Let's be real: kids aren't reading what we're assigning. Teralyn Cohn shows us how to engage kids by empowering them with voice and choice.


Like most teachers, Teralyn Cohn was tired of her students not reading assigned books. But she also didn’t blame them. As much as we can respect text that has stood the test of time, we can also acknowledge its flaws. The characters and content of “canonical literature” often don’t reflect the issues or diversity in the real world. Our students see that.

Truth be told, when was the last time we picked up a text that had nothing to do with our lives and then actually enjoyed it?

Seeing these issues, Teralyn turned her classroom on its head. She introduced a student-led multi-genre unit that incorporated her students’ voices and choices. Alongside helping her students rediscover novels, Teralyn shows them the power of two-voiced poems, nonfiction text, image analysis, and argumentative writing. In this episode of The Suggestion Box, we learn how to challenge our students while also keeping them engaged.

If you’re interested in reaching out to Teralyn Cohn, her email is tcohn@usd259.net. The resources she references throughout the podcast are available at https://tinyurl.com/tctsb.

Partner organization:

Flint Hills Writing Project - They believe in teachers teaching teachers. Check out fhwp.org for more information or email them at fhwp.nwp@gmail.com.


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