Project LIT in the press

I wanted to thank Education Dive for highlighting the work of Project LIT Community.

We started as, really, a classroom project. I teach at Maplewood High School in Nashville, and in the fall of 2016, I had a group of sophomores I had taught the year before. There was an article that summer in The Atlantic, “Where Books Are All But Nonexistent,” about book deserts and how when you’re a child in a community with limited book access, the chances of you becoming an avid reader are really slim.

Long story short, I read that article with my students in the fall, that first week back in school, and said, “Hey, how do we want to solve this problem here in Nashville? How do we want to eliminate book deserts?”

Initially, the idea was a class project that would maybe last a month or a semester, and it’s evolved into something much bigger.

You can check out full interview here: Project LIT: How a Nashville educator turned a class project into a nationwide movement.

Additionally, shout out to News Channel 5 for stopping by Maplewood HS last week for our Project LIT Book Club.

We’ll post the video when the link becomes available, but in the meantime, here’s the article: Maplewood High School’s ‘Project Lit’ Helps Students, Adults Get Reading.

Happy reading!



Sunday 7: Project LIT Summit, Kwame’s “Rebound,” Black History Month & more

This week’s edition of the “Sunday 7” includes several book recommendations and an exciting Project LIT announcement. Before we begin, however, be sure read this beautiful blog post by my friend, Julia Torres.

Julia touches on the impact of Nic Stone’s (#BookBeyonce) recent life-changing visit to Montbello and what it takes to help students develop reading identities, especially those who grow up in book deserts, before addressing the most recent school shooting:

Love is also a verb.  It’s not just what you think, feel, or say.  It is not the expression of now-becoming-defunct “Thoughts and prayers”.  It’s what you do.  If we truly want change, we have to show that with our actions.  The future is now.  We cannot afford to wait for “someday”. Change has to begin today.

Unsurprisingly, it’s our students who are leading the way, demanding better, changing our world.

Angie Thomas Tweet

1. SAVE THE DATE: Project LIT Summit

I’m thrilled to announce that our inaugural Project LIT Summit will take place here in Nashville, TN on June 16, 2018. More details to come soon, but we’d love for you to join us as we spend the day celebrating our efforts to increase access to diverse books and promote a love of reading in schools and communities across our country!


Kwame does it again! Fans of The Crossover will not be disappointed with the prequel, which brings us back to the summer of 1988 as Chuck Bell struggles to cope with the loss of his father. Again, this book is about more than just basketball, and readers of all ages will find themselves rooting for Chuck from start to finish!

Rebound Bulletin

Good news for my Nashville friends who can’t wait for the April 3rd release: Kwame will be at Parnassus Bookstore this Wednesday (4 CT)! Hope to see you there!

3. Book store finds

A few of the gems I found during last week’s trip to McKay’s bookstore:

stack4. Next Project LIT Book Club: MARCH

One comment that stood out during our class discussion of the March series last week?

“The crazy part about this? It’s all real.”

I cannot recommend the trilogy enough — I’d argue it’s a must-read for MS & HS students. And Nashville friends, we’d love for you to join us in the Maplewood High School library on March 9 (7:30-8:30 AM) for our next Project LIT Book Club. We’ll be discussing books 1 and 2 of the trilogy.

march 1 and 2

5. Book and TV Recommendation

On a recent SI podcast with Richard Deitsch, writer Jonathan Abrams discussed his new book, All the Pieces: The Inside Story of The Wire, which I cannot wait to read. Abrams also recommended that fans of The Wire check out Showtime’s new series, The Chi. My wife and I binge watched all five episodes this weekend – it’s outstanding!

6. Celebrating Black History Month

Looking forward to Maplewood Read Inour school’s African American Read-In later this week!

7. Moment of the Week

One of my students was looking for a new book to read at home, so I handed her a copy of Long Way Down.

“Oh, it’s a Jason Reynolds book? I know it’s gonna be good.”

And with that, wishing everyone a wonderful week. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments via email ( or Twitter (@jarredamato). Thanks, as always, for reading!

Sunday 7: ACT “secrets,” access to relevant books, Nic Stone thank-you letters & more

Let’s get right into this week’s Sunday 7…

1.  The “secret” to improving ACT scores

To prepare for the ACT this spring, my high school juniors recently completed an English practice test. We decided to chunk the test over three class periods, which meant that each day I set a timer for 15 minutes and joined the students as we worked to complete 25 questions.

