"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Celebrating Seuss

What a Seussical celebration!
Mr. Schu and I set the date
and were sure not to be late.
A great book did we choose
one sure not to lose.
A book that would appeal to each child
mild-mannered and wild.
Our students did read
with just the right speed.
Words funny and rhyming
with just the right timing. 
What can it be?
Dr. Seuss's ABC!
This was only day one
but, boy did we have fun!
We're not done yet!
After reading together
it got even better!

 My friend, Mr. Schu, from Watch.Connect.Read., and his students recited the reading pledge to my kindergartners!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I love the way this day looked and sounded in my library

This is the fourth graders were doing in my library today:

Adding their voices to a Voicethread 


Watching a BrainPOP clip alone

Watching a BrainPOP clip together

Searching Destiny

and interviewing each other with the flip video camera.

After teaching a lesson on searching in and taking notes from electronic resources, I asked the students to share what they learned either through a Voicethread or by interviewing each other using the flip video camera. 

It was a voluntary activity, so not a real assessment of the lesson, but a good way to find out what did resonate with students.

Here's what they learned today:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Snapshot of My Reading Life

This week's
 World Read Aloud Day 
Blogging Challenge 
asked bloggers to take a photograph 
that captures a glimpse of our reading lives.
Here are mine:
At School:
This photo is typical of my school days, where I am creating stacks of books to read aloud or book talk. I looked around my library and it is full of book stacks - on my reading bench, on my repair pile, on my cataloging pile, on my tbr pile - you get the idea.

Home is not much different!I love reading aloud. I think my students and I grow together through the stories we share about people, places and ideas, but I also love the times when I get to be just a reader and a book. 

When not reading for work (those piles are elsewhere), I usually have a book stack with something new, an old favorite, some word play book, and poetry (alas, I loaned out my Mary Oliver).
On this book stack is: 

Something new: Code Name Verity.
An old friend: Pride and Prejudice
A friend of an old friend: Austenland
An homage to an old friend: Remarkably Jane
A book that challenges me: Six Memos on the New Millennium
Two word play books that encourage me to have fun with language: Superior Person's Book of Words and Imaginary Words

For every book stack a reader
and for every reader a book stack.
Let's make reading a right for all people.

World Read Aloud Day is March 6th
Find a book
Find a person to share it with 
Read it Forward.

Wherein My Daughter Takes on the WRAD Blogging Challenge

My 20-year-old daughter has taken on the World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge!

I think one of the best experiences of being a parent is the time spent reading aloud with both my children. I say "is" because I still read aloud with both my college age and high school age children.  It is rare, but it still happens.  When they were young, we would read at any time of day, but I think my favorite read aloud time was late afternoon, snuggling on the couch with a stack of picture books or one really great chapter book. Readers grow readers: be a reader and pass it on.

WRAD Blogging Challenge IIAnswer these questions as your 10-year-old self or elementary school self would have and as you would today.

I think everyone in the world should read...Elementary School: Just so Stories  
Now: The Great Gatsby

If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be...
Always: My mother.  She has an amazing way of making the characters jump off the page and into your head, and her voice is engaging and comforting at the same time.  She is also funny!

When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is...
Elementary School: I went through a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs stage, when I wanted to read that book out loud to anyone who would sit still long enough. 
Now: Mrs. Bennett from Pride & Prejudice.  Her ridiculous comments and opinions make her very fun to voice, especially if you do it like the Colin Firth movie version.  Nancy Drew, which I frequently read aloud with my family in the summers, is always a fun option.

The genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is...
Elementary School: There were many different types of picture books that we liked to share as family read alouds, and chapter books as I got older.  I liked biographies, historical fiction and adventure stories.
Now: Jane Austen. Her books should be their own genre. Actually, classics, followed by historical fiction and realistic fiction.

