selected works

professional books for classroom teachers
In Writers ARE Readers, the mutually supportive roles of reading and writing are made visible through the idea of "flipsides": how reader's insights can be turned around to provide insights into his own writing, and vice versa. Lester and Reba's trademark engaging style is woven throughout chapters full of sample lessons, student writing samples, and recommended texts for maximizing the flipped concept across the year.
The 1970s' VW Beetle Owner's Manual found in the glove compartment of every Bug gave drivers security in knowing that whatever went wrong, there was always a quick fix to get them back on the road. The Writing Teacher's Troubleshooting Guide uses the same clear, concise format to offer practical ideas for helping students who may be out of gas, idling for too long,or just plain stuck in a rut. Lester and Reba first help you "notice and name" particular struggles that writers may have, identify possible causes, and then offer specific tools to nudge writers toward their next level of development. Their vast knowledge & appreciation for children's literature is showcased in the mentor texts they suggest to support your teaching. Don't let minor breakdowns stall your student's writing journey. With the Writing Teacher's Troubleshooting Guide in your back pocket, you'll always have a quick repair to keep them moving forward.
Professional books for classroom teachers
Bullying Hurts is not your same-old antibullying guide. Lester and Reba show how the read aloud, a familiar and proven instructional technique, can be used as a powerful way to neutralize bullying behaviors, create community in the classroom, and help you meet the Common Core State Standards all at the same time. Bullying Hurts does more than help children gain insights and language needed to confront and neutralize the behaviors of bullies. It convinces us that by working together, we really can prevent bullying.
Children's Literature
Review from Publishers Weekly: Three Hens and a Peacock Lester L. Laminack, illus. by Henry Cole, Peachtree, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-564-5 What might have been an ordinary be-yourself story is enhanced by Laminack's (Snow Day!) surprisingly thoughtful storytelling. Three hens on the Tuckers' farm are sick with envy when a peacock shows up and attracts the attention of passersby, drawing customers and electrifying the farm's roadside stand business. Laminack characterizes the hens with a fine ear for their Golden Girls outrage; they sound quite human. "We do all the work around here," fumes one. "I'd like to see that peacock lay one single egg." "Exactly," agrees another. "He just struts around screaming." The hens trade places with the peacock, dressing up in beads and ribbons and trying to attract customers--with predictable results. The warmth of the story is a bit overshadowed by the goggle eyes of Cole's (One Pup's Up) barnyard characters; the illustrations go for big guffaws and slapstick instead, and largely succeed. The final spreads--which suggest further complications with the arrival of an ostrich--add a final touch of humor, effectively keeping the book from feeling message-heavy. Ages 4Ė8. (Mar.)
Just the possibility of a snow, the mere mention of snow in the forecast can send the imagination spinning. Children (of all ages) will delight in the anticipation of a day with lots and lots of snow and----NO SCHOOL!
The 100th Day of School is a BIG event for young children everywhere. And Jake, like most children has been working on his very special collection for a long time. But in the excitement of the big day Jake rushes out to catch the bus and leaves something very important behind. Find out how a very caring principal helps save the day.
A heartwarming tribute to the love of a grandmother and the importance of making memories.
"...tender depiction of a life well-lived, which speaks to the value of maintaining loving relationships, even when they are altered by Alzheimer's disease."
Although he is happy about having a loose tooth, Trevor worries when his classmates tell him some of the ways others might try to pull out the tooth.
Professional Books for Classroom Teachers
A close look at spelling instruction and assessment in the writing workshop
A thorough overview of establishing and maintaining the writing workshop in the K-6 classroom
Bringing picture books and read-aloud into the curriculum to build vocabulary and both broaden and deepen conceptual frameworks for units of study in the content areas.
You'll find 14 ready-to-use mini-lessons to introduce your students to techniques and literary elements. Carefully selected anchor texts provide inspiration for exploring each technique and element. In addition, a professional workshop to use on your own or with colleagues will deepen your own knowledge base. This "workshop-in-a-book," also perfect for literacy coaches and teacher leaders, demonstrates how to read like a writer, identify "craft moves," and form theories about why the moves were made. The DVD features Lester explaining how writers practice audible and visual craft, using "Satudays and Teacakes" to illustrated both. The DVD also includes downloadable forms that you can share with your students to explore author's craft and to monitor their evolving understanding. Use the DVD to have Lester talk directly to the class, or use the book to present the lessons yourself. Either method will help you teach your students to develop their own "craft moves," which will enliven and refine their writing.
A year long focus on poetry for the K-2 classroom. Includes a big book of original poetry and two guide books to create a poetry environment, a focus on reading poetry and a formal unit of study on writing poetry.
The premise is simple yet potent: you can make every read aloud intentional, so the book becomes the richest opportunity imaginable for not only inspiring your students with the magic of story but also stretching them instructionally. With Lester as your guide, you'll learn how to help your students observe and explore what the author did, how he or she did it and why.

Thanks for checking in. I'd love to hear from you....


June 19, 2011

My friend Reba Wadsworth and I have a new book in the works. It is devoted to helping children and teachers cope with bullying in our schools.

We are underway and working swiftly, but we would love your input. Please feel free to share your stories--your own personal experiences or stories from your teaching experience. Of course, we urge you to be conscious of protecting the names of students.

We would also love to hear about your favorite children's and young adult books on the topic.



  1. June 21, 2011 11:24 AM EDT
    Lester, I love the book Stand Tall edited by David Booth and published by Brightpoint Literacy as a part of Boldprint Kids . It is written on about a 3rd grade level but would be a great resource K-5. It not only includes 10 ways to stop a bully but explains how, where and why bullying might happen.
    - Barbara Gratsch
  2. June 21, 2011 10:58 PM EDT
    I teach kindergarten (and I'm a huge fan:) in Helena, Alabama at Helena Elementary and focus daily on community and helping the children learn to resolve conflict. I love the book, The Bully Blocker Club. I use it a little later in the year to discuss the power the bystander has in a bullying situation. It is great for young children.
    I am so excited you are working on this project. It is so important to teach children not only tolerance of those different from them, but to teach them acceptance and to embrace the differences in us all. I believe that if we start instilling these values in them at a young age, they can grow up changing this world for the better!
    - Melanie Henderson
  3. July 31, 2015 12:18 PM EDT
    I was bullied at 12 (l963). . . to the point of a suicide attempt. We haven't done our jobs as teachers to stop this tragic state of affairs. This should be our number 1 priority
    . . . our #1 Standard! Thank you for BULLYING HURTS!
    - I don't know how to do this
  4. July 31, 2015 12:20 PM EDT
    That is all that was needed. ha Old dog trying to learn new tricks. Your presentation at ALL WRITE was exceptional.
    - Shirley Thacker
  5. July 31, 2015 10:23 PM EDT
    I was always the new kid in school, so there were several bullying incidents over time. However, the most enduring one was when I received a note in my locker during 7th grade that said, "We all hate you. You should kill yourself."

    My favorite book to talk about bullying with young children is Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester. However, if I want to focus more on building resilience, I love reading Unlovable by Dan Yaccarino.
    - Jo