#IMWAYR – 4-24-14

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?  #IMWAYR 4-24-17

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Yes……  I know that today is Sunday.  However, I thought that I would post this today instead as I was excited to complete my reading for the week!  And yes…..  I realize that we aren’t required to post a Monday blog this week, but again…..  I was excited to complete my reading for the week!

This week I tackled two books that both dealt with emotional issues that teens may face.  One dealt with friendship while the other dealt with the realization that prejudice still exists in our world.  I enjoyed both books.

One Moment by Kristina McBride

One Moment

Teenagers seem to feel as though they are invincible.  Joey, the “perfect boyfriend” is no different.  Kristina McBride takes the reader on a journey of dealing with loss when Joey loses his life in front of his five best friends.  How will each person deal with the loss?  Everyone must cope in their own way.  And throughout that journey of discovery, girlfriend Maggie learns that Joey wasn’t so perfect after all.  McBride’s story is a true discovery of how friendships can shift and change over time, especially in the face of tragedy.  A great read!

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

All American Boys

Picture this….  Two boys.  One white.  One black.  Do you react to them differently if you see them on the street?  Would the police react to them differently if they saw them?  I would like to say that I wouldn’t.  However, Quinn felt that way too until he saw his best friend’s brother beating a black teen named Rashad outside a convenience story.  His brother’s friend Paul had helped to raise him and he thought that he trusted him completely.  So the beating was justified right?  Or was it?  This story takes us on a journey from the perspective of both Quinn (white) and Rashad (black).  Quinn struggles with why Paul would do such a thing, and he realizes that what he did was wrong.  And Rashad has to deal with the physical and emotional trauma of what has happened to him in addition to understanding the bombshell that his father shares with him.  Would you have the courage to stand up for what was right regardless of someone else’s differences from you?  These “All American Boys” both show strength in the face of tremendous adversity.

ANTICIPATED READING FOR THIS WEEK:

  • Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
    • Eight Keys
  • A Not-So-Simple Life by Melody Carlson
    • A Not-So-Simple Life

I just checked my Goodreads account.  WOW!!!!  I knew that I was reading a great deal this semester, but counting picture books I logged 72 books!!!!  That’s the most I’ve read in a semester in years!!!!!

ONWARD to Summer!!!!  More reading to come!!!!  😊

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“Book Love”

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So far this semester, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Penny Kittle’s Book Love, and these chapters were no exception.  Right away in chapter 8, I had an “ah-ha” moment of something that might be fun to try in my 3-5 library.  I have been thinking about how I might incorporate “Big Idea Books” into at least one grade level.  If I started small and used them just with my fifth graders, I feel as though they could really learn to share with each other their thoughts about what they are reading.  Then, in turn, they would hopefully glean some ideas about other books that they might enjoy.  I will be pondering this over the summer to see how I might be able to work this into our short time together each week.

Reader's Notebook

As I progressed through the reading, I saw another idea that I could incorporate into the library that I probably like better than the “Big Book Ideas” though.  Writing mini-reviews of books could be a great way for students to share what they are reading.  It would also be another avenue for them to practice writing summaries.  Other students could then read these and get ideas as to what to read next.  I could have multiple notebooks for different genres and different grade levels.  The more I read Penny Kittle’s book, the more ideas that I have!  I am now wondering about challenging students to not only read this summer, but to reflect on their reading and share with us in the fall.  Could this be one of our first assignments?  I’m not sure as I don’t know how many students would really participate, and what would I do for the students that don’t?  However, it is worth looking at.

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My kiddos that I see each week in my libraries are grades K-5, and many of our families don’t value reading.  How do I know this?  Well…  I took informal polls in my classes this year to see how many students have been to the public library.  Sadly, the majority of my little ones never had.  There was even one student that said, “We have a public library?” It is no wonder that my students struggle so much with picking out books and knowing how to actually make their selections.  I can’t imagine not taking my children to the library.  We not only utilized our library in the summer time, but we took our children year-round.  Somehow, we need to change the culture in our community to support and value reading.  If the adults aren’t reading, how can we expect our students to read?  It is definitely a challenge, and one that I will continue to try to find ways to solve.

