I’m Me!

June 28, 2017

Imogen visits her aunt, in the book I’m Me. They are ready for a day of pretend. AuntieImage result for I'm Me! Sara (by Sara Sheridan) shares her ideas of fun adventures: a pirate’s parrot, a dragon-taming knight, a far-out astronaut. Imogen thinks on the sidebar and eventually picks a favorite activity – reading books.

Let’s see. Will you be … a naughty monkey? And I’m feeding you fruit on a hot, sandy beach in Zanzibar? We’ll swim with the dolphins and splash in the waves.”

Kids have everyday, normal adventures that can become fun stories.  Sara Sheridan shares in this video how her idea came from her niece, Imogen.

Savorings for reading and writing for I’m Me:

  • Every Day Happeningvisiting a family member. Children often do not know what to write about.
  • Sidebarthe real conversation happening versus the imaginative play
  • Visualization / Imagination – “Can we play pretend?”  Creating stories and dramas
  • Love of Reading how books are important to play
  • Illustrator NoteMargaret ChamberlainDraws with ink and paper. Then scans the images into the computer and adds color




Born in the Wild

June 27, 2017

Image result for born in the wild by lita judgeBaby animals are adorable. Cuddly. Cute. Mama animals love and protect their young, nuzzling them to move, licking them with kisses. Kids will “awww” when they see the mama/child couple throughout the book, Born in the Wild.

Using a repetitive structured text, Lita Judge breaks the book into sections. Instead of a traditional subtitle, a sentence topic announces the proceeding two-page spread with its corresponding three animals.

The baby is part of a family.

The baby needs to be caressed and groomed.

The baby grows strong through play.

See the video book review by TTPM

Savorings for reading and in writing for Born in the Wild:

  • Additional Facts – in the back, each animal is expounded upon (a great way to show students how to include any extra facts into their piece)
  • Repeating Structure – one-line sentence followed by three animal explanations
  • Font Manipulation – highlighted names are colored text
  • Glossary – additional websites
  • Connection – to field trips, science research

Chickens to the Rescue

June 26, 2017

My friend, Tammy, loves chickens. She barters for them at swap meets and collects their eggs. She names them and notices their character. And Tammy tells chicken stories. I love her stories!

I’m not sure her chickens have come to her rescue, but John Himmelman‘s characters do. They are ready to help each member of the family every day of the week in Chickens to the Rescue.

Right now, I could enlist the chickens to do some every day chores: dishes, laundry, scrubbing the kitchen floor, even going through the piles in the closets. Your kids will laugh at the attributes each chicken displays.

A YouTube interview of John Himmelman talking about Chickens to the Rescue (almost 9 min.)

Savorings for reading and in writing for Chickens to the Rescue:

  • Sequence of Events according to the days of the week
  • Character description
  • Repeating Structure
  • Bookend ending – ready for the next book

South Whitley Public Libary

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T!

June 24, 2017

Kids are strong-willed. They want to do things their own way. Parents try to warn them, Image result for If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don't!to protect them, but sometimes the kids have to figure out life the hard way. In If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T by Elise Parsley, the little girl makes promises that she will be careful with her piano. Her mother warns her not to lose it (how can she lose a piano?).

“You’ll tell her that it’s okay. You will hold on tight to your piano and keep it neat and clean and you’ll even promise to push it to the beach yourself-cross your heart.

But on the way, your arms will get heavy. Then your legs will get draggy. “

Learning that you can lose a piano, the little girl shows how to choose the positive from a disappointment.

Click here to see illustrations and hear a chat (10 min.) with the author.

Savorings for reading and writing for If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T:

  • Sequential Steps/ Transitionsfirst, finally, but on the way
  • Second Person Essaytalks to the reader about how to do something
  • Voice you can hear a kid sharing her point of view
  • Community Building – the character changes
  • Twist on PersuasionKids love to persuade their parents
    • Mother warns not to take the piano



Coral Reefs

June 23, 2017

Jason Chin interweaves the setting and story, enticing the reader into the story. His character, who opens the Coral Reef book at the library, sees the animals up close and personal. He creates an illustrated way a reader’s brain visualizes the scenes while reading. Your students will get to journey along with learning the vocabulary attached with Coral Reefs. The food chain web interweaves through the pages.

This book lends itself to close reading, mapping out the ocean creatures and habitats. Read and reread to understand how nature works together, predator and prey, environment and adaptations, partnerships among sea creatures.

Link to live coral reefs, bringing nature alive.

Savorings for reading and writing for Coral Reefs:

  • Building Background Knowledge – Science: Food chains, vocabulary; builds curiosity to research and learn more
  • Setting – the young girl is whisked away from the library into a magical place
    • Even the ending leads you into another story
  • Illustrations – captures the mind of the reader
  • Close Reading – web
  • Author’s Note – where he gathered his ideas
    • Importance of research
    • Persuading the reader to take action to help coral reefs

Curious Critters: Backyard Animals

June 22, 2017

Mo Wilems found an excellent way to engage children with his books by having them interact with the pigeon character. My kindergarten summer school class answered the pigeon every time.

David FitzSimmons created another text written in second person to grab the reader’s attention in Curious Critters: Backyard Animals,   He has a mixture of familiar animals kids recognize that “talk” to them. Throw in some humor and the kids want to learn more. Sneaky right? Who would think a scientific, informational text could be creative and fun? David did.

“Air Traffic Control, This is Monarch Flight 1 preparing for takeoff, flying from Milkweed, Minnesota to Oyamel Fir Forest, Mexico. The estimated flight time for our two-thousand mile journey is just over two months.”

Kids will be asking for this read aloud and more. Use it as a mentor text for their own animal reports. No more boring.

Video clip of the author sharing how he takes the photos of each animal.

Savorings for reading and writing for Curious Critters: Backyard Animals:

  • Genre Forms within the collection – first person narrative, riddle, poems including a limerick, math connection
  • Class Book -have kids create a two-page layout of an animal
  • Onomatopoeia – animal sounds
  • Voice – Bluegill, Eastern Cottontail – point of view with dialect
  • Author’s Note – importance of nature, reading, animals

You Are (Not) Small

June 21, 2017

You are (Not) Small by Anna King (ill. by Christoper Weyant)  is a delightful, simplistic worded text with a powerful punch of a theme. Opinions. We all have them. Kids have them. Adults have them. Each of us thinks our opinion makes the most sense and is valid.

Anna King takes an opinion of size – small or big – and makes the reader think. I can imagine children agreeing with the small creature. Yep, he is big.

Then, I can again imagine another group of children being surprised by the next larger creature. Have fun with the kids as you read aloud. Engage in asking their opinion. For older students, this book, simple as it is, ushers in a discussion of fact and opinion.

Fun reading of the book on YouTube.

Book savorings for reading and writing for You Are (Not Small):

  • Dedication: Author’s purpose:  “To Kate and Lily, for inspiring us every day. We love you exactly the way you are.”
  • Opinions based on Perspective
  • Community Building – compromise; differences
  • Comparisons – mathematical, relational
  • Bookend ending – predict the next scene; use it as a springboard for writing differences in the classroom