Each month, we share five things we love as part of our Footnotes Newsletter. Dive into our April 2024 edition to discover the latest English language arts resources, articles, and other gems that we think you should see!

1. How Slow Reading Can Change Your Brain

The fast-paced nature of our world has conditioned us to read as much as possible in as little time as possible. But are we really connecting with the words we see? In this insightful video, architect and YouTuber Dami Lee explores not only the emotional and cognitive processes behind slow reading, but also how our reading habits are affected by the physical environments around us.

2. How to Use the “What Do You Notice?” Strategy in ELA

Whether it’s exploring poetry, reading a new novel, or starting a writing unit, ELA teacher Abby Gross has a tried-and-true way to get students personally invested in a lesson. After introducing them to a text or topic, she asks students what they notice about it, prompting them to observe, question, and reflect independently. Learn more about her innovative strategy and how you can adopt it in your own classroom at her blog!

3. 5 Questions to Help Kids Become Critical Readers

Speaking of inquiries, ELA teacher Marilyn Pryle has a few matters on reading to tackle. With social media algorithms directly influencing how people interact with the world, students need strong critical reading skills now more than ever. By asking five key questions, students can learn how to pinpoint the origins, implications, biases, and persuasive techniques within media. See what those questions are at Middle Web!

4. How many verb tenses are there in English?

Ask the average student how many tenses exist in English, and they’ll probably come up with three: past, present, and future. But we know there’s more to it than that! This clever animated video by TED-Ed gives an overview of the twelve different verb tenses using easy-to-follow example sentences and funny visuals.

5. Taylor Swift: A Modern Dickinson?

There’s no doubt Taylor Swift is one of the most notable pop culture figures of our time. But is her writing prowess on the same level as the legendary Emily Dickinson? Have your students decide! At her website, educator Laura Randazzo presents several literary analysis activities for class discussion using paired comparisons between Dickinson's poems and Swift's songs.