Meet Them Where They Are

The final part of the book entitled, “Start Where They Are” was incredibly powerful.  Every day teachers should strive to touch a student as she touched Crystal.  We sometimes look at students and can only see the struggles.  But what if we look past their struggles and meet them where they are?  Isn’t growth what we should strive for?  Our current way of comparing students with state tests doesn’t really tell us if a student is making progress.  Should they be compared to students at their same grade level when they all learn differently?  We all need to remember what is most important when we enter the doors of our schools each day.  It’s the students that matter….  We need to meet them where they are and move forward from there.  If we do….  They will surely thrive.

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Summer Reading Plans

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Let’s face it…  I am a librarian, and I LOVE books!  If I wasn’t a reader myself, how would that look to my students?  How could I challenge students every day to read but not be reading as well?  Although I still have a TON of YA books on my TBR list, over the course of the summer I will probably complete a good portion of my reading from books that we have in our collection at my 3-5 school.  Last year I started just stopping by the school and gathering a pile of books and then doing it all over again once I completed what I took.  It was wonderful to come back in the fall and be able to recommend books to students and tell them that I had just read them.  Then, when the students came back after reading it themselves, we could compare our feelings about the book.  I love connecting with students in that way, and it’s also a great way to become more familiar with the collection.

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When and where am I going to read do you ask????  My response would be pretty much everywhere.  I read in the yard on the swing, lounging around the house, at the lake, at our cabin, in the car and in our camper.  Anywhere and any place is fair game for reading.

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I visited with my husband over the weekend to see if he would be interested in continuing to read books with me for our own little “mini” book club, and he was totally on-board.  So….  We will first start by reading the sequels to two of the books that we read this semester in our book club.  The first will be “Auggie and Me” and the next will be “Denton Little’s Birthdate.”  I am excited to continue reading with my husband.  It has been a wonderful experience, and we will invite our daughters to join us as well if they are interested.

YALSA

I also plan to use YALSA for finding terrific books.  The App “YALSA’s Teen Book Finder” has been added to my phone for easy access.

Goodreads

A few of the books still on my Goodreads YA TBR list are:

  • I Am Malala
  • The Tenth Circle
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Harry Potter Series
  • Finish the “Uglies” Series
    • Pretties
    • Specials
  • Glass
  • Fallout
  • Full of Beans
  • I’m With Stupid
  • All the Bright Places
  • Teach Me to Forget
  • Me & Earl & the Dying Girl
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes
  • Saint Anything
  • Along for the Ride
  • I’ll Give You the Sun
  • Little Peach
  • A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
  • Fish in a Tree

I actually have 59 books on my TBR list on Goodreads (and growing), so I just pulled a few for this blog.

Jar

I am totally excited for summer, as I read a great deal more since I don’t have to go to work.  It is a fantastic time to delve into different genres and read everything that I can get my hands on.  I will also be asking students to recommend books for me to read.  I will have a “Recommendation Jar” at my 3-5 school for students to add their favorite chapter books to so that I can just draw out one of the slips and grab the book.  My plan is to continue that next year and post whichever book I am reading each week.  Hopefully this will be another way to get students excited about reading and sharing their experiences.  I will also challenge students to read as much as possible this summer and tell them that they will be able to share about their favorite book when we return in the fall.

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#IMWAYR – 4-17-17

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?  #IMWAYR 4-17-17

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Over the course of the past week, I tackled two more books.  One was an audio book, and I have found that these are a great way to pass the time when I am on the road.  I never felt that I would enjoy these, but I was totally wrong!  It takes me a few minutes to block everything else in my head out and focus, but once I do, I find that it is enjoyable.

A Small White Scar by K.A. Nuzum

A Small White Scar

Although this isn’t a favorite book for me, it was a nice way to pass the time.  The story was set in the early 1940s, and really explored the feelings of a boy named Will as he was wanting to be seen as a man on his family’s ranch.  Will is a twin to his brother Denny.  However, after their mother’s death when they were young, it became Will’s responsibility to “watch out” for and care for Denny who has special needs.  More than anything, sixteen-year-old Will wants to be seen as a man and do “man’s work.”  His father really needs him to just make sure that his brother stays safe though.

