Category: Uncategorized


Read Aloud

I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems

            This is a hilarious story about an elephant, Gerald, and his best friend, Piggie. Gerald tells Piggie the crazy story of how he broke his trunk, but it is a very LONG story. Piggie becomes irritated that the story is taking so long, and his frustration makes the story even funnier. The illustrations, content, and humor would be appropriate for all elementary grade levels. The book is written in speech bubbles, much like a comic book, and it would be a perfect read for a struggling or unmotivated reader. This was an easy and fun read! J

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

            This is an unusual tale about Nobody “Bod” Owens, who, as a toddler, witnessed the murder of his parents and siblings by a man named Jack, but managed to escape into a nearby graveyard before Jack murdered him. Bod was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Owens who raised him in the graveyard, but Bod also received much guidance from the supernatural spirits in the graveyard. Bod had many supernatural friends in the graveyard, and they taught him special talents. One of the most important talents Bod was taught was how to “fade.” This was very important because this talent kept Bod safe from Jack, who was still searching for him. As the book developed, we were introduced to several of Bod’s supernatural friends, and we had the opportunity to witness how Bod’s life and experiences were influenced as a result of the people in his life.

As I think about our students, they are just as influenced as Bod, and unfortunately, I believe that adults forget that sometimes. Bod had many people, well spirits, who cared about him and taught him, and our students have many people in their lives who care for them and who teach them. In a perfect world, we would all be teaching the same behaviors, values, and content, but we ALL know that’s not happening. Sadly, teaching that occurs at school is the only teaching that some students get. For example, at lunch, the students will try to lick their food like a dog or eat peas and mashed potatoes with their fingers! And it’s April! This happened just today. I sat there and thought, “What are these parents teaching their kids?” But that’s the problem; some parents aren’t teaching them anything. I thought for a moment and then calmly said, “Boys and girls use a fork to eat their food. So please use yours.” We may only teach our students for one year, but we could greatly influence the lives of our students, just as the spirits influenced and taught Bod. J

I listened to Neil Gaiman read Chapter 1. He read the chapter slow enough so that people could keep up, enunciated his words so that the listener could clearly understand what he said, and read with expression. However, I felt that he looked uncomfortable just standing at the podium, the video was dark, and overall, I would have just preferred to read it myself. This would be a great resource for struggling readers or unmotivated readers. They could follow along with him while he read, and then they could reread the chapter for extra reading practice. I bet students would love this book, and this resource would help to ensure that all students are successful at reading it.

Some books that are similar to The Graveyard Book include:

  • Lewis and Clark… and Jodie, Freddi, and Samantha (Time Warp Trio) by Jon Scieszka
  • City of the Dead (The Haunting of Derek Stone) by Tony Abbott
  • Bayou Dogs by Tony Abbott
  • Evil Star by Anthony Horowitz
  • Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz

Read-Aloud

“Read-aloud is an instructional practice where teachers, parents, and caregivers read texts aloud to children. The reader incorporates variations in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact, questions and comments to produce a fluent and enjoyable delivery” (Morrison & Wlodarczyk, 2009, p, 111). I absolutely LOVE to read-aloud to my students! At our school, we have an allotted amount of time built into our daily schedule for read-aloud, and I think our students have such an advantage over students who don’t have read-aloud in their daily schedule. Read-aloud is so beneficial! When teachers read to students, they increase student’s understanding and motivation to read, as well as, clarify and build new vocabulary, and model fluency (Ivey, 2003). In Kindergarten, not all students are independent readers yet, so we use read-aloud frequently, usually two to three times per day, at various times. The teacher will read a book she has previously picked out that goes along with our unit of study, or she will read a book that a student suggests. She reads from a range of genre, topics, and materials, and this helps students locate books that meet their interests when they have some free reading time (Ivey, 2003). During and after reading a text, a common strategy that is used to help them engage in text is making connections (Morrison & Wlodarczyk, 2009). Students had to be taught how to make connections by modeling, but now some students can make some really thoughtful connections. Requiring students to engage with text improves comprehension (Morrison & Wlodarczyk, 2009). The research proves that read-aloud is very beneficial for students, so I don’t understand why all schools/teachers don’t implement this practice? It is our job to do what we can to make our students more successful readers, and read-aloud is certainly one step to take in getting them there.