Then, we spent another 10-15 minutes reviewing answers, discussing test-taking strategies, and providing mini-lessons around specific skills.

By the end of the week, students had their first unofficial ACT score. The results? The majority of my 50+ juniors were at or above 21, the benchmark for college readiness, while the others were close – in the 18-20 range.

ACT scores

Does this guarantee that students will receive the same score on the real thing? Of course not. Is their success still worth celebrating? Absolutely!

“Mr. Amato, you make this ACT thing look really easy,” TJ told me this week.

And that’s the thing – English assessments aren’t complicated!

The test is easier when you read all the time, when you see yourself as a reader, when you have confidence in your reading ability, when you have the stamina to read silently for 45 consecutive minutes, when you’re comfortable with the test format, when you see the joy and value of reading, when you’ve been told that you will perform well…I could go on!

So, what’s the secret?! How can teachers and schools help students improve ACT scores?

There’s no magic formula or program, no set of texts or mandated curriculum that will do the trick. Instead, it’s a commitment to doing the little things, day in and day out, to build passionate and proficient readers.

And I believe this list is a good place to start:

top 10 tips

2. Article of the Week

If there’s one thing you read this week, make it this Ed Week interview with Jacqueline Woodson.

As Jacqueline states, “First and foremost, young people should be passionate about reading.”

So, how do we do that? How do we get young people passionate about reading?

Let’s start by making that the goal! Let’s start with all educators, schools, and communities working together to ensure that ALL of our students love to read. If we do that, the results (however you want to define them) will come.

If we want students to love reading, we need to give them access to relevant, engaging texts. As Jacqueline says, “If they don’t have access to books that speak to them, then we are already failing them.”

AA Lit Library

We need to help teachers develop diverse classroom libraries through both funding (good books aren’t cheap) and knowledge (many teachers don’t know what books to buy).

We need to make sure that all educators know about organizations like First Book and We Need Diverse Books and amazing authors Jason Reynolds. (Like Jacqueline, I’m shocked by the number of folks who still haven’t heard of Jason, but that’s a blog post for another day…)

We also need to make sure that that once teachers develop awesome libraries, they’re able to give students the time and space during the school day to read and celebrate the books they’ve worked so hard to get on their shelves. (There’s nothing worse than watching great books collect dust as students and teachers trudge through a scripted curriculum.)

3. Tweet of the Week

The good news is that there thousands of educators across the country who, like Jacqueline, believe that students deserve access to great books. My friend, Jessica Lingenfelter (@jessicatiara7), is one of them. And here’s what she tweeted this week:

Overheard at #ProjectLITBookClub: I haven’t read a book since 5th grade, then I got into Mrs. Lingenfelter’s class & she had cool books so I started reading again.

Sometimes it’s that simple…

4. Book store reflections

At the same time, as my wife and I spent a rainy Saturday morning at McKay’s Used Bookstore, I was reminded of two things: used books (especially the “cool” ones) aren’t cheap or easy to find.

Therefore, given the cost and scarcity of “cool” books, it’s no wonder many educators end up stocking their shelves with “blah” books (which is why I’m so excited to work alongside dozens of passionate Project LIT chapter leaders who are determined to change that).


5. Thank you, Nic

I touched on Nic Stone’s school visit in last week’s post, but I wanted to share a couple thank-you letters that our students wrote recently (there are dozens just like these):

Jay Thank You

And here’s another thank-you from Angel.

Angel Letter

6. Book of the Week

Excited to dive into the March trilogy with my students this month! It’s our next Project LIT Book Club selection, and we welcome all of you to join us in the Maplewood HS library on March 9!

march 1 and 2

7. Reminder: Project LIT Chat tonight!

We’d love for you to join us tonight (2-11) for our #ProjectLITchat on Twitter! Here’s a preview:

Twitter Chat questionsDon’t hesitate to reach out with any questions via email ( or Twitter (@jarredamato). Have a wonderful week, and as always, happy reading!

Sunday 7: Reflections from our Project LIT Book Club, featuring best-selling author Nic Stone

There’s a lot I will eventually write about Friday’s Project LIT Book Club.

Eventually, I’ll share the full journey, which in many ways begins in 2014, when my current juniors were in eighth grade, so that you can better understand how and why best-selling author and amazing human Nic Stone ended up at Maplewood High School on February 2, 2018, spending hours in our library snapping selfies, singing songs, answering questions, autographing books (and T-shirts), cracking jokes, and just listening to and loving our young people.

group pic DM

Eventually, I will find the words to properly thank Nic and capture the magic of that day, a day that my students and I will never forget. Eventually.

