Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


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IMWAYR: A Renewed Interest in Reading

I start this week with a renewed interest in reading, which may be a celebration of spring (it’s 65 degrees today) or relief from some other obligations. I start with where I left off: Shifting the Balance by Dr. Jan Burkins and Kari Yates, which already went to a second printing – it’s that fabulous! I’m calling for a middle school edition of this needed professional text. Pulling research together and naming six shifts, Burkins and Yates help teachers as they bring together the Science of Reading and the Balanced Literacy Classroom. I also opened Bea is For Blended, which is perfect for Women’s Month because the main character is an inspiring girl.

I read a bunch of new-to-the-library nonfiction at school today, including Beastly Bionics: Rad Robots, Brilliant Biomimicry, and Incredible Inventions Inspired By Nature by Jennifer Swanson. It’s wonderful! Science, technology, nature, cool facts, interesting questions…my middle schoolers will love this book! I also pored through Lost Cities by Giles Laroche, which answers some questions about lost civilizations and opens doors to new wonderings about places we’ve never been.

It seems like I have waited forever, but due to the generosity of Net Galley, Harper Collins, and Blink YA Books, I finally have Heartless Heirs in my downloads. This is the sequel to Twin Daggers by MarcyKate Connolly, and I can’t wait to see what happens to Aissa and Zandria next.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading? 

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.


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IMWAYR: Let’s Be Honest, I’m Not Reading

Let’s be honest: it’s testing season in Indiana, my daughter moved to a new state, tomorrow is “doctor day,” and I’m not reading. I do have plans to read, and if I write these plans down, maybe you’ll help me implement the plans.

Shifting the Balance is a new Stenhouse title by Dr. Jan Burkins and Kari Yates. These two ladies’ collaboration makes for excellent PD reading. What they have done is taken The Science of Reading and Balanced Literacy reading models and used them TOGETHER in the classroom. Research at its best! Kindergarten through 2nd grade literacy teachers, you need this!

I was lucky to receive Bea Is For Blended by Lindsey Stoddard as my next ARC. This will be published in May, and I cannot wait for some specific students to read this. Bea’s mom will marry Wendell, and her team is growing by not one, but three boys, and some pets, too. Bea is also worried that her school may not get the all-girls soccer team that she longs for.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.


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IMWAYR: Still Snowing, Still Reading

It’s snowy and cold, so it’s the perfect time of year to grab a blanket, sit on the couch, and read…read…read. In between school and home craziness, it’s the best time.

NetGalley: I finished The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan, and it’s everything I was looking for. My students are going to eat this one up! I will need multiple copies in the library. Our main character, Aidan, went missing for 6 days. Everyone in the neighborhood looked for him. The police looked for him. Mom and Dad and Lucas, his brother, looked for him. Then…Aidan returned. Whoa! What happened? “You’re not going to believe me,” Aidan explains.

Physical Books: I finished the fabulous When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing. This is the first in “The Great Peach Experiment” books, and I cannot wait until the next one already. I was overwhelmed looking at my TBR pile; I really couldn’t decide what to choose next. But then, book mail came today, and now I know exactly what I’ll read tonight. Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling is coming out in October 2021 from Little, Brown and Company, and I am a lucky reader to be able to take a look now. I have deemed this cover to be the BEST middle grade cover I’ve seen in 2021 so far. Isn’t it beautiful? (The character looks like my daughter, who is off on her own adventures these days.)

Libro.fm: I haven’t been in the car — too much snow — so I’ll continue Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am this week. (Yes, I know. That’s what I said last week.)

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

 


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IMWAYR: Falling Behind in the Snow

Winter is here, the snow has come to town, and I’m falling behind in my reading. You would think I had more time to read over the weekend, being stuck inside and all, but the weather headache took over and we had to shovel, too. Hopefully this week will be better.

NetGalley: I opened The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan. I think students are going to love this one!

Physical Books: In book mail this week, I received a gift from Erin Soderberg Downing, my Minnesota nerdy book friend and author, and I’m already half way through When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie (due April 6, 2021 from Pixel + Ink). The Peaches family is headed out for the summer in a used food truck. Mom left a legacy with her invention (they’re millionaires!), and Dad wants to live out Mom’s dreams, traveling the country and selling pies. He doesn’t think about the one thing that maybe he should have before making the plans…no one in the family knows how to bake. This book is funny, heartwarming, and thoughtful. I don’t know WHAT I would do if I had a million dollars…(probably buy more books!)

Libro.fm: I haven’t been in the car — too much snow — so I’ll continue Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am this week, maybe.

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.


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IMWAYR: New Books!

Just a quick note here today, then it’s back to reading. There are so many new books out this year already, and they are all fabulous so far. Here’s what is going on this week:

NetGalley: I finished Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca. This story pulled at my heart strings while also taking me back in time to the school life that was so…”Oh my god!” and the 80s music that is still the best. I loved the references to the school dance, the songs, the friendships (stable and tricky ones), and the family that has drama…you’ll just have to read this one. Trust me.

Physical Books: My plans always change, but for this week, my goal is to read The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Isaiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist. Their covers are both wonderful and they come highly recommended.

Libro.fm: I need to get into the car and drive for a while to continue Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am. I was sad to hear of her passing, and this memoir brings her and her loveliness back. She wrote, “Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside…” I’m only a few hours in, but I’m loving it.

 

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.