Other than the fact that research proves that read-alouds are beneficial for students, I think I love them so much because that provides us an opportunity to “hook” struggling or unmotivated readers, or allows us to provide clarification as we read text that may be too difficult for students. My nephew is 14 years old and LD, and he reads on a third grade reading level. Last year in one of his classes he must have watched the movie “Old Yeller” because he became obsessed with wanting to read the book. He brought it home from the library, but taking one look at the book (it looked as thick as Wonderstruck) and the text, I knew he couldn’t read the book independently. I was too busy with graduate school and working at the time to take on reading this book, so I told him that we would read it during the summer. So when summer came around, we went to the public library and borrowed Old Yeller. When we got home, I began to read the book aloud, and he listened intently to every word I said. When I began reading, my husband was walking through, not paying a lot of attention, but something that I read must have caught his attention, and he sat down and listened as well. I read as much as I could and then told them we would continue the story tomorrow. As I closed the book, my husband said, “Oh, my! When you read….. it makes the story come alive. Now I understand why kids like for their teachers to read to them.” That day, with an innocent read-aloud, I hooked my husband (a struggling reader who had never completed an entire book) on reading. Every day, Cody and I had to wait on him to get home from work before we could begin reading Old Yeller. After that Daniel started reading for leisure (about fishing, of course!), and he still enjoys for me to read to him. To me, that was a great success story! As I read the Ivey article (2003), it mentioned that out of 1,700 sixth-graders surveyed, a whopping 62% indicated a preference for read-aloud, and it made me think about Daniel’s comment. Most kids enjoy being read aloud to because it does make the more ‘explainable’ and it makes the story come alive. To be honest, I’m surprised this percentage was not higher. I know in our classroom, students ARE most engaged when the teacher is doing read-aloud.

References

Ivey, G. (2003). ‘The teacher makes it more explainable’ and other reasons to read aloud in the intermediate grades. Reading Teacher, 56(8), 812.

Morrison, V., & Wlodarczyk, L. (2009). Revisiting Read-Aloud: Instructional Strategies That Encourage Students’ Engagement With Texts. Reading Teacher, 63(2), 110-118.

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Wonderstruck

Summary

Wonderstruck is a brilliant combination of quality literature and detailed charcoal pictures that tell two stories set fifty years apart. As I began reading the book, I was introduced to Ben, a partially deaf young boy who had recently lost his mother and didn’t know his father, who lived with his aunt and uncle. Ben lives in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota. As I looked at the pictures, I did not realize how the pictures and the text went together. The pictures would resemble what had been read in the text, but a deaf, young girl was in the pictures instead of Ben.  It wasn’t until the end of the book that I realized how the text and pictures intertwined.

                One night while Ben lay awake in his Bed, he looked at his house and noticed his mother’s bedroom light was on. He took a flashlight and headed towards the house, hoping it would be his mother. When he walked in the kitchen, Ben saw all his mother’s favorite quotes on the refrigerator. He could hear the radio and smell cigarette smoke. When he walked into the bedroom, he found his cousin trying on his mother’s clothes and smoking her cigarettes. Ben told his cousin to go home, and he stayed at the house for a while. He rummaged through his mother’s things and found money in a tin can, a book called Wonderstruck with a Kincaid Books bookmark that had an address, telephone number, and a message to his mom from a man named Danny, and a locket with a picture of a man named Daniel in it. Ben thought that perhaps Danny was his father, and he lives in New York City. Ben gathered the courage to dial the number he thought might be his father’s house, and …….

