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There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.



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February 16

LeVar Burton, longtime host of Reading Rainbow, was born in 1957.

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LeVar Burton, longtime host of Reading Rainbow, was born in 1957.

Grades 1 – 4
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





LeVar Burton was born in 1957 in West Germany, while his father was in the military. He hosted 155 episodes of Reading Rainbow since its premiere in 1983 until 2006. Burton's first television appearance, though, was as Kunta Kinte, in the miniseries Roots (1977), based on the novel by Alex Haley.

Burton also appeared as a member of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation television series; portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr., in the film Ali; and produced and hosted the documentary The Science of Peace.




Choose complementary Reading Rainbow selections to explore a topic using fiction and nonfiction.

For example, Ruth Heller's Chickens Aren't the Only Ones and Patricia Polacco's Rechenka's Eggs both explore the subject of animals that lay eggs. On the topic of dinosaurs, you'll find William Joyce's Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo and Aliki's Digging up Dinosaurs. After reading both books, your students can compare the selections using the interactive Venn Diagram.

Have students work individually or in small groups to write a poem, song, article, journal entry, or comic strip about the same topic. When all the pieces are completed, compile them in a book or create a bulletin board display.





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Grades   1 – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Composing Cinquain Poems: A Quick-Writing Activity

Students use themed graphic organizers to compose cinquain poems on topics common in the early elementary classroom.


Grades   2 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

A Schema-Building Study With Patricia Polacco

Students use the Semantic Impressions and Possible Sentences strategies to write about Patricia Polacco's books Chicken Sunday and Rechenka's Egg, complete a character study, and write using a WebQuest.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Daily Book Boosts

Book Boosts—one-minute raves at the end of independent reading time—are easy ways to suggest new titles to students, and they act as a way for students to have something to think about as they read.


Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

The Day Jimmy's Boa Taught Cause and Effect

This lesson introduces the concept of cause and effect with Trinka Hakes Noble's books about Jimmy and his boa constrictor.