Watermelon Fun

June 26, 2009

Excellent text for boys!

When I think of a cool, refreshing snack in summer, watermelon comes to mind.  As a kid, I was always annoyed with the black seeds that pelted the delicious fruit.  Yet, it was always fun to spit them out.  At the dinner table, I had to be more proper, placing the seeds in a little pile on my plate.

When I saw the cover of Peter Spit a Seed at Sue, John Manders‘s illustrations invited a read.  What fun!

Peter Spit a Seed at Sue

Jackie French Koller created a playful tale of four friends, two boys and two girls,  being bored on a summer’s day.  Spitting watermelon seeds becomes the fun that spins into a great adventure.

Thinking of children, I think they would connect with this story.  Many will say they have encountered boring days.  I love the way that Jackie Koller has taken an every day happening and spun some fun into it.  Our students can do the same.  As a read aloud, you will invited laughter from your children.  Have fun remembering!

Savorings for reading and in writing for Peter Spit a Seed at Sue:

  • Verbs – chomped, slurped, gulped, burped
  • Alliteration – “You pepper Pet!  I’ll splatter Sue!”
  • Apostrophe for not so familiar contractions- zippin’, zingin’, let ‘em fly!
  • Mischievous – reminds me of what a boy (my boys) might do;

I turned and grinned at Mary Lou.  How could we help but join in, too?

  • Humorous – hilarious illustrations; boisterous read

Susie spit one back at Pete,

Which struck and stuck right on his seat.

(Warsaw Community Public Library)



Storm is Coming

June 23, 2009

Heather Tekavec creates a fun story based on point of view in Storm is Coming.  The title page illustration, by Margaret Spengler, gives a foreshadowing of a thunderstorm approaching. 

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The farmer begins, “Storm is coming.  We better get the animals safely in the barn!”  Once the animals were in the barn, the cat awakens and asks, “Who is Storm?” 

Speculation begins between the animals.  Who is Storm?  Each animal shares some terrible attribute they think the animal might be.  As the weather becomes bleak, the animals are ironically encouraged.  They believe “Storm” will be driven away.

“The wind will blow Storm away.”

“The rain will wash away our tracks, so Storm can’t follow us.”

In the end, “Storm” never arrives and the animals cheer. 

Savorings for reading and in writing for Storm is Coming:

  • Show don’t Tell – “The cows just lay in the corner and moaned.”
  • Tag on Said – “Round ‘em up!” the farmer called as Dog ran circles around the sheep.
  • Past and Present Verbs – “The barking, the flapping, the bleating, the mooing awoke cat from her nap in the hay.  She stretched and yawned and opened one eye.”
  • Magic of 3
  • Character Emotion – “And he must be-e-e very sca-a-a-ry!” the sheep stammered, starting to shiver.”

Dream of Flying

June 22, 2009

Do you remember having a wagon that sparked your imagination?  Mine was red.  I remember sitting in it and pretending to fly like Amelia Earhart.  Or, the wagon would become a limo and I was the movie star waving at her fans.  The wagon carried my dog as we went on adventures.  Spark any memories now? 

Friday my Radio Flyer Flew was a book that caught my eye.  On the front cover, a boy is sitting in his red wagon with flying goggles on, sailing through the air.  Zachary Pullen created an excellent text about a boy who lets his imagination go.  He pulls the reader in and gives him/her a glimpse into the child’s creativity.  The large zoomed-in illustrations capture your eye.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Friday my Radio Flyer Flew:

  • Transitions – One Saturday, Then on Monday, Finally
  • Alliteration
  • Snapshot of an event each day
  • Sequencing the days of the week
  • Ellipse – connects the events of one page to the next
  • Specific Verbs – motivated, tinkered

New Postings

June 1, 2009

It has been a while since I have blogged.  Family life has taken precedence.  I’m still learning to juggle family, church, teaching, coaching, and writing.  I have been writing though. 

At the Michigan Reading Conference, I attended a workshop called Reading vs. the Wii.  The gist of the conference was finding literature that spark boys to read.  Having two boys myself, this idea has become a mission on mine.  The presenter mentioned that we need to focus on books that have male characters.  Now, when I’m looking at new books in the library or bookstore, I notice if  the main character is a male.  I will be featuring several throughout the summer.

Please remember to comment on postings that you find helpful.  Feedback helps me become a better writer.  Also, the books posted can be used in so many ways.  I will only show a few possible teaching points.  Fall in love with the text and the teaching will be simple.


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