                When Ben awoke, he realized he was in the hospital. He could not speak and he was completely deaf. His family explained to Ben that the house had been hit by lightning, and the current traveled through the wires and into the phone, which Ben happened to be holding at the time. Ben was transferred to Duluth Children’s Hospital to do further testing, and he ran away from the hospital, without telling his family, to go to New York to look for his father.

                Once in New York, he goes to the address he believes is his father’s, but it isn’t. Ben then goes to the address of Kincaid Books, but the store is closed down. By this time, Ben is hot, tired, and frustrated. He whipped around and rushed towards the museum. In the movement, he must have dropped Wonderstruck because a boy picked it up and handed it to him. Ben went into the museum. While Ben marveled at the meteorite, he noticed a piece of folded paper on it. He got the paper and the paper read: What’s inside the box?  At that moment Ben noticed his Wonder Box was missing. Also on the note was a map with an X marking a particular spot. Ben followed the map to that spot and ended up at the wolf diorama. The wolf diorama had been created in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota, Ben’s hometown. He also found the boy there that had given him Wonderstruck outside of Kincaid Books. The boy, named Jamie, gave Ben his Museum Box back. Ben and Jamie were trying to talk, but an elderly lady with white hair was looking at the wolf diorama. They tried to wait until she left, but decided to leave and give her time with the wolves. Jamie led Ben to a storage room where their friendship blossomed, and the two revealed information about each other. Jamie’s dad works in the museum, so he leaves Ben there to sleep.

                When Ben awoke, he wandered around the museum. He found himself always going back to the wolf diorama. Jamie would eventually come back and the two would wander the museum together, talking, laughing, and exploring new areas of the museum. As the two explored, they came upon a room filled with filing cabinets. Jamie went away to his mother’s house and was gone for two days, so Ben decided to look through the filing cabinets to find out information about the wolf diorama. After much time, he found a letter written to the Gunflint Lake librarian (his mother) from a man named Daniel Lobel, that explained that he and a group of colleagues were coming there to sketch and photograph the region and animal life of the region to make a diorama for an exhibit at the museum. Ben immediately knew this had to be his father and rushed out to the information desk of the museum to ask about his father, and he was acting so out-of-the-ordinary that the lady called security. Ben ran into another room where there were three workers, and he asked if they knew his father. Of course Ben couldn’t hear what they were saying, but he could tell they didn’t know his father. Ben ran into another room that looked so familiar the furniture, fabric, and floor. Ben realized this room was an illustration from Wonderstruck. As Ben tried to piece it all together, he drifted off to sleep.

                He awoke as Jamie shook his foot. Ben proceeded to tell Jamie all the information he had gathered about his father. Ben also confronted Jamie about not telling him that Kincaid books had just moved, not closed down, but Jamie said he did tell him the day they met, he just didn’t know that Ben was deaf and couldn’t hear what he was saying. Ben was very angry and left.

                Ben walked to Kincaid Books. He went inside, but didn’t see anybody for a few minutes. Then, he saw the elderly woman with the white hair he had seen at the wolf diorama at the museum with an elderly man. Ben, who had been sitting on the steps, got up to walk towards them, but tumbled down the steps. After making sure that Ben was alright, the woman noticed the locket around Ben’s neck, which had opened, exposing the picture of his father. The woman began crying, and wrote on paper asking if he was Ben. The woman, Rose, and her brother, Walter, asked about his mother and how he found them. Walter brought Ben something to eat, and Rose began to answer Ben’s questions.

                Walter used to work in the museum before he opened Kincaid Books. He had given Rose Wonderstruck when she was young. Rose and her husband were both deaf, but their son, Danny, was a hearing baby. They loved Danny very much. Rose gave Danny Wonderstruck and signed it Love, M. M was for Mother. When Danny grew up, he was hired to work at the museum. He created dioramas, and as Ben already knew, he traveled to Gunflint Lake to prepare for the wolf exhibit. That is where Danny met Elaine, Ben’s Mother. Danny fell in love with Elaine immediately. He would write wonderful things about her to Rose. The only problem was that Danny would never move out of the city, and Elaine would never move away from Gunflint Lake. Danny had a heart condition, and died a few years after his return from Gunflint Lake. Elaine and Ben attended his funeral, but Elaine didn’t tell the Lobels that Ben was Danny’s, but they have wondered about it ever since. Neither Rose nor Ben have to wonder anymore… they found each other and the truth.