In the meantime, however, I figured it’d be best for you to hear from two of my favorite people, two students who inspire me and their classmates daily.

Let’s start with Jakaylia, who opened up our book club with this speech. Seriously, go ahead and watch it if you haven’t yet. And here’s what the speech looked like from her phone (because I know some of you still haven’t watched the video):

“Over The Past Few Months I’ve Had The Pleasure Of Getting To Know One Of My Favorite Authors Ever: Nic Stone, Best Selling Author of Dear Martin. I’ve Never Had The Opportunity To Personally Know One Of My Favorite Authors So For Her To Reach Out To Me Meant The Entire World. We’ve developed A Bond And She’s Inspired Me To Think Deeper About My Goals In Life And Never Giving Up. I’ve Always Had A Passion To Write Short Stories And Eventually Even Try To Write A Book. I Doubted Myself Because I Could Never Get Any Ideas Or I Would Beat Myself Up Once I Started Because I Felt Like It Wasn’t Good Enough. When I Had This Conversation With Nic a couple of weeks ago, She Told Me She Felt The Same Way And She Didn’t Know Where To Start But She Kept Trying. She Found It Within Herself To Be Different And Face Her Fears, Inspire Those Like Me Who Felt Like Writing Wasn’t For Them Or Got Discouraged Because Their Ideas Weren’t Supported. I Am Beyond Grateful And So Proud To Let Everyone Here This Morning Have The Same Amazing Opportunity That I’ve Had To meet and Hear From The One And Only Nic Stone. Before We Begin, We Wanted To Present Nic With Our Own Book. This Book Includes All Of Our Poems, Letters And Stories That Were Inspired By Dear Martin. We Hope That You Enjoy Reading Them As Much As We Enjoyed Writing Them.”

Nic 4 pics

And here’s what Chelsea, another one of our Project LIT leaders, tweeted out Friday night as she reflected on the day:

“Today was one of the best days of my entire life. Today I was able to be a part of something I could only dream of. I used to think that my writing was terrible. Until @jarredamato put me up to the challenge of writing essays and poems. I could never thank him enough. I also want to thank Nic personally for actually taking the time to read my poems and hangout with the kids at Maplewood. You were such a down to earth person. We hope you can attend a future book club with us. Thank you for believing in me and Maplewood. –CJ your favorite poet.”

Chelsea J




What it’s all about right there!

And with that, let’s get into our Sunday 7…

1. All students deserve the opportunity to read books like Dear Martin

So, here’s the question I’ve been thinking a lot about this weekend: How did this happen? How did Jakaylia end up with a microphone, surrounded by more than a hundred kind, caring, committed classmates and community members, introducing Nic Stone? How did Chelsea end up sharing her amazing poetry and artwork with an award-winning author?

Let’s start with the obvious: Nic Stone does not end up at Maplewood High School if my students do not have the opportunity to read Dear Martin.

Over the past year, since starting Project LIT Book Club in January 2017, my students and I have read and discussed the following books – The Crossover, March, Booked, Ghost, All American Boys, The Hate U Give, A Long Walk to Water, Solo, and Dear Martin – in addition to all of our self-selected reading.

At a time where teens are reportedly reading less frequently than ever, Jakaylia, Chelsea and the rest of their classmates are flying through at least one book a month.

Would this happen with some of the “classic” texts that many students are unfairly forced to read (or at least fake read) in the traditional classroom, where everything is designed for the comfort and convenience of adults?

Would this happen if I taught the books to death, forcing students to read the book at my pace and answer comprehension questions at the end of each chapter?

Would this happen if I forced my students to do all of their reading at home, even though I know that many are playing sports, working part-time jobs, looking after siblings, completing homework for seven or eight classes, and waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM to be at school by 7:05?

Not a chance.

Instead, for the first 20 to 30 minutes of every class period, Jakaylia sits on the black futon in the back of the room and gets lost in a book that values her and her classmates. She gets to meet Starr and Rashad and Justyce, compelling, complex characters that she can relate to and identify with. And then she gets to talk and write about what she’s reading in a safe and welcoming environment, where’s she encouraged to share her words with not only her classmates, but with the world. (And because of the relationship Jakaylia and I have developed over the past three years, she trusts me to snap pictures of her poems and text and tweet them to Nic.)

Nic group

2. That sounds great, but…

I can hear the questions now.