Will is trained to compete in a rodeo by the ranch’s farm hand, and he is very excited to get to travel and compete in his first rodeo in the coming week.  Due to responsibilities on the farm though, Will’s father tells him he can’t go at the last minute.  Will just can’t stand to miss this opportunity though, and he disobeys his father to travel the two days by horse back to compete.  What will happen to him?  What will happen to his brother that follows behind?  This is a sweet story of the bond between two brothers that are dramatically different as well as the journey that Will and Denny both take towards manhood.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls

The other book that I read this week was Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Wow!  What an intense look at the mindset of a teenager wrestling with the thoughts pertaining to anorexia, bulimia and cutting.  In the book “Wintergirls,” Laurie Halse Anderson takes the reader on an in-depth journey of the ramifications of what this disease can do to a body.  Lia and Cassie are best friends, and they are both on a dangerous quest to be the skinniest.  Cassie eventually dies for her efforts, and Lia is on her way there as well.  With the loving help of her family, will Lia be able to overcome her intense desire to restrict her calories to the point of no return?  Or will she too succumb to the trauma that this disease has caused her body.  Will the cutting relieve her intense internal pain?  Or will it be the end of her?  Anderson provides a very real look at the struggles that so many teenagers struggle with each day.

CURRENT BOOK CLUB READING:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder

Although I finished this book over the week, we won’t meet for book club until later this evening.  My personal take on the book is that it is a must read for everyone!  So far during our meetings, everyone else has also really been enjoying the story.  Wonder takes the reader on an emotional journey of a boy named August (Auggie) that has had severe facial deformities, and he has had an extreme number of surgeries over the course of his short life.  He had always been homeschooled until recently when his parents decided that it was time for him to attend school.  Auggie must learn how to manage the stares and whispers as well as the outright taunts of others as he goes on his journey through life.  The story is told from not only his perspective, but also from the perspective of his sister, his sister’s boyfriend, and numerous friends that he makes along the way.  If you are looking for a wonderful book that everyone can relate to, this is the book.  I feel as though everyone will understand the growing pains that Auggie experiences as we have all been there.  A GREAT READ!!!!

ANTICIPATED READING FOR THIS WEEK:

  • One Moment by Kristina McBride
    • One Moment
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
    • All American Boys
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#IMWAYR – 4-10-17

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?  #IMWAYR 4-10-17

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Over the course of this week, I had extremely opposite reactions to the two books that I read.  One I couldn’t get enough of, and the other I could not get into.  In general, I am not a person that bails on a book.  Therefore, I kept going back to the one that I was struggling with to try and finish it.  However, in the end…  My “reader’s rights” won out, and I finally gave up on it.  There are just too many books out there to continue struggling to finish reading one that you aren’t connecting to.

 All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers

All the Right Stuff

When reading the “blurb” about what this book was about, I was really excited to read it.  Here is the overview as seen on Goodreads.

  • New York Timesbestselling author Walter Dean Myers tackles the social contract from a teen’s perspective in his novel All the Right Stuff. In one of his most thought-provoking novels to date, Myers weaves together political philosophy, basketball, and making soup in Harlem, with the depth that defines his writing career.

    After his father is shot and killed, Paul Dupree finds a summer job at a Harlem soup kitchen. Elijah, the soup man, questions Paul about tough life choices, even though Paul would rather be playing basketball. Over the summer, Paul begins to understand the importance of taking control of your life.

I felt as though the story would give me a different perspective on life in the city that I could only dream about.  You see I am a Wyoming girl born and raised, so I have no concept of what it would be like to live in Harlem.  In the past I have always connected with books about diversity, but this was an exception for me.  I felt as though the story was just repeating itself when Elijah (the soup man) kept talking about the social contract.  For whatever reason, I just didn’t connect with it.  Therefore, about 2/3 of the way through, I decided to call it quits.  That isn’t to say that someone else my totally connect with it, but it just wasn’t for me.

 

Shift by Em Bailey

Shift

Wow!  What a fast-paced, wonderfully written novel.  “Shift” by Em Bailey had me hooked from the start!  The main character, Olive, was easy to love, and I became invested in her quickly.  Her journey through troubled friendships is relatable to all teens.  With that said, I was completely sideswiped by the twist a little over halfway through the story, and it isn’t easy to draw me in and trick me while reading.  This thriller keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

Olive and her friend Katie had a falling out with their friendship.  And then the new girl Miranda sidles up next to Katie and apparently starts to “steal” her life away from her.  Although Olive notices something strange, who would believe her with her own troubled past?  And once Miranda is done destroying Katie, will Olive be her next target?   This thrilling story examines friendships from a different point of view than I have seen in other YA novels.

