Monday November 23rd, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. I love this scene from buddy reading. Notice how the little K is leaning right in with my Grade 3 student learning about sharks. I adore this photo as it captures so much.

There's a book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

On the blog:

Yes, I have been blogging! 🙂

In honour of Picture Book Month: Twenty Books that Capture the Essence of Childhood

For #nfpb2015 Nonfiction on my radar: Winter 2015

My #celebratelu post this week honours the progress and positive in my classroom: Celebration: What’s Working

Books I loved:

There are quite a few because I did some picture book therapy. Anyone else do this? Often? I have a feeling I am not the only one who has figured this out!

I made some great progress on my nonfiction reading:

Toad Weather written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

This book is FANTASTIC! I love much about it – starting with those wonderful polka dot boots on the cover! This is a fictionalized account of an actual toad crossing that really, truly happens every year in Pennsylvania. Markle shares a beautiful story about this pretty amazing natural phenomenon and the way that people become part of the story (in a good way thankfully!) But, this story has some rich messages beyond a fascinating story. I love that it reminds us to notice and experience the natural world no matter what the weather, no matter what our mood.

Toad Weather

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López

Gorgeous. Inspiring. Seriously, these colours. I loved everything about this book!

Drum Girl Dreaming

Flowers are Calling written by Rita Gray and illustrations by Kenard Pak

I particularly loved Pak’s illustrations here. Learn all about the colours, shapes and unique aspects to flowers and just who interacts with them (and why and how).

Flowers are Calling

And I read some incredible picture books:

Please, Open this Book! written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

This is one of the most clever follow up titles ever. First read and appreciate Warning: Do not Open this Book! You could just read it on your own, but I recommend experiencing it as a read aloud with a group of eager listeners. And then, comes this one. I giggled multiple times at the bookstore and of course, brought it home with me. Cannot wait to share all of its amusing and interactive pages with my class tomorrow. Love the mushy yellow banana.

Please, Open this Book!

Little Miss, Big Sis written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Sometimes becoming an older sibling is eagerly anticipated and quite a beloved experience. This title captures just that.

Little Miss, Big Sis

Where are my Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

An entertaining reading message. Favourite books are amazing. And everyone (everyone!) needs picture books!

Where are my Books?

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

Okay, this is a book I love. It speaks to wild wishes, big possibility and the amazing of the simple and natural. Love, love, love.

Something Extraordinary

Dear Yeti by James Kwan

Charming and adventurous. Two explorers set out in search of a yeti. told through a series of letters. Great mentor text for writing.

Dear Yeti

Little Elliot, Big Family by Mike Curato

These Little Elliot titles seem like they should be just too sweet and not quite work. But instead, they are absolutely sweet and completely capture the reader. No overly sugary after taste. Just big breath, full heart moments. Well done Mike Curato, you have something amazing figured out.

Little Elliot, Big Family

Miss Hazletine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Birgitta Sif

For the cat fan. For the extra timid. For the reader who appreciates inspired courage and stepping out of your comfort zone. Delightfully quirky.

Miss Hazletine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats

And the amazing YA novel . . . Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

I am such an absolute fan of Schmidt. He regularly knocks me over while at the same time offering up such grounded, beautiful stories. This was an early morning read and cry book. I finished it all at once because how could I possibly put it down? Beautiful. Hopeful. Heartbreaking. A reminder that we all need each other and that family is about who is in your corner.

Orbiting Jupiter

Up next? I continue reading MosquitoLand by David Arnold because other reading ended up calling to me. Happy to be back into this title.

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 61/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 390/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 70/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 45/50 books read

Wonder Inducing Nonfiction Read Alouds

It’s funny how one’s focus can change when looking at the classroom library. For a while, I’ve been thinking a lot about the nonfiction titles in my room. Last summer I started to get anxious about whether or not I had enough books in the room that my Grade 2/3s could pick up and read independently. It seemed like my “best” nonfiction titles were books that I needed to read to my students. Which was wonderful because I had some amazing titles to use as we model strategies, but what about when it was independent reading time? Did I have enough titles that students could read by themselves with success? My book shopping focussed on purchasing titles that I knew my students could manage on their own, especially as we built strategies to read nonfiction text over the year. Some of my favourite books that I added?