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IMWAYR: Congratulations to the #ALAYMA21 Book Award Winners

I think it’s part luck that I chose Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri to read this week, because today the book won the Michael L. Printz Award! I spent most of the day reviewing the complete list of ALA’s Youth Media Awards and celebrating as each book was named during the live webcast. (For the list of #alayma winners, click here.)

I chose correctly! My top pick for the Caldecott Medal was We Are Water Protectors, and it won! Congratulations to @MichaelaGoade for this well-deserved win! Thank you for writing this important book, @CaroleLindstrom.

I chose incorrectly. Whoa! I wasn’t even close on the Newbery Medal! Congratulations to @taekeller for winning this most distinguished award! I still have When You Trap a Tiger on my TBR list. I guess I’d better pull it out next.

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

 

 


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My Newbery and Caldecott Predictions – 2021

It’s the most exciting time of the year for #kidlit readers — the ALA Youth Media Awards, including Newbery and Caldecott, will be announced on Monday, January 25th, and I AM READY! Honestly, with the 2020 pandemic and virtual school, I wasn’t able to share books with students like I had in previous years, and I don’t have students’ insights into the picks this year. I have been thinking about which books I want to win medals and honors, though. Best wishes to ALL the creators who gave us books in 2020 — I’m sorry it was such a weird year in publishing, but you all deserve to be recognized anyway. Here are my final picks, just 2 days before the big day:

My choice for the Newbery Medal: King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Scholastic Press, 2020).

Talk about “distinguished!” I read this book back in February 2020 when it was published, and then listened to the audio version on Libro.fm. It won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and I’m sure it will come away with at least one more award by Monday. Hopefully it’s the Newbery Medal.

My choices for Newbery Honors: Show Me a Sign, by Ann Clare LeZotte (Scholastic Press, 2020) and When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (Dial Books for Young Readers).

 

Both of these titles scored at the top of my “distinguished” list, as well. Either one could grab a medal, but I think they will come away with honors. I can’t wait to hear the announcements!

 

 

 

My choice for Caldecott Medal: We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade (Roaring Brook Press, 2020).

In my opinion, this gorgeous picture book is special in many ways, and I hope that Michaela Goade wins the medal. The illustrations add to the text in such a way that children understand the significance of the message AND enjoy the book AND appreciate the art — this title has “Caldecott Award” written all over it.

My choice for Caldecott Honors: I have a whole list here. I cannot decide! I’m glad I don’t have to — the Caldecott committee had their hands full of excellent choices this year. I’ll just wait to see the outcome…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles and Bryan Collier (Orchard Books, 2020), Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann (Neal Porter Books, 2020), and I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2020).

Now we wait. What are YOUR choices for book awards this year? Tune into the Youth Media Awards (ALA Youth Media Awards) live webcast on Monday morning (8 am CT). Visit ALA’s streaming platform at http://ala.unikron.com or follow on social media.


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IMWAYR: Not Much This Week – MLK Jr. Day

I probably won’t read much this week, honestly, due to students coming back to the school buildings and the Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday. I wish you all a thoughtful and reflective Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and hope for peace and love to continue into the future. 

NetGalley Reading: I started Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca, but the weekend got away from me. A young Indian American girl shifts between worrying about school and taking care of her mother, who has leukemia. The book publishes in February, so I still have some time before the pub date to finish.

Physical Books: I will finish Fault Lines in the Constitution by Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson before Wednesday’s inauguration. It’s an interesting and informative look at our laws and how they work.

Libro.fm Audiobooks: I’m listening to The Sea in Winter by Christine Day. With 1/3 of the book done, I can say that I really like Maisie and her family and I know my students will, too. (Heartdrum, 2021) 

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.


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IMWAYR: Trying to Keep the Pace

This week I’m trying to keep the pace by reading instead of watching the news. The USA is in turmoil. I’ve decided that if I keep reading, I can be more intelligent and then I’ll know how to respond more appropriately to the news. I’m hoping to improve my attitude. NetGalley Reading: I will start Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca tonight. A young Indian American girl shifts between worrying about school and taking care of her mother, who has leukemia. The book publishes in February, and I’m lucky to be approved to read this already-popular title. Physical Books: I read This is Your Brain on Stereotypes by Tanya Lloyd Kyi. It’s an upper elementary/middle school-appropriate nonfiction look at the science of your brain and how it makes you to think the way you do. It’s interesting and easy enough to read and understand for my students. I liked it! I also pulled Fault Lines in the Constitution by Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson to read during this crazy real-life week. I received my copy of My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcolm Mitchell, who gives children and adults a reason to smile about reading books. I saw the author speak at a virtual event with Brain Lair Books (My very favorite bookstore) and he was wonderful! I can’t wait to share this with my elementary students. Libro.fm Audiobooks: I’m still listening to the last 20% of Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao. My priority is to get this one finished by tomorrow night.

 

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.


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IMWAYR: Happy New Year! Let’s Read!

Happy New Year, fellow readers! In an attempt to be more organized about my reading this year, I’m trying something new (we’ll see how long this lasts). Each week I’ll read physical books, listen to an audiobook, and read a NetGalley book, and then share my thoughts. This week I’m still working on 2020 titles while diving into my already-growing 2021 TBR list. NetGalley Reading: I finished Booked: The Graphic Novel by Kwame Alexander, with art by Dawud Anyabwile. This dynamic duo already wowed me with The Crossover: Graphic Novel Adaptation in 2019 and now they are back to retell the story of soccer player, Nick Hall. I LOVED the story all over again and I can’t wait for students to see this one on January 4, 2022 (yes, we have to wait another year). Physical Book of the Week: Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson Libro.fm Audiobook: Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading? IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.