The last book I wish I’d written or inspired me to write my own story is...
Elementary School:  I think this was around the time that I heard a story about people with a volcano in their basement that they thought was a ghost (maybe I came up with it, but I don’t think so).  I made it into a create-your-own book that you do the illustrations for and write out the text and then send it in to be published.
Now: Peter Reynolds’ I’m Here.  I love this book’s message about being yourself and loving others for who they are.  I wish I could put these sentiments into a book as nicely as Peter.

World Read Aloud Day is a week from tomorrow.  It is not too late! Pick up a book, find a listener and Read It Forward.

Jamming with PUNK FARM

Today we read,
by author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka!

Our LibraryPals in Minnesota sent us Punk Farm.  Here is Jarrett Krosoczka signing the book for us when he visited them. Thank you Parkview Readers!

This short video shows how much we loved reading 
Punk Farm:
This book trailer for Punk Farm really gives you a great sense of the book and it will help you sing with the band!

The students really enjoyed watching this illustration of a Punk Farm character unfold.

We visited a few parts of Jarrett Krosoczka's Webpage.  Jarrett started making books when he was in elementary school. Our favorite is Nightmare on Eat StreetIn the fun category (not that all of this was not fun) we also learned how to pronounce Krosoczka
There are
too many great things to mention them all here, but I will be back to this Website with my third graders.  I cannot wait to show them some of the video clips where Jarrett shares his writing process.  They are incredibly wonderful and inspiring.

A note about reading this book, I have an audio system in my library and let me just say, the microphone came in very handy today...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

World Read Aloud Day is...fast approaching - sign up now!

World Read Aloud Day is March 6th
Get inspired, watch this video: 

Their Stories Change the World: Voices from LitWorld LitClubs Around the World from LitWorld on Vimeo.

This The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles-themed Tagxedo was inspired by the read aloud experience in the classroom. 

My fifth graders love creating word clouds.  
Below, the students share why reading aloud is important.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reading Aloud: On Voicing Characters that are Determined, Clever, Caring and Sassy

What's your favorite book to read aloud?
Those of you who read my blog (Reading Aloud: Now and Then), will have seen that Flossie and the Fox by Patricia McKissack is one of my favorite books to read and that Flossie is my current favorite character to voice.

Flossie and the Fox is one of three books by Patricia McKissack that I read as part of a third grade author study. The other two are Mirandy and Brother Wind and Goin' Someplace Special. I love the three female protagonists in these stories and I love to share them with students.  These stories have messages of empowerment; include strong, determined and caring female characters; and, promote peace and social justice.  Did I mention that they are fun to read?  

World Read Aloud Day is March 6th
What book will you read
what message do you hope it will deliver?  

Strong, determined, clever, intelligent...they are all there.  
Oh, and so is sassy.  Maybe its the way I read it..
For the third grade author study, I keep with her picture books, but use Destiny, our OPAC, to show the students how her books exist throughout the collection - picture books, chapter books, biographies, folktales and nonfiction books.  She is an amazingly talented and prolific writer. We also watch the corresponding video clips from Reading Rockets (available through TeachingBooks or PBS Learning Media).  This interview with Patricia and Frederick McKissack is full of incredible wisdom as well as insight into their writing process.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reading Aloud: Now and Then

Week 2:  Now & Then

1. I think everyone in the world should read...

When I was 10:  Pippi LongstockingCaddie WoodlawnThe Diamond in the Window, and Rabbit Hill come quickly to mind when thinking about books I read in elementary school. But what would my 10 year-year-old self have been trying to get others to read?  I will go with All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor.  I loved this series.  I grew up in the city and could relate to the girls environment and their close-knit family, but their way of life was so different as to be intriguing. I think what attracted me was reading about life in a simpler time.