 Reflection

                This was a short, easy, and enjoyable read! It only took me four hours to read, compared to my initial estimate of ten hours! The text was written in language that was to read and understand. The plot was very well-designed. Poor Ben had been dealt a bad hand- his mother’s death, didn’t know who his father was, having to share a room with a cousin who let it be known he didn’t want him there, got struck by lightning which caused complete deafness, and once he was in New York it seemed like he just couldn’t catch a break. I found myself wanting to skip to the end to see how the book ended, but I didn’t want to miss any exciting and important events that may have happened. I had hoped for a happy ending, which the book had, but I had hoped he would find his father. He found his grandmother, so I was happy. J

                The pictures in the book were magnificent. I knew that the pictures and text were related, but I couldn’t quite figure out how. The text had to tell me how they related. Once I realized the relationship and finished reading the text, I went back and admired the pictures again. This gave me a better understanding of the story as a whole.

Brian Selznick is truly a gifted author. It requires great craft to tell two stories, one in pictures and one in words, set fifty years apart, and intertwine them to make one story. Brilliant! This book is truly a masterpiece. I’ve not read anything else like it. As I was exploring the websites Dr. Frye had listed for us, I learned that he has another book written in pictures and words, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Perhaps that can be some pleasure reading for this summer.

This book can definitely be used in the classroom. It would be more fitting for upper grades because of the way the two stories are told separately, and then brought together. I loved the resource provided that allowed students to go on virtual tours of the museum. That would be a great extension to this book! For my Kinders, I could read parts of the story to them and I could have them create a Museum Box. Although they are young, I’m sure they have things that are important to them that they could put in this box. Before having them create a Museum Box, I would show them mine.

Museum Box

                I am one that mainly uses pictures to remember important things. I have thousands of pictures, from every event, family get-togethers, or just because. However, I do have a few items that hold special importance to me. Really, I guess I have three museum boxes. Two of them my mom prepared, and one of them I have created. One of the boxes my mom gave me contains items when I was a baby such as my baby book, clothes, blankets, etc. The other box she gave contains items that she felt would be important to me from her marriage with my father. My dad passed away when I was seven, and he was sick most of that time, so I don’t have a good idea of what their relationship was like according to my memories. This box includes her engagement ring and wedding band, photographs, newspaper articles that my father had saved, and other jewelry he had given her. My mom wrote a note with each item in this box explaining why it was in there and how she/he had gotten it and when. My mom also included in this box items from his funeral- the guest book, cards received, and the newspaper obituary. My mom didn’t give me these boxes until I was married, and I cherish them so much, especially the one with my father’s things.

                My museum box contains items I have gathered over the years that are very significant to me.

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There would be a doll about two feet tall, that a family friend made for my mother when she was a child, and she gave it to me when I was a young girl. In addition, there is a rotating, musical trinket that has red birds on it. I collected these musical trinkets as a young girl, and this one is especially significant because my aunt gave it to me. I was named Lisa Gail after my aunt, Sherry Gail. She was like a mother to me. My mom always told me that she didn’t want her to name me after her because they would mark me. They must have because I am her made over! I always told her that I was proud to be named after her. We had a bond that was indescribable. She passed away seven years ago, and if I ever have a daughter, I plan to “mark” her with the Gail name as well.

                Another item in my museum box is the Bible that I received at my baptismal (a VERY important moment in my spiritual life). I was so excited to get my first “grown-up” Bible (previously I had used Children’s editions). I used this Bible for several years before receiving a new one and placing this one in my museum box.

