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, and more we found in October!

1. 3 Halloween Reading Activities for Middle School ELA

Looking for Halloween activities that are eerie, entertaining, and educational? Head to The Secondary English Coffee Shop! From examining superstitions to solving mysteries, these easy-to-use activities will get students into the Halloween spirit while learning core ELA skills.

2. The World’s Most Mysterious Book

Speaking of mysteries, here’s one that’s been haunting historians and literary experts since 1912. In this TED-Ed video, learn about the enigmatic Voynich manuscript, a book from the 1400s that contains strange illustrations and words written in an unknown language. If your students want to see the manuscript for themselves, visit Yale University Library’s digital collections. They’ve uploaded pictures of the entire book for free!

3. What Is a Root Word?

Root words play an important role in understanding unfamiliar vocabulary, particularly in subjects like science and social studies. In this article for We Are Teachers, you’ll find a quick overview on the basics of root words and five different strategies you can use in the classroom to reinforce word root study.

4. 9 Tips for Writing Spine-Chilling Horror

Aspiring horror writers in your class will love this video! At her Youtube channel, fiction author Lynn D. Jung shares nine creative writing concepts to keep in mind to maximize any horror story’s scare factor. Please note the video contains an instance of profanity. We suggest previewing the video to make sure it’s appropriate for your students before sharing it.

5. Thrills! Chills! Using Scary Stories to Motivate Students to Read

Here’s another reading activity with scary stories as the focus! After exploring the structure of a horror story, students will have the opportunity to write one of their own. Though it’s intended to be used with the Goosebumps book series, this lesson plan works with any horror work. Get the full lesson at the Read Write Think resource library.