“But, how did you get all of those books? My school doesn’t have the money.”

“But, what about the standards?”

“But, why are you are always reading those books?”

Let me answer them in order:

My school doesn’t have the money either. That’s one of the reasons my students and I started Project LIT Community: to increase book access, and access to high-quality, culturally relevant books in particular.

We began by asking friends on Facebook and Twitter to send us books from our recommended reads list. Then, we put together a Donors Choose project for The Crossover, our first community-wide book club. Then, we began to apply for every literacy grant we could find (and while we were rejected by many, it only took a couple of wins to fill our classroom library with great books).

Through it all, we’ve been passionate and persistent, doing a little bit day in and day out, sharing our story on social media, and connecting with others (fellow educators, authors, and community members) who share our passion for helping all students fall in love with reading.

3. “But, what about the standards?”

What do all successful readers have in common? They read a lot!

Whether we’re talking ACT or an end-of-year state assessment, the top performers are generally those who have had the most hours of reading under their belts. Volume matters.

And that’s what I prioritize – inspiring students to see the joy and value of reading and writing, so that they continue to do both more often, not just for a year, but for a lifetime.

To be clear, I still teach the standards (here’s an older post on what my English block looks like), just not in a traditional way with one daily objective written on the board.

Of course, I’m constantly tweaking and refining my classroom structure, but it’s freeing to know that every day, without exception, my students will engage in meaningful reading and writing.

Is it perfect or the only way? Of course not. But, my students are happy to come to class every day. They feel cared for and valued and connected. They’re becoming better readers and writers and human beings, and that’s good enough for me.

4. “But, why are you are always reading those books?”

Here’s who I have zero patience or respect for: the folks who question the “complexity” of YA literature, particularly books featuring black and brown characters. These folks are almost always non-readers. Additionally, most of these folks do not spend meaningful time around black and brown children.

And here’s how I know that: because if they did read books like The Hate U Give, Dear Martin and Long Way Down, and if they did spend time listening to our young readers talk about these books and how they’ve changed their lives, they wouldn’t continue to make it so difficult for teachers to add them to our classrooms and curriculum.

(Side note: shout out to all the authors and educators out there who are working to diversify the canon despite the obstacles.)

There’s more I can and will say on this topic, but I’ll stop there because I’m already approaching 1,500 words and I’ve got Super Bowl appetizers to prepare.

5. Important community perspective

I wanted to relay a few comments that Allison Buzard, the wonderful Equity & Diversity Coordinator for our district, shared following our book club on Friday.

On Twitter, she wrote:

“Some key takeaways for me are: 1. Students can love to read if they can see themselves in the literature, if they can find their story in the plot line, if they have choice in the literature, and if they are engaged in discussion around the text. 2. Adults can love to read, too, if they are challenged to do so, if they can see themselves in the book, and if they can find their story in the story. The adults at my table discussion were as eager to discuss the book as the students. 3. Students are brilliant. I observed students leading peers and adults in discussions about racism and civil rights this morning. 4. Teachers, school and district staff, and community partners can and want to be engaged in schools. And they will engage if given opportunities. 5. We have some amazingly passionate, creative teachers in our district. We need to value and listen to them. They get it!”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Thank you, Allison.

6. Book of the Week

Dear Martin. Obviously.

7. Announcement – Black History Month Challenge

We’re encouraging teachers and students across the country to join NCTE’s effort to read and celebrate literature by African American writers throughout Black History Month. Learn more about the Project LIT Challenge here. AARI Challenge 2

Think that’s it for now. Thanks so much reading, and as always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions via email ( or Twitter (@jarredamato)! Have a wonderful week.

The Sunday 7: Classroom libraries, advice for new teachers, book recs & more

Happy Sunday, everyone! Let’s get right into it…

1. The importance of classroom libraries

Thanks to everyone for reading and sharing Friday’s blog post, which included three classroom stories from the past week.

One of my friends, Brittany Gendron (@readwritethrive) said it best in a Twitter post earlier this morning: “There are no silver bullets, but there are golden books. Wanting students to read more, raise scores, increase achievement, and change lives? It is this simple. Fund real, recent, authentic books.”

I understand that there are a lot of complex issues in education, issues that will require years, decades to solve. This shouldn’t be one of them.

Every classroom (fine, let’s start with every English classroom) should have hundreds of great books, books that reflect and value all of its readers. Additionally, every student in that classroom should have daily time to select and read and discuss these books.