  • The Discover More Series by Scholastic
  • Nicola Davies Flip the Flap and Find out books which include Who Lives Here? and Who’s Like Me?
  • Laura Hulbert‘s Who Has This Tail? and Who Has These Feet?
  • A huge array of Bobbie Kalman titles
  • The Are you a . . . ? series by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries
  • The Amazing Animal Series by Kate Riggs

NonfictionText for Independent Reading There's a Book for That

Now, here I am a year later. Again, thinking about the books in my room . . . What is my focus now? That I want some “Oh, wow!” titles to read aloud. I want to make sure that just as I am reading a variety of picture books and some engaging novels, that I have a real variety of excellent nonfiction picture books to read aloud. Sometimes to model/practice a strategy, sometimes to enhance our learning on a particular subject and sometimes just because, the more we read, the more we know and I want my students to be inspired and curious about learning all year long!

I am fortunate to be looping my Grade 2/3 class into Grade 3/4 and so I have a sense of this group of children, what they wonder about and what I think might inspire them. Last year, I noticed that they were intrigued by stories – folklore, Aboriginal tales, stories from around the world and stories about things that really happened. They were very curious about the stories of people and how these stories connected to us in our classroom. It made me realize that I haven’t been reading enough biographies. I also want to focus on places around the world and the wonder of the world around us. Last year, students loved learning about animals from each continent and had endless questions about habitats.  I know we love art and books and music. So, I have some sense of what kinds of books I need to share.

Knowing how busy school can get and knowing how I sometimes need a one stop shop when I am planning, I decided to take advantage of the time summer has to offer to amass a huge list of amazing nonfiction read alouds. I was looking for titles that my Grade 3/4 class would enjoy. Some are favourites from previous years and some I have yet to read myself. Thank goodness for the wonderful book bloggers out there that I used for inspiration. So here is my list of 25 “wonder inducing” nonfiction read alouds. A reference for me and one that I am sharing here.

The book I plan to use to launch my year: On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky This book made my own thoughts whirl and swirl and race around my head. It has all the perfect themes of wonder, curiousity and thinking outside of the box.

 On a Beam of Light

Based on some picture book biographies I already loved, I grew that list to include:

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin written by Jen Bryant  and illustrated by Melissa Stewart

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Stewart

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Eric Puybaret

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon written by Jaqueline Davies illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Biographies - Wonder Inducing NonFiction Read Alouds There's a Book for That

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Melissa Sweet 

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A Nivola

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Biographies Wonder Inducing NonFiction Read Alouds There's a Book for That

Some titles to explore amazing places and the world around us:

Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Redwoods by Jason Chin

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin

The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins

A Rock is Lively written by Diana Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Sea Otter Inlet by Celia Godkin

Fire! by Celia Godkin

Infinity and Me written by Kate Hosford and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Energy Island: How one community harnessed the wind and changed their world by Allan Drummond

The World Around us Wonder Inducing NonFiction Read Alouds There's a Book for That

And to learn about creatures great and small:

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins

Ape written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland

Wonder Inducing NonFiction Read Alouds There's a Book for That

 And a title to be released this fall:

Is This Panama?: A Migration Story written by Jan Thornhill  and illustrated by Soyeon Kim

Is this Panama?

Will I read all of these titles aloud this year? Maybe not. Perhaps interests and passions will take us in different directions. But this list will help keep me on track to make sure I am sharing lots of books that inspire both learning and thinking in my room!

Do you have some other must share nonfiction titles for Grade 3/4 listeners? Would love to hear your suggestions!

I learn so much by reading all of the blog posts that link to the Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday event that KidLit Frenzy hosts. Visit Alyson’s blog to see what books are shared this week.

NFPB2013leaves