Monday, August 6, 2012

Helping Kids to Love Reading

  How to Teach a Love of Reading Without Getting Fired

Okay, teacher colleagues, you understand this title!  I also struggled for years with mandated curriculum that was killing any love of reading in my high school English classes.  Then one day I decided to do things differently . . . .

For the last twenty years of my career (of thirty-five years) I made my classes exciting centers of independent reading and writing, while still following the curriculum enough to keep my job.  The students loved my classes, I loved my job, and years later I would see students who would tell me they were still reading.  Even though I taught the lowest level sophomore classes (as well as some advanced classes)  I never had a student fail the state assessment tests.  I found this technique worked for poor readers as well as excellent readers.

I've included an appendix in the back which has my course descriptions, and the sample tests and essay assignments that incorporate independent reading.  I've also included some student essays, so you can see what kind of wonderful work you can get from students when you open up your curriculum

I've published this myself, and you can read it on an e-reader for the very low price of $0.99.  I'm not trying to make money, just get the word out.  It can be found at as well as in Barnes and Noble, the Apple store, etc.

I'd love to hear from all of you still on the front lines.  Been there . . .

Mary Leonhardt

A Quirky Smile and Juliet, from Paris France.

This is a little teenage novella I wrote just for fun--since we teachers should be writers as well, yes?  

It's about a cute cheerleader who falls for a computer geek, and finds out that her notions of what is cool and popular have been all wrong.  Realistic setting in Concord, Massachusetts.   No sex, violence, or profanity.  Just a fun read.
Also just $0.99.  Also can be found at and should be at Barnes and Noble and the Apple websites in a couple of weeks.

Note the great covers on these first two books.  They were designed by Mike Munoz who can be found at  

99 Ways to Get Kids to Love Reading

I published this book awhile ago, and Crown Publishing still holds the copyright.  They are charging $13.99 for the e-book, and $15.00 for the paperback.  It's a great book for parents;  I'm sorry it's so expensive.  

Again, you can find it at any store online and occasionally even in a regular bookstore.


99 Ways to Get Kids to Love Writing

This is another book I did for Crown Publishing.  It is also ridiculously expensive--$13.99 for the e-book, and $15.00 for the paperback.  It's another good book for parents and, again, I'm sorry it's so expensive.

Coming Soon:  

The 7 Toxic Reading Myths that are Killing School Reform


I am also planning on revising and publishing as inexpensive e-books the earlier ones I published with Crown Publishing:  Parents who Love Reading, Kids who Don't, Keeping Kids Reading, and 99 Ways to Get your Kids to Do Their Homework.  They are currently out of print, and my agent has put in a formal request for Crown either to republish them or return the copyright to me.   I'm expecting, and hoping, to get the copyright back.

I would love to hear from any readers out there who are also trying to turn the children in their lives into avid readers.  It's all about reading, isn't it?  I'm convinced the education crisis is a reading crisis.

Mary Leonhardt
August 6, 2012

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