Will this immediately solve all of our literary challenges? Of course not. But, it’s a great place to start.

Pic 5 12

2. Book of the Week: The Poet X

Wow, I haven’t stopped thinking and talking about this book since I finished it in class this week. I had about 20 pages left when our timer went off, signaling the end of our independent reading.

“Guys, let’s keep going for a few minutes.”

And so, as my students happily went back to their books, I raced to finish this beautiful novel in verse while simultaneously wishing that it would never end.

I usually have a hard time ranking books, but I have no problem saying this: The Poet X will be one of the books of the year, and I cannot wait get it into my students’ hands when it’s released in six weeks.

Poet X

3. Advice for pre-service teachers

This week, I had the opportunity to speak with 50 pre-service teachers at Lipscomb University. My advice? I tried to synthesize all of the advice friends and colleagues shared on Twitter, and because I’m a sucker for alliteration, settled on nine “Ps.”

Purpose – know your “why” so you can block out the noise

Passion – be passionate about your subject, your craft, and your students

Patience – with your students and yourself

People – surround yourself with positive people; seek out mentors

Pause – take time to reflect and journal

Practice – be open to feedback and don’t worry about being perfect, just getting better

Play – don’t forget to have fun and maintain a work-life balance

Plan – for every lesson and for your future

Persistence – don’t give up

teacher advice green4. As always, students know best

While I spent a few minutes sharing the above advice, the most important tips came from my students. When I asked them to write down what they’d tell new teachers, here’s what they had to say:

teacher advice blue5. Impromptu poetry contest

Looking for an engaging way to end a lesson?

It was fourth block on Friday, and we had about 10 minutes left before dismissal. Students were working in their writer’s notebooks when we decided to host an impromptu poetry contest.

How’d it work? Students wrote either “DEAR MARTIN” or “NO JUSTYCE” down the page and had five minutes to come up with their best acrostic poem. Here’s what we came up with:

Poetry DM6. Best thing I watched all week

What else can I say that hasn’t already been said? Thank you, Jason Reynolds.

7. Announcements

Nic, see you soon! We can’t wait.

DM Book Club 2

Wishing everyone a wonderful week. Don’t hesitate to reach out ( with any questions or comments! Thanks so much for reading.

Friday Reflections: Why I Teach

As we close out the week, I wanted to share three quick stories from my classroom.

Let’s start with Tyasia, one of my wonderful freshmen. It was Thursday, and we had just finished our daily read aloud of Dear Martin when she pulled out her phone.

“Tyasia, put that away.”

“No, I want to show you something.”

And so, as the rest of the class took out their writer’s notebooks, I crouched down to check out her phone.

“What’s up?”

“Look at this email I sent.”

Tyasia had emailed Yale University. Even better, she had already received a response from one of their admissions officers, thanking her for expressing interest.

For those who have read Dear Martin, you’ve already made the connection. But, for those who haven’t, Justyce McAllister, the protagonist of Nic Stone’s phenomenal debut novel, is a high school senior bound for Yale. And because Tyasia can see herself in Justyce, she now sees Yale as an option.

In that moment – one of those moments that reminds me why I teach – I had to hold back tears. I’m still emotional now.

The good news? Tyasia’s story reminds us that books still matter, that they still have the power to change lives. That, this is what can happen when schools and teachers commit to building classroom libraries that value all students.

Bad news? There are thousands of Tyasias across our country who, through no fault of their own, cannot read and discuss books like Dear Martin, cannot see themselves in their classroom curriculum, and cannot attend their dream schools like Yale and Spelman.

We’ve got to do better. (Which is why I’m so excited to work alongside dozens of passionate, persistent Project LIT Community chapter leaders who are committed to the same thing: increasing access to diverse books and promoting a love of reading in our schools and communities).

DM notebooks

The second story is about Adriana, another one of my freshmen. She walked into class today with a huge smile on her face.

“Mr. Amato, guess what?”

She pulled out a copy of Erika Sanchez’s I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter from her bag. She had taken it home Wednesday after spotting it in our classroom library (the beautiful cover – and title – caught her attention).

“I started this yesterday and I’m already on chapter six. Julia’s exactly like me. And her mom sounds just like mine.”

Adriana continued.

“I never used to like reading before this year.”

What’s the difference?

“You just have better books.”

The best part? Adriana returned at the end of the day with her friend, asking if she could borrow a copy, too.

“Of course.”

I am not

Story #3 is similar. On Wednesday, after our independent reading time, RK called me over to her seat as she held out a copy of Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down.