                The next two items are important because they are reminders of the love of my husband’s love. The first is a promise ring. It was made of white gold, shaped in a heart, and one half of the heart rotated between diamonds and sapphires (my birthstone). I only had this promise ring for about two and a half months before I got my engagement ring (our relationship moved very quickly), but I loved it and still do. You will also find our wedding invitation. Daniel and I were young when we married (I was 19) and broke, so we made our own invitations. I typed the information on the computer, and then we printed them using the kits we purchased. Daniel had a very old printer, so it printed extremely slow. Neither of us knew how to adjust the paper size on the tray, so sometimes when it would pick up the invitation it would make it print crooked. To prevent it from doing this, you had to sit there and hold the corner edge of the stack of invitations in place. It was late when we started this project and his printer prints so slow that by the time it had printed half of them, I was so sleepy I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Daniel told me to go to sleep and he would keep an eye on it. I woke up at 7am, and he was still sitting there holding those invitations! He had stayed up all night to make sure our invitations were perfect. Every time I think of this, I am reminded of how much he loves me because not everybody would have done that. I am the luckiest woman! 😀

                During life, we have friends who come and go, but very few make an imprint on your heart. While managing at Mr. Roberts, I became friends with a teenager named Ashley. Over a period of three years our friendship blossomed, and we spent a lot of time together outside of work; going to school, eating, shopping, and just hanging out. Ashley loved to play cards and board games, and anytime we got together, that’s what we would end up doing. Each year, Ashley would go with the women of her family to Pigeon Forge for a Women’s Weekend of shopping and fun. The last year Ashley went to Pigeon Forge, she brought me back a deck of playing cards because we had been at my house, and of course we were going to play some kind of card game, but I didn’t have a plain deck of cards. This surprised me! How thoughtful of her! Unfortunately, the cards are still in their wrapper. Ashley died unexpectedly, at the age of 20, not long after she gave them to me, and we never had the opportunity to make memories while playing with them. April 23rd made two years since her death, and I greatly miss her! Here’s a picture of me and Ashley.

 

                The most recently added and final item in my museum box is a candle I received as a Christmas gift this past year. I received the gift from my best friend’s mother and church family member. I have known her my whole life and have spent much time with her. This past Christmas she handed me a small blue gift back that had the words “A Gift for You “on it. As I removed the tissue paper, I saw a candle in the bag. I got the candle out and noticed what it had written on the outside:

Lisa

She has a great will to succeed

Likes to keep things simple

I read these words and was amazed at how right-on they were, and she was. I keep this candle to remind myself that people can see through us and “see” who we are.

The most important thing I have learned is how an effective Independent  Reading Program should be set up. According to Moss and Young (2010), an Independent Reading Program “involves 15 minutes for a large-group focus lesson, 30 minutes for individual reading, and 15 minutes for student completion of response activities “, with 15 minutes of that time being spent on student –teacher conferences. In addition, there should also be two twenty-minute sessions of community time. In my experience, I have never witnessed an Independent Reading Program this way. Typically, teachers just inform students that it’s time for SSR and to get out their books. The teachers are usually grading papers, making phone calls, or catching up on gossip with other teachers during this time, so they’re not closely monitoring. Therefore, the students aren’t getting quality independent reading time. I love the idea about responding to what you read! Students could respond in so many different ways- journals, poems, storyboards, script-writing, etc. Students could be creative and think out of the box for this.

Teacher-student conferences are crucial for student success. They develop a sense of trust and care, so when the teacher offers feedback or correction, the student welcomes it. Every day I go up to fourth grade to conference with some of the lower-level  students during SSR. At first I thought students would be reluctant to conference with me (read out loud, I ask comprehension questions and clarify misunderstandings, make predictions, and get feedback from me about their reading), but I was very wrong. I walk in the classroom door and at least one each day (maybe more) will come up and ask, “Mrs. Beach can I read with you?” If I have to read with someone else that day and can’t read with them, they get upset. I think they like conferencing with me because I comment on the quality of their answers, probe them for more if needed, and comment on their rate and accuracy for the day. I guess, like most people, they just like the immediate feedback.

