Reilly Giff
Level 3 (grades 5-7)

Diamond: Trust

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.

– James Bryce    

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

this month’s contest

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

These immortal lines are from the well known poem, “'Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Who wrote this poem and what was its original title?

Special bonus question:
What is a courser?

Email your entry to: takeflight@blackbirdandco.com, with “Donder and Blitzen” in the subject line, before December 31. All correct answers will be entered in a drawing to win a free level 1, 2, or 3 literature bundle of your choice.

coming soon

We’re excited to share with you a new batch of stories. Look for six new guides coming in January ‘08:

  • Stone Fox (L1)
  • The Year of Miss Agnes (L1)
  • The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet (L2)
  • The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs (L2)
  • The Mozart Season (L3)
  • The Thief Lord (L3)

join the conversation

Share your ideas and questions with us. How are you using your literature guides? Do you have a book suggestion? We’d love to hear from you so email us!

about us

We love books! Reading is a passion in our families 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 student’s delight in learning and encourage them to become lifelong readers!

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Blackbird & Company<br>Educational Press

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