Each month, we share five things we love as part of our Footnotes Newsletter. Take a look at some of our favorite English language arts resources, articles, videos, and more we found in April!

1. Test Prep Favorite: Character Analysis Task Cards

Character analysis is a great way for students to engage with stories, but it can be difficult to teach. At Mrs. Beers, language arts teacher Erin Beers shares her suggestions for getting students involved in character analysis. She shows examples of task cards she created to help her students think deeper about characters, consisting of a quote and a prompt for students to describe how the character in the text is feeling by providing evidence.

2. Poetry 180

Designed by former Poet Laureate of the United States, Billy Collins, Poetry 180 is a way to make poetry a part of every high school student's day! There is a list of poems for every day of the approximately 180-day school year, and Collins suggests having a student or faculty member read a poem over the announcements each day. His goal is for students to read and listen to poetry without the pressure of academic requirements. More information and the list of poems can be found on this page from the Library of Congress.

3. COVID’s Educational Crisis: A Lost Generation?

This video from CBS Sunday Morning highlights just how much the pandemic affected students, from their grades to their mental health. While the data seems bleak, experts in this video explain what methods seem to be helping students and how educators around the country can utilize them to put their students on the path to future success.

4. 16 Page-Turning Historical Fiction Books for Readers of All Ages

Historical fiction is one of those genres that students can’t help but love. These stories give students a way to explore significant moments of the past and connect with those who were there—all without needing a time machine! Check out this post at We Are Teachers for some great historical fiction titles that are perfect for younger and older readers alike.

5. Top 5 Best YA Graphic Novels You Need to Read in 2023

There’s a reason why graphic novels continue to be one of the top-selling book categories for kids and young adults. With eye-catching artwork, captivating stories, and relatable characters, graphic novels offer students another way to interact with and gain an appreciation for literature. In this post for Nouvelle ELA, Carina Assayed shares five incredible YA graphic novels that will have students clamoring to read more!