For Teachers, Librarians, and Parents


Jasmine Can is a tender story that describes how a second grader becomes a reader. Jasmine learns quickly that learning how to read is not easy. She struggles with saying the sounds of the alphabet and reading words on flashcards. She realizes early on that she's not a, "good reader" like Chloe Brown, a classmate who finds reading to be easy and enjoyable.

One day Jasmine reads about a courageous baby polar bear and forms a strong connection with him. The connection is so strong it prompts her to do something she's never done before--raise her hand to read in front of the class. Jasmine is greatly supported by her teacher, Mr. Benson, and classmates, and finds that reading can be an enjoyable experience if you're willing to take a chance.

The story behind Jasmine Can

When I was volunteering in my daugher's classroom one morning, her teacher and I had a conversation about the challenges and difficulties many children face today in reading. After listening to her talk, I thought to myself, "these are the same concerns I had as a teacher 21 years ago. Not much has changed." This was very unsettling.

When I got home that afternoon, I decided to write a book, Jasmine Can, to highlight a child's experience in learning how to read based on my teaching experiences and childhood memories. My vision for the book was two-fold: (1) for teachers/librarians to use it as a way to motivate and inspire children to become proficient, independent readers, and (2) to let children know that they are not alone in their journey to become strategic readers, as difficult and challenging as the process may seem at times.

                                                Even university professors are reading Jasmine Can!

Pre-Reading Activities for
September’s Big Assignment

Though the story does not go into depth about WWl we know it was an important part of America’s Cultural History.  Watch videos on WWI and engage in discussions about what it was like when Tweet was born compared to what it was like when the students were born.  What are some major differences?
Click the following link to learn more about WWI:
Similarly, the story does not provide a lengthy description about the Great Depression, but it was also a significant time in American history.  Discuss the hardship faced by many Americans during this time period.  What happened when people lost their jobs?  What happened to the education system?  Why did children drop out of school? 
Click the following link for additional information on the Great Depression:
Vocabulary/ Use of Language
The vocabulary in the story is age appropriate, but students should be encouraged to understand unfamiliar words and try to define them using clues from the context.  Such words may include:  empowers (p. 2), elite (p. 10), ornery, (p. 19), hypothesis (p. 24), rhetorical (p. 26), berserk (p. 29), sarcastically (p. 31), nocturnal (p. 33), narcotics (p. 35), muffled (p. 41), bonjour mes amis (p. 51), merci (p. 51), voracious (p. 52), surge (. 58), adamant (p. 66), peculiar (p. 67), keepsake (p. 69), short-winded (p. 72), hospitable (p. 79), suspiciously (p. 81), assiduous (p. 82), splotch (p. 84), declares (p. 89), sacrifices (p. 89), wits (p. 92), rebellion (p. 96), piqued (p. 97), resonate (p. 97), and hysterically (p. 100).
For more on vocabulary click the following link:



A Magical Encounter:  Latino Children's Literature In The Classroom (2nd Edition) by Alma Flor Ada
Multiethnic Children's Literature by Gonzalo Ramirez Jr. & Jan Lee Ramirez
Teaching Hispanic Children by Toni Griego Jones & Mary Lou Fuller
Socially Responsible Literacy:  Teaching Adolescents for Purpose and Power by Paula M. Selvester & Deborah G. Summers
Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance:  Poverty, Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital by Susan B. Neuman & Donna C. Celano
Learning from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms:  Using Inquiry to Inform Practice by Joan C. Fingon & Sharon H. Ulanoff
Be That Teacher!:  Breaking the Cycle for Struggling Readers by Victoria J. Risko & Doris Walker-Dalhouse
Don't Leave the Story in the Book:  Using Literature to Guide Inquiry in Early Childhood Classrooms by Mary Hynes-Berry
"You Gotta Be the Book":  Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading with Adolescents (2nd Edition) by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm
Reading Girls:  The lives and Literacies of Adolescents by Hadar Dubowsky Ma'ayan
Bridging Literacy and Equity:  The Essential guide to Social Equity Teaching by Althier M. Lazar, Patricia A. Edwards, & Gwendolyn Thompson McMillion
The Book Whisperer:  Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

Navigating your way through the Common Core State Standards

Teaching with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts:  PreK-2 by Lesley Mandel Morrow, Timothy Shanahan, & Karen K. Wixson
Teaching with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts:  Grades 3-5 by Lesley Mandel Morrow, Karen K. Wixson, & Timothy Shanahan
Pathways to the Common Core:  Accelerting Achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, & Christopher Lehman
Best Practice:  Bringing Standards to Life in America's Classroom (4th Edition) by Steven Zemelman, Harvey Daniels, & Arthur Hyde
Comprehension & Collaboration:  Inquiry Circles in Action by Stephanie Harvey & Harvey Daniels
With Rigor For All:  Meeting Common Core Standards for Reading Literature by Carol Jago
Energize Research reading & Writing:  Fresh Strategies to Spark Interest, Develop Independence, and Meet Key Common Core Standards by Christopher Lehman
Teaching Argument Writing:  Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning by George Hillocks, Jr.
Smart Writing:  Practical Units for Teaching Middle School Writers by Laura Robb