Blog Series: All Kinds of Readers

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Day Three: Ignite the Passion for Reading with Time to Read

Just as Major League ballplayers must practice every day, readers need to READ every day. Every. Single. Day. I hear more and more about classrooms around the country where students are forced to complete activities during reading class that have little or nothing to do with reading. It’s sad, really, because the disservice is done to the children. The students want to do their best — earn the best grades, do the best work, read the best books…but students don’t get to choose the classroom lesson (at least not as a general rule). Many times, the teachers don’t even get to formulate their own classroom lesson plans, but must stick to fidelity of a program in the name of higher student achievement scores. What about fidelity to reading in the name of higher reading scores?

I could go off on a tangent here, and I would, but TIME is the key today. We want students to have passion — to love reading. Well, then, they must have TIME to read. Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher, Donalyn Miller, Kylene Beers, Bob Probst, Lucy Calkins, and many other teachers/researchers agree that increasing reading time — even10 minutes a day of student-choice, independent reading — can raise reading achievement scores. Remember, those standardized scores are not the end-all-be-all, though. We want joyful readers, passionate readers, lifelong readers.

Give students time to read. Help ignite the passion for reading!

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This blog series, All Kinds of Readers, addresses ways teachers cope with the “I-don’t-like-to-read” readers. I have struggled with this for years. I’ve read, researched, and read some more. (I love to read!) How can I get students to find the passion, the joy of reading? Join me as I try to find solutions that work. Add your comments and questions to the conversation. Welcome to the blog!

 

Blog Series: All Kinds of Readers

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Day Two: Ignite the Passion for Reading with Choice

Once students realize you are correct — that reading may be worthwhile and even likeable, then it’s time to grow the passion for reading. Start with day one’s students who don’t like to read. Wait! We established that they DO like to read IF they’re reading what they WANT to read.

Build passion for reading by finding reading materials that students want to read. Take a class survey. Do they like scary books? (My students say I don’t have enough scary books.) Do they read magazines or graphic novels? Once you find out what students like, lead them to those materials.

Students who have a say in what they read may be more likely to try reading. Providing choices helps students find reading that is comfortable for them, and therefore likeable. Encourage choice and teach decision-making skills (like choosing “just right” books).

Take that survey and use the results to provide more choices for students. Build a collection of books that students will learn to love.

(Pictures from Scholastic Reading Summit, Chicago, 2017)

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This blog series, All Kinds of Readers, addresses ways teachers cope with the “I-don’t-like-to-read” readers. I have struggled with this for years. I’ve read, researched, and read some more. (I love to read!) How can I get students to find the passion, the joy of reading? Join me as I try to find solutions that work. Add your comments and questions to the conversation. Welcome to the blog!

 

Blog Series: All Kinds of Readers

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Day One: “I don’t like to read.”

You know that card game, “Bullshit?” That’s what I want to say when a middle school student says, “I don’t like to read.” (No, I don’t say it out loud. I don’t really want to say, “Bullshit.”) Instead, I say, “Yes, you do.”

After the gasp or rolling eyes, the student may start to argue, give excuses, or repeat: “No, I don’t like to read.” I’m ready. I fire back…

“You like to read your friend’s texts, don’t you?”

“You like to read your Facebook posts, right?”

“You like to read the menu at your favorite restaurant. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to order what you really want.”

Every single student giggles at my comeback sentence. Every. Single. Time.

Why?

The student knows I’m right.

 

*****

This blog series, All Kinds of Readers, addresses ways teachers cope with the “I-don’t-like-to-read” readers. I have struggled with this for years. I’ve read, researched, and read some more. (I love to read!) How can I get students to find the passion, the joy of reading? Join me as I try to find solutions that work. Add your comments and questions to the conversation. Welcome to the blog!

IMWAYR: Thrilling & Blooming with Beauty

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The weather hasn’t been nice lately – rain most of the time – which gives me lots of inside time to read. This week I share an upcoming YA thriller and a new picture book.
Every Stolen Breath, by Kimberly Gabriel
Set in modern-day Chicago, Every Stolen Breath is a fast-paced, YA thriller that readers are going to love. Lia, a teenager with asthma, PTSD, and anxiety, has been desperately trying to expose her father’s killers for two years. Her father was attacked and murdered by the Swarm, an organized mob of crazy teens, famous for their brutal killings in high-profile areas, such as Navy Pier.

Lia cannot uncover the truth about her father’s death by herself. While trying to overcome her own disabilities, she must trust in the skills and stories of others: a former Swarm member, a reporter who loves drama and TV cameras, and two loyal school friends with social media smarts who will help her – even if it means more danger. Lia is convinced that she knows how her father died, but there are secrets to be revealed, and many people who attempt to halt her efforts — even if it means silencing her forever. No one is safe from the secrets.
This novel by Kimberly Gabriel, a Chicago native, will be sold in November, 2019. (Blink YA Books) Add it to your reading list today.
Bloom Boom! by April Pulley Sayre
I love celebrating the seasons with April Pulley Sayre!
Another beautiful, colorful tribute — flowers!
This makes me think of all the wondrous days yet to come (once it stops raining).
(Beach Lane Books, 2019)

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

IMWAYR: Books for All Ages

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It’s been a wonderful year for reading so far! In the first five months, I have read new favorite titles, re-read former favorites, and have been lucky enough to read upcoming titles that I’m sure to add to my favorites list. This week for “It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” I’ve sampled books for all age groups.