I especially like the idea of the community time. This is a great time for book talks and interactive read alouds. I was reading Amanda’s post and she mentioned that her students do commercials for the books. What a wonderful idea!!  Students would have so much fun doing this and hopefully some of their peers would be interested in the book. This community time is very important because it leads to motivation and interest which drives reading, so in my idea classroom, I would be able to have community time daily for students to share books. The powerpoint mentioned that sometimes students get caught up in a certain genre or series (which I have found to be true), and I believe the community time may prevent this from happening. It would allow students to hear about a book that they may not have picked up themselves, and may, ultimately, be motivated to read it.

In addition to developing an effective Independent Reading Program, I would be sure to have a spacious, defined reading area with a wonderful collection of literature. The space would consist of comfortable seating with area for students to spread out, books sorted by level in baskets aligning the reading rug, and bright lighting. My collection would include multi-genre texts of various levels that are of high-interest to my students. I would determine my students’ interests by administering an interest inventory.

Independent reading, alone, can not teach students the skills they need. Students need a balanced literacy program that includes teacher-directed reading and independent reading in order to produce successful readers. Implementing the program that Moss and Young (2010) recommend is sure to enrich vocabulary, enhance background knowledge, and increase comprehension, which will increase overall reading achievement.

 References

Moss, B. & Young, T. (2010). Creating lifelong readers through independent reading. Newark, DE: International Reading Association

 

My Students:  I teach at a very racially diverse school, with 75% of students qualifying for free and reduced meals. This is my first year of teaching, and I am in a Kindergarten classroom. So this year is not only a new chapter in my life, but also in the lives of my students.

My Project:  Since I am a beginning teacher, my classroom library is minimal. My goal is to expand my classroom library with quality literature that is of high-interest for my students from a variety of genres. I hope to get many different levels of text because all students read on different levels. Expanding my classroom library and having different levels of text will ensure that students are reading on their independent reading level, which will aid in enriching vocabulary, enhancing background knowledge, and increasing comprehension, overall reading achievement, and increasing interest and motivation to read.

My Students Need:  A collection of literature in the classroom that is of high-interest, leveled, and covers a variety of topics and genres.  This will allow them to become engrossed in the world of reading, which will help them master reading skills, while exposing them to literature that they may not have available at home.

Sample Titles To Expand My Collection:

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds

The Falling Raindrop by Neil Johnson and Joel Chin

 

Seed Soil Sun by Cris Peterson

 

The Dr. Seuss collection

In Arctic Waters by Laura Crawford

National Geographic for Kids

            In order for students to become better readers, they need to read. The more students read the more skillful and fluent they will become. How can we get students to read? Teachers can not ensure that students are reading nightly for the assigned amount of time, so a teacher should schedule independent reading time into her daily schedule. Independent reading time is a time set aside for students to do self-selected reading at their independent level, which means they are reading at a level where they can easily decode words and comprehend the text. If students are not reading text at their independent level, they may become frustrated and quit reading, or if the child is not challenged enough, they may become bored. Either way, if a child is not at the appropriate level, then they cannot progress in their reading skill.

                Independent reading is beneficial for students for many reasons.  Students are given vocabulary instruction during teacher-directed lessons, but the majority of vocabulary is learned through reading (Moss & Young, 2010). Independent reading also helps enhance background knowledge by allowing a student to experience something through reading that they may not actually experience in their lives (Moss & Young, 2010). Increased comprehension is another benefit. Students will begin to understand more of what they read- not only the text, but the meaning of the text. As students’ vocabulary become richer, background knowledge is enhanced, and their comprehension is increased, their overall reading achievement will increase. Becoming better readers will hopefully boost their motivation to read, causing them to be even more involved with text.