Definitely worth the read…

 PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK:

  • Sylvia Jean, Scout Supreme by Lisa Campbell Ernst
    • Sylvia Jean
  • Noodle Magic by Roseanne Thong
    • Noodle Magic
  • Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward
    • Mama Built a Little Nest
  • We Are Growing! By Laurie Keller
    • We Are Growing
  • Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer
    • Numbers in Animal Lives
  • Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus
    • Billions of Bricks

 CURRENT BOOK CLUB READING:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder

Over the course of this week, we completed the second third of the book.  Our book club will be meeting again tonight, and I am excited to say that all members will be back.  So far, I am loving this book, and there have been some huge connections for two of our members.  I will give my overall synopsis of the book once we complete it.  However, I can already say that in my opinion this is a MUST READ for everyone… Especially teachers!

ANTICIPATED READING FOR THIS WEEK:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls

Undecided as of now…..

 

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Professional Reading

PROFESSIONAL READING

Aim Higher: A Case for Choice Reading and a Whole Lot More in AP English

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This week for my professional reading I tackled a few different readings.  The first was “Aim Higher: A Case for Choice Reading and a Whole Lot More in AP English.”  I found the reading very interesting in that we aren’t trusting our most advanced high school students with choice.  How is it that we aren’t allowing them to become better readers by choosing and loving what they read?  So many students admit that they don’t read the assigned text, so why not give choice reading a try?  We are constantly told to engage our students, so wouldn’t this be one of the best ways to engage them?  By letting them choose what interests them?  Will it be a little more work for the teachers?  Possibly….  But I ask you this…  Wouldn’t it be worth it to produce students that develop a lifelong desire for reading and learning?  Below are some of my takeaways from the reading.

Interesting:

  • I love the concept of self-selected reading in AP classes
  • “If secondary students aren’t readers, they tend to struggle in all academic subjects.”
  • Choice matters when it comes to reading
  • Teach the child – not the book

Challenging:

  • It is challenging to get all teachers on board to allow students to self-select reading materials

Surprising:

  • “It’s like we do not trust our high-achieving students to move themselves into complex texts.”
  • “We focus on the literature instead of the literacy.”
  • Students in high school aren’t necessarily reading the assigned texts. They are pros at skimming a little, using Sparknotes and listening to enough of the lecture to be proficient at passing the tests.
    • This is NOT breeding lifelong readers and learners!
  • Some English teachers are not readers themselves – This is crazy to me!!!!

 

Curing the Reading Germ

AR

The next article that I read was entitled, “Curing the Reading Germ” by Jim Bailey.  Very quickly into the article, this one struck a nerve with me.  You see, one of the schools that I work at uses the Accelerated Reader (AR) program.  I hate the end of each quarter!  You see….  I am the librarian, and the last week of each quarter is a zoo in the library.  Any reader that hasn’t yet met their goal will pick up anything and everything to read whether it is in their level or not.  They don’t care if it’s an enjoyable book.  They just want to make their point goal so that they will receive their reward.  What happened to reading for enjoyment?  What happened to really digging into and analyzing a book?  I want students to LOVE reading for life, and I sometimes see that the way we expect students to read is dimming that light for them.  Some teachers send students back into the library after the student has taken time selecting a book and tell them that they can’t read it.  Then why send them in to make the selection in the first place if we are going to micromanage their choices?  I realize that students need to be able to read within a certain range, but as long as students are choosing level appropriate books, why not let them at least choose the content?

 

Raising Students Who Want to Read

A group of diverse children reading a book.

My next reading was entitled, “Raising Students Who Want to Read” by Phyllis S. Hunter.  For this reading, I chose to highlight some of my takeaways that stuck with me.

  • “The goal is to have kids become intrinsically motivated to read.”
  • “Although extrinsic motivation can be useful, at a certain point, it’s more effective to help students shift toward intrinsic motivation.”
  • “The goal is to get students – at all levels of ability – to see that they have to begin somewhere. And to get them to say, ‘Today, I begin.’”