“Mr. Amato, I finished this book in two days! I’m so proud of myself.”

Again, I did my best to keep my emotions in check. As we talked a bit about the ending (of course, RK wanted to know if Jason was going to write a sequel), RK began to hype the book to the classmates around her.

It’s one thing for me to sell a book, but when a student does it? So much more powerful.

The next day a student knocked on my door.

“Can I have a copy? RK told me I had to read it.”

That’s all I’ve got for now. Have a great weekend, everyone! And be sure to check out this conversation between Jason Reynolds & Trevor Noah. I think I’ve watched it 10 times already…


The Sunday Seven: Snow week reflections, independent reading, book club tips & more

Let’s get right into this week’s “Sunday Seven.”

1. “Snow” week reflections

What happens when Nashville schools are closed all week due to three inches of snow? Caring, committed educators take time to connect and collaborate online and in person.

On Wednesday, we organized a special edition of our #ProjectLITchat on Twitter, and dozens of teachers and education leaders, including Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Candice McQueen, spent an hour sharing book recommendations and literacy strategies. On Friday, a group of Nashville educators met a local coffee shop to do more of the same, discussing ways we can work together to promote a love of reading.

When we talk about what it’s going to take to improve education, particularly literacy outcomes, I firmly believe that it’s little moments like these – educators working together to improve their practice – that matter most. Doing a little bit each day to improve one’s self and others. Sitting down at a table (or logging onto a Twitter chat) and engaging with other folks who are doing the work. Learning and growing together, borrowing/stealing best practices, and inspiring one another.

I recommend that other education leaders/policymakers follow Dr. McQueen’s example and join educators in these authentic conversations, and develop more ways to build community and promote collaboration at the school and district level.

2. Research supporting independent reading

Question for readers: What is the best research out there to support independent reading? I know that all students deserve daily time to read in school (and I’m sure you know that, too), but many teachers are forced to defend this practice. I’m planning to organize a list of articles/studies that support independent reading in the classroom, but I have a feeling it already exists…Any links would be greatly appreciated!

In the meantime, here are the results from my students’ end-of-year reading survey. Feel free to use any or all of the questions with your own readers!

End of Year Survey Project LIT 23. Book club tips

A few tips for those looking to start a classroom, school or community-wide book club:

  • Start small – whether it’s one class, a few students, or a group of teachers. It will grow naturally over time.
  • Determine your purpose & audience – Why are you doing it? What do you hope to accomplish? Who do you want to engage?
  • Work together to select the book(s) – be sure the readers are excited about the book(s) you’re reading, even if it’s throwing out three options and letting students pick their favorite.
  • Work together to secure enough copies – empower students to develop a fundraising campaign. Students can work together to create social media graphics and short video clips, apply for local grants, and write persuasive letters to community members.
  • Don’t be afraid to promote – it’s okay to remind folks of upcoming events and share ways they can support you and your students, whether that’s through Facebook & Twitter or email updates.
  • And finally, just do it! It doesn’t have to be fancy. Even if it’s just a few students discussing Dear Martin over donuts or a class enjoying pizza together as they discuss Long Way Down, it’s absolutely worth it.

Nic 1

4. What if…

What if we ensured that all students could see themselves on the shelves in all of our classroom libraries?

What if we guaranteed that every child, every day, in every school had the chance to read for at least 20 minutes in a quiet, comfortable environment?

5. Our students are reading role models

In our #ProjectLITchat this week, I loved hearing educators discuss successful “reading buddies” programs at their schools.

We’ve got to make it easier for our high school students to read to/mentor local middle and elementary school students…the value for both groups (the older and younger students) is tremendous!

6. Book of the Week

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. Beautiful, breathtaking novel full of sprawling sentences that I wanted to read over and over again. Shout out to Barack Obama for the recommendation!

Book Stack Exit West

7. Announcements

Join us tonight (1/21) for our next #ProjectLITchat!


Nashville readers, here’s how you can discuss Dear Martin over the next few weeks. We’re organizing community discussions on 1/27 and 2/10 (10 AM at Frothy Monkey in the Nations).

We’re also hosting our student-run Project LIT Book Club, featuring best-selling author Nic Stone, on February 2 in the Maplewood HS library.

DM Book Club 2

Have a wonderful week, and thanks so much for reading! If there’s anything you’d like me to address in a future blog post, don’t hesitate to reach out via Twitter, email (, or in the comments below.