Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


SOLSC: Day 14 #sol19

Happy Birthday to my sister!

Judy is 22 months younger than me, and big and strong and loud (not like me!). I love her so much, but she’s a pain. You know? She would do anything for me and my family. I wish I could have been there for her today.

She’s been fighting a rare form of migraine headache for about a month now (a real pain – not a sibling rivalry pain)! One specialist gave her shots in the neck that made her feel better for about 3 days, but now she has to see a neurologist. I feel badly for her (I’ve had migraines before, so I know what they are like).

I’m thinking of her tonight as I head to sleep. I’m sure she won’t get much. Nite Nite, Judy! Feel better soon!



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Book Review: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Hey, Kiddo‘s subtitle is “How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction.” Jarrett’s brave memoir is a graphic novel commentary for our times. Jarrett is brave to share his story in this memoir, and I’m so glad he did. We book lovers say, “Books save lives,” and I’m sure this particular book will help someone going through tough times.

One thing you need to know before reading this story is that, although it’s true that there are terrible forces in the world that overshadowed his family life, Jarrett’s story is not all sad. His grandparents who raised him are funny, smart, and loyal to each other. His mother does love him, although her addiction doesn’t allow her to be there for him. His friends are the same friends you and I have (and had) — they play games, go to dances at school, learn to drive, etc. Jarrett’s teachers in school take care of their students the best they know how, and Mr. Shilale, the art teacher, encourages Jarrett to stick with (and expand) his art studies. Again, I’m so glad Jarrett did. His early creative endeavors led him to write Lunch Lady graphic novels and books in the Star Wars: Jedi Academy series that we all know and love. Once he found his father, their growing relationship helped Jarrett grow to be a stronger man, too.

Why I Loved This Book: I loved that Jarrett Krosoczka opened his world and invited me in. I enjoyed getting to know him, and his family, and his story is one worth sharing. I love that this is a nonfiction graphic novel. The artwork is Jarrett’s own, and I love how he intertwined memorabilia into the pages (all the way down to his grandmother’s pineapple wallpaper). I love that this book is publishing in 2018, when so many students I know are facing hard family lives themselves, and I hope they are able to see themselves in this book.

Why You Should Read Hey, Kiddo: Read Hey, Kiddo to remember your youth. Read it to identify with the people in the book, and around you in your own life. Read the Author’s Notes in the back of the book — they will allow you to become Jarrett’s friend. Read it to enjoy the art and creativity. Read it to inspire you to share your story.




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IMWAYR: Losers Bracket by Chris Crutcher

It’s Monday; What are You Reading?

Last week: Losers Bracket by Chris Crutcher

Chris Crutcher is a master of dialogue in this tug-of-war story of two families and the girl who stands in between them. Smart and sneaky, 17-year-old Annie manipulates her basketball team to play in the losers bracket during basketball tournaments in order to get a chance to run into her biological relatives. Her “bios” are losers, and her foster family, especially Pop, would rather see Annie earn a college scholarship than see her follow the dark path chosen by her mother and her sister. But her foster family isn’t perfect, either, and this book title reflects on not only basketball, but Annie’s life. She always seem to get involved with trouble somehow.

Annie’s therapist, book club friends, teammates, foster brother, and one unlikely ally keep her going — learning to stand up for herself while also supporting her in her efforts to be a part of the family, whichever family that is at the time. You cannot choose who you love. But Annie has to make some tough decisions, and maybe even cause a little trouble, to find the life she wants…and to write her own story.

Highly recommended for high school and up.

This week: The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm and Astronaut/Aquanaut by Jen Swanson 

I already read the Author’s Note, Recommended Resources, and “Mellie’s Gallery of Scientists” in the back of the book, The Third Mushroom. I’ve always been interested in scientists and their stories, so I want to find out how Jennifer L. Holm weaves fiction and fact together. I read The Fourteenth Goldfish a while back and liked that one, so I’m looking forward to this new title.

Highly recommended for grades 3-6.

Jennifer Swanson was kind enough to send me Astronaut/Aquanaut, which is another book I cannot wait to open (probably tonight after I write). The back cover reads, “Space and the Ocean: If you don’t think they go together, think again!” I am intrigued by the cover, and the photographs and diagrams in this colorful book will bring students and their teachers together to learn more about space and the oceans. Look for a review in the near future!

Highly recommended for upper elementary and up.

How is your reading life going? Grab a book this week and dig in!

“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 your reading for the upcoming week. Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jennifer Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts have given IMWAYR a kidlit focus. Join in the fun! Choose a great book, read it, and share your thoughts with us!


Slice of Life Tuesday: Lots to Do

It’s ISTEP week, so I thought I’d try another picture post.