Children/Young Readers

Did you know Dav Pilkey created more characters? (I didn’t.) My favorite bookseller, Kathy at The Brain Lair Bookstore, showed me this one, and I immediately gave to my granddaughter. Big Dog and Little Dog have fun, make mistakes, and get into some trouble in this story collection that you’re sure to love as much as Captain Underpants and Dog Man. Thanks, Dav, for continuing to write for my family and students.

Middle Grade

My favorite dog character is back! Fenway and Hattie In the Wild sparks your interest with the bright red cover, and keeps you entertained with another crazy adventure. Victoria Coe, you’ve done it again. (I can’t really say much about this one without spoilers, and if you haven’t read the other Fenway and Hattie books, go get them soon.)

Lynda Mullaly Hunt writes such terrific novels for pre-teens. One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree are still two of my favorite books of all time, and now Shouting at the Rain is out. I love the quote, “…a man is not made my his mistakes. He’s made by what he does about them.” This is about family, and life, and love, and growing up, and so many other things. Just. Read. It.

 

Teen/Young Adult

I’m just calling these “The Blink Books” as a group of amazing novels that Blink YA Books is publishing this year. I still need to finish, but you’ll be hearing much more about these titles on this blog soon. I have some new favorite authors here with Alison Gervais, Annie Sullivan, Lauren Mansy, and Kimberly Gabriel. I plan to get to know them more in years to come.

Look for these titles this fall: The Silence Between Us (August), Tiger Queen (September), The Memory Thief (October), and Every Stolen Breath (November).

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

 

 

 

IMWAYR: Versify! Bus Tour!

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Spring Break is over and it’s time to get back to reality. Wait! Not quite! It’s the Kwame Alexander “Versify” and “Crossover/Booked” Bus Tour! That means more traveling for me, which is exciting! The Versify books (new imprint of HMH Books curated by Kwame Alexander) published on Tuesday, April 2nd, and I’m reading them this week:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raul the Third

White Rose by Kip Wilson

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander (illustrated by the legend, Kadir Nelson)

 

While I was on spring break, I read Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly. This is an amazing book about Iris, a special girl with electronics skills. She repairs old radios for Mr. Gunnar, the owner of Joe’s Junk Emporium. She is also a collector of cool old radios, and trades her skills for parts to fix them up.  She’s deaf, too, and her skills are quite different from her hearing friends, which makes repairing radios even more intriguing. Her parents named her after a whale who had been beached near the family’s home on the Gulf of Mexico. Marine biologists found that this sei whale couldn’t communicate with other whales for some reason. Whales depend on sounds to follow their families and find food in the ocean. Years later, in science class, Iris learned of another whale, Blue 55, recorded making unique sounds, and traveling alone in the ocean. Scientists thought there must be a story, just as the sei whale’s, a reason that she was alone. Iris could relate to Blue 55, and wanted desperately to help. Iris decided to research Blue 55 and use her electronics knowledge to create a special song for the whale. Maybe the hybrid whale could find her family, or a least “know” that someone out there was like her.

You MUST read this book! Students and adults of all ages will root for Iris to save Blue 55 — finding one’s voice in a big world. It’s a beautiful and hopeful story of love and learning. I’ve added Song for a Whale to my 2019 “Best Books So Far” list. 5 Stars!

 

I also started reading (and will probably finish tomorrow) Reading to Make a Difference: Using Literature to Help Students Speak Freely, Think Deeply, and Take Action by the fabulous duo, Lester Laminack and Katie Kelly. I saw the pair at NCTE last November speak about this call to action, and the stories of the students who are making the world a better place inspire me! Pick this one as your next literacy PD read. You won’t be disappointed.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, at Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

 

SOLSC: Day 17 #sol19

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Just be nice.

My husband is always reminding me to “be nice” when I get into one of my moods about the state of the world as we know it in 2019. I’m so tired of hearing the news lately (since the last presidential election, actually). Shootings, hatred, bigotry, racism, cheating, attempts at placing people against one another…

I blame two institutions: the government and the media.

Although I need the government and the media in my life, I do not need anyone telling me what to be or how to be. I definitely don’t need them telling me what (or how) to think! It seems in the last few hours the news has only revealed to me that the government and the media wants me to STOP THINKING. That’s not going to happen. I’m not giving up on public education or libraries. They are a part of me. I will speak and act so that they are not taken away from me, in the midst of government scams and schemes.

Please read, and decide to support causes that are important to you and your family, and the generations to come. Support humans. Support love. It’s time to act.

Thank you for reading.

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