Sunday, July 22, 2012

Conference Recap #1: Strong Female Characters

Happy Sunday, friends! As I mentioned here, I attended a jam packed literacy conference this past week/weekend. It was hosted by the National Council of Teachers of English and held right here in the great state of Missouri. I was surrounded by educators from all over the country. Several traveled from Georgia, New York, Iowa and so on.

Over the next couple of days, I'll be sharing the AWESOME information and ideas I took away from the conference. I had to pick between 5 (give or take) sessions each time slot. Sometimes it was a tough choice. A real coin flipper!

First, I'll talk about the session titled "Strong Girls Read Strong Books: The Jennifer Project" This was presented by an excellent group of educators from the University of Iowa. In this session, the Iowa educators presented their research on females in stories. In their home districts, book clubs were created outside of school with females to promote a love of literacy. In addition to listening to their fascinating research, we were given a reference list of oodles of great books to read.

To begin the session, we were asked the question, "What is a strong girl?" Followed by, "What is a strong female character?" Is there a difference? What strong female characters can you think of? Immediately, we all thought of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Any Hunger Games fans can agree that Katniss is one strong and independent soul. I jotted down this note in my journal, "A strong character doesn't mean she is loud or assertive. She can be quiet but strong willed and determined." Sometimes, strong characters can even be those females who we can all relate to.

Don't we all wish that we had an infinite bank of money to purchase books with? My classroom library consists of many books because of garage sales, scholastic bonus points, and generous donors. I'm always searching for powerful books to include in my library and boy-oh-boy... I've got some great titles for you. Click on the title and I've linked it to Amazon for quick purchase. Now, I just need to win an Amazon giftcard for $1,000.

Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart by Vera B. Williams

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic by Robert Burleigh

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Dyamonde Daniel series by Nikki Grimes (a speaker at the conference!)

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

My Mother's Voice by Joanne Ryder

Call me Hope by Gretchen Olsen

Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine

Do you have any titles that you would like to share? Please post them in a comment. I would love to hear about rich literature that you're using in your classroom.


  1. Hi Jordan! Thanks for linking up and showcasing these books. Many of them are new to me. I just ordered Inside Out & Back Again from (you guessed it) Amazon. I will definitely have to check out the others. I L.O.V.E. book too and your conference sounds amazing!!
    The Teaching Thief

  2. I absolutely LOVE Mockingbird. I have a master's in special ed, so of course the topic is close to my heart. I read this book with my class of 5th graders this past year as a novel study and we had such a great bond over it. I hope you'll share it with your class this year!

    1. Hi Stacy! What kinds of activities did you do as a novel study? I would LOVE to incorporate this novel into my class this year.


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