Now: Oh dear.  This is very hard. There are so many books I want my students, friends and family to read.  I could easily say, Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  It is incredible and I have put it in every student, teacher, family member and friend's hand that I can, but I am going to have to go with Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A.Milne. This is a book that was read to me when I was young, that I read to my children and that I try to put in students' hands.  I give it away in a new baby "basket of books". The celebration of imagination and creativity is the best in any book I have read.  I see the themes and ideas from Winnie the Pooh reinvented in newer stories, such as when, in Bink and Gollie, there is a trek to the Andes.  Reading this part, which I loved, felt like an homage to Christopher Robin traveling to Africa and back one morning.  Winnie-The-Pooh is also ever so quotable!

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be...

When I was 10: My mother.  She has a beautiful cadence and a lovely lilt to her voice. She was an early childhood educator - I was a student in her head start program in the 60's.  She knows how to read a story.

Now: Still my mother.  These days we often have three generations in a house at one time and inevitably Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys is pulled off a shelf and the performance begins. She is the hands down read aloud winner.

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is...
When I was 10: Tough to say.  I think my favorite character to impersonate was Pippi Longstocking.  She was so sassy and smart.

Now: Again, so many good ones to choose from!  I would have to go with Flossie, from Flossie and the Fox by Patricia McKissack.  What can I say....she's sassy and smart.

4. The genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is...

My house is and was filled with bookshelves of books.  Readers beget readers and my parents are very big readers, so for this question, I will go with the book stack next to my bed.

When I was 10: Historical fiction, hands down, followed by animal fantasy.  As I mentioned above, I loved reading books like Caddie Woodland and Rabbit Hill.

Now: If I take away the books I am reading for work (which is a pleasure, mind you).  I would likely say Poetry followed closely by historical fiction, if you can call Jane Austen's books historical fiction.  They remain by my bedside so I can pick them up and visit with old friends any time I want.

5. The last book I wish I’d written or inspired me to write my own story is...

When I was 10: I would say The Diary of Anne Frank. After reading the book, I kept a diary for fifteen years straight. There's not much to my story, but it did inspire me to write!
Now: When my children were young they loved the Boynton books.  Inspired by A is for Angry: An Animal and Adjective Alphabet, I wrote a winter alphabet book.  It is sitting on my desktop ten years later.  
I had so much fun answering these questions.  It shows that books create lasting impressions. Help make connections like these possible for all people around the globe.

March 6, 2013
Join the World Read Aloud Day movement

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reading Aloud Creates Shared Memories

WRAD Read It Forward Blogging Challenge

Week 1:
What do you think is special about reading aloud?
I was pondering this post while out sledding with my eighteen-year-old son today, when he turned to me and said, “I want one of Jasmine’s cookies.”  I knew exactly what he was referring to – the delicious-sounding coconut cookies in the book Jasmine’s Parlour Day by Lynn Joseph.  He loved having that book read to him when he was young.  I can quite easily pull up the image of sitting on the bed in his room, leaning against the wall, pillows piled up around us, reading the book with him.  We read it so often that Jasmine became a literary friend of the family and we had to seek out a market that sold the Trinidad treat. The book opened up a world unknown to my son, a community of sellers with market stalls on an island beach.  he asked questions and we found answers.
Reading aloud promotes a flow of ideas between author and reader and between reader and listener and between listener and his or her world.  Books connect us, but reading books aloud weaves a tapestry of connectedness.  Reading aloud creates shared experiences and within those experiences memories, memories not only of the book, its characters, the plot or setting, but memories of where and when the book was read.  Reading aloud is like storytelling.  The sparkle in the eye of the listener and reader is a magical thing. The energy between reader and listener makes a story come alive.  
I will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day by Skyping, managing a readaloud-a-thon for the families and READING ALOUD with any one who crosses my path.  My favorite World Read Aloud experience last year was reading poems for two voices with Mr. Schu and his students.  My fifth graders are my RAD WRAD Ambassadors and will be spending the week leading up to March 6th making announcements in classrooms and over the loud speaker as well as creating posters and digital messages.  I am looking forward to recreating this experience this year.
Please Read it Forward
March 6, 2013
Register for World Read Aloud Day