(I think it takes longer to choose pictures than it does to choose words!)

IMG_5326South Bend Cubs baseball — it’s spring!IMG_5325






Personal PD continues IMG_5296

and author Josh Funk sent us mail at school (!)


IMG_5311      IMG_5366


Kitchen and dining room remodel — ongoing work continues in the house (Next: roof and driveway/front porch)


It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. I also look forward to “my” month of May coming up! Anniversary, Mother’s Day, my birthday, and Memorial Day festivities, and this year is very special — my youngest daughter’s high school graduation!




Slice of Life Tuesdays: Moving, the Moon, and Mars

Slice of Life Small LogoMoving, the Moon, and Mars

I had a very busy weekend. Helping my daughter move into her first house was exciting and exhausting! I had such a great time just looking around, admiring the previous owners’ care of the place: the paint colors that do not have to be changed, the hardwood floors, the door knobs that all match throughout the house. It was clean and ready to move into, and the family members came to work! Furniture is so heavy, so big, so…Arg! Can’t turn the corner from the dining room to the basement entry — too tight! I watched while others measured, loaded the dolly, and carefully handled the large items. Trip after trip from the cars and U-Haul truck into the house — boxes, toys, appliances, and keepsakes. What a weekend! I noted that next time I move, I want a furnished condo.

Sunday night, those still living with me prepared for the observation of the year. The full moon. The lunar eclipse. The “blood” moon. I went to bed a little early (I was so exhausted!), but told my daughter to wake me up at 10:30 so we could go outside and watch the moon. Arg! Stupid cloud cover! We could see light where the moon was supposed to be, but we couldn’t take part in the grand celebration. The rest of the country was posting pics on Facebook and my husband kept telling me to “Look!” during the baseball game in Detroit. What a sight! And we missed it! Oh, well. Next time, right? (When will that happen again?)

Life on Mars? We don’t know…yet! (My “YET” friends will understand! :)) But there is H2O! “Flowing Water on Mars.” How exciting! All these years of wondering, and now it’s confirmed. Seems like just yesterday we were the only planet that could sustain life. Wonders will never cease.


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Day 11: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

Excited or Exhausted?

I’d like to jump right in and say, “Exhausted!” But when I read other posts from other exhausted people working on this challenge, I experience a second-wind feeling, and I am “excited” to get back to writing. I feel a renewed sense of dedication to my writing, my job, and my life’s journey tonight — Yes, I am excited!

My writing has been on the back burner of my priorities stove top for years. I have so many ideas, and so many times I start a text, only to find some other higher priority (like running to the grocery store or reading the latest entertainment gossip) and run off to complete that first. My goal is to publish, so creating is a good start. I must keep it up. I must keep the ideas flowing, and the pen doodling, and the computer typing. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….break my goal up into “slice of life” sections. One section, “Slice of Life,” cut out for my personal narratives, poems, and pictures. Thank you to all of you at the “SOLSC” for helping me to meet this part of my goal!

My job has been a different type of challenge this year. Much illness, snow, and even my father’s passing recently, kept me from working to my potential. In February, I got my results from a standardized predictive assessment, and my students did well, even though I felt like the school year was slipping away from me. I was excited then, watching their success. I am even more excited today; I watched that group of students take the real standardized test (day one) and I saw that they were confident and ready to show what they know! Some students even replied, “It was easy,” when I asked them how it went. Yes!

My life’s journey — a constant car ride from my school to home, to high school pick up, to the local pizza joint, to my daughter’s new townhouse, to the grocery store — has never been boring. I am an extrovert and I love the daily grind. I never SAY I love it, but I do. My family is wonderful. I never SAY my family is wonderful…well, I just did, didn’t I? Yes, it’s true. I wouldn’t trade them in for anything, except maybe a quiet condo on the lake. LOL! I am a dedicated mom, daughter, wife, teacher, and grandma, although I still definitely want to move to a condo! That’s another goal. A different story.

Exhausted?  Yes. I am exhausted. Excited? Yes, most definitely, I am excited to be here, sharing my stories with you!

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Day 10: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

The Day I Skipped Out on Life’s Challenges

Today was my day off. Since I already failed the March challenge, I tried to keep my activities low-key today. It worked out, although I have to say I am still kicking myself for being a failure. No problem. I’ll be back tomorrow, better than ever!

The weekend is over, laundry is done, and the testing season starts tomorrow at school, so today I must rest.

Sleep, my friends, that’s the key word! (Another memory: When I studied health in high school, I learned that a person sleeps about 1/3 of their lifetime. My dad teased me, “For you and your mother, it’s half!”)