Since our school uses AR, I am obligated to work within the requirements of the program.  However, I really like that within this article they talked about matching students with “just right” books.  Within our library, we have such a large range of books for students to select, however our selection for our lowest readers isn’t what I would like.  One of my current professional goals is to purchase more books for our lowest readers.  We have so many students that come to us in the 3rd grade that are below grade level.  I want ALL students to be able to find “just right” books in their level, and we are hoping to better service the needs of our struggling students within the library setting.

The other part of the article that I like was that students need to learn to monitor their own reading, but that we need to constantly support students with feedback.  In short….  Students need to learn to “think about their thinking.”  How else will they know whether or not they are comprehending text?  It is our job to grow readers that will flourish as they age, and what better way to assist them than to guide them towards being self-sufficient readers.

 

6 Simple Ideas to Get Kids to Read

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My final article was “6 Simple Ideas to Get Kids to Read,” by Pernille Ripp.  Please see Ripp’s 6 simplest ideas for getting students to fall (a little bit more) in love with reading.

  1. Public Display of Book Affection
    1. Books, books – Everywhere!!!!
  2. The 1 Minute Book Talk
    1. Highlight great books!!!!
  3. The Repeated Question
    1. What are you reading????
  4. The Pushy Book Handler
    1. Get books into students hands
  5. The Getting Out of the Way Trick
    1. Easy access to books – Classroom libraries
  6. The Guest Shopper
    1. Get them a shopping list and get them excited about reading!!!!
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#IMWAYR – 4-3-17

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?  #IMWAYR 4-3-17

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It has been an extremely busy week for me!  Due to snow days, sick days, and time taken off to care for our daughters, I realized that this is the first time in a great while that I worked for a full five days.  And to top it off, we had Parent-Teacher Conferences this week.  The week before, I had set up a book fair in each of my libraries.  Then, this week, parents and students alike came piling in to make their purchases.  Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights we were available during conferences and for the two schools combined, we moved $16,000 worth of product!!!!  Lucky for the families though, it was a BOGO event, so they received books for half that price!  Book fairs are a favorite of our students, and they are always sad to see me tear down.  I was quite ready to finish the week though, as it is quite taxing to run two fairs at a time.

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In addition to my busy week at work, I tackled two (plus) books as well.  I say plus because our book club has been breaking down our books into three sessions instead of completing them all at once.  I was glad to get back on track with book club this week since having to take some time off to care for family.  The books that I read with my thoughts attached are as follows:

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Kira Kira

“Kira-Kira” by Cynthia Kadohata is a heartwarming story that is quite deserving of the distinction of being a Newberry Award winning author.  It delves into the struggles that Japanese Americans faced in the 1950’s when living in the Deep South of Georgia.  The main character Katie takes you through many years of her family coming together and persevering through a family illness while trying to make ends meet for them all.  This story quickly hooks the reader and takes them on a wonderful journey that is well worth the read!  I also loved that this story fell into the category of diversity that we have been discussing in class.

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

Love, Aubrey

Until now, I had never read a book by Suzanne LaFleur.  However, over the course of this week, I had two separate students recommend to me two different books by this author.  I picked Love, Aubrey as it is the first one that a young girl suggested I read.

As the story begins, it is apparent that, for some reason, 11-year old Aubrey has been abandoned and is living on her own.  I immediately felt for this young girl and wanted to know why she was in this predicament.  As the story progresses, the author provides “snippets” of what has caused this tragedy in her life.  Then after her grandmother comes to her rescue, Aubrey shares with us her feelings through letters to her sister’s imaginary friend.  Love, Aubrey is a beautifully written story that goes on a journey of self-discovery from the perspective of this brave little girl.  It was definitely worth the read, and I would recommend it to others.

 

PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK:

  • None due to book fair and conferences

 

CURRENT BOOK CLUB READING:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder

  • It’s crazy how busy this time of year gets. We ended up missing our book club meeting last week as we were out of town on a family emergency.  Yesterday we were able to pick up where we left off, but we were missing two members as one is at a conference in LA and another had a work obligation.  The decision was to proceed without them so we can complete the book by the end of the semester.  Hopefully we will have everyone again this weekend.  However, I am going to wait to share my thoughts on the book until we complete it in its entirety.  More to come…

 

ANTICIPATED READING FOR THIS WEEK:

  • Shift by Em Bailey
  • Shift
  • All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers (National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Award)
  • All the Right Stuff
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