                There are many factors that can affect independent reading. To begin with, in order for it to be successful, it needs to be built into your classroom schedule. All students need to be reading books that are on their independent level. A great idea to ensure that students have appropriate books is to level the books in your classroom library. I know it will be very time-consuming, but it will make it much easier for students to find appropriate text to read. In regards to the classroom library, it is important that it include books from a wide variety of genres, and there are many, many to choose from.

                When I read, I like to be comfortable, and I want my students to be also. For seating I would have bean bags, cushion chairs, body pillows, and beach towels, and I may bring some fleece throws so students can ‘snuggle’ with their book. In Kindergarten, students could all lie/sit near the reading rug, but once you get in the older grades, they seem to take up more space. I would have one are designated for the cushion chairs and bean bags, but I would allow students to go to other parts of the room with their body pillows and beach towels. This way students would be spread out, and have lots of comfortable space. My library would consist of many books, all of which would be labeled according to AR level, and they would be stored in baskets according to reading level. The baskets would sit on shelves that lined the reading rug, defining the reading space. Books would be facing the students so that they could see the title and cover to help them make an easier selection.

                My collection of books would include various genres, topics, and academic levels. Just to name a few, I would include fantasy, fairy tale, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, and magazines. Having a wide variety of topics will help ensure that I have something in my library that will interest each student. To confirm this, I could administer the interest inventory to students so that I know what topics this particular class are interested in. My collection of books would also have books on varying levels because students will range in academic ability. I need to have books available that are two to three years below grade-level, on grade-level, and books that are two-to-three years that are above grade-level. I would use the following resources to help find quality literature for my classroom:

According to Moss and Young (2010), an Independent Reading Program “involves 15 minutes for a large-group focus lesson, 30 minutes for individual reading, and 15 minutes for student completion of response activities “, with 15 minutes of that time being spent on student –teacher conferences. I believe the duration of this program is too much for Kindergarteners, and will need to either be shortened of spread out throughout the day. In our classroom now, we don’t follow anything like this. Not all students can read independently, and I don’t recall students ever writing a personal response to something we or they have read. If I had my own classroom (preferably not KindergartenJ), I would hope that I could have a reading “block” and do all my reading activities at one time. I would do my short focus lesson whole-group, and then we would lead into thirty minutes of daily self-selected reading. When this time is over, I would give students time to respond to their reading with writing. Moss and Young (2010) also recommend there be twenty minutes of community reading time at least twice a week. This is an excellent time to do book talks, book sharing, and interactive read alouds. The purposes of these activities are to capture the students’ interest for a particular book and motivate them to go and read the book. I would love to be able to have a schedule where I could incorporate community time daily because I believe it is very motivating for students.

Literacy instruction can easily be linked with other content areas. There is a wealth of quality literature available that can be incorporated into Science, Social Studies, Health, etc. Vocabulary can be enriched, background knowledge can be enhanced, and comprehension can be increased through any text. Sometimes, content are texts are harder to master. They have more difficult vocabulary and discuss experiences/topics the reader might be unfamiliar with which causes a lack in comprehension. These texts can make a child appear unsuccessful in the content areas, when in fact the student is struggling with the reading. All of the necessary skills must be mastered to be successful, no matter what the subject.

References

Moss, B. & Young, T. (2010). Creating lifelong readers through independent reading. Newark, DE: International Reading Association

Girl 1

  1. 1.    What do you usually do after school? Go outside and play with my chalk with my mom On weekends? I spend the night with my Grandma on weekends and we go to the park with my Dad.
  2.  What are your favorite games? Candyland
  3. Do you have pets? If so, what? yes, 5 cats
  4. Do you collect things? If so, what? Yes, little metal animals. I put them on a shelf in my room.
  5. Do you take private lessons (piano, tennis, etc.)? No
  6. What TV programs do you like to watch? SpongeBob
  7. Do you play with computers? If yes, explain. Yes, at home and school. I usually play Chezzle on the computer at home.
  8. Do you like being read to? If so, by whom? Yes, my Grandma
  9.  Do you like to read? If so, what kind of reading? Yes. I like to read books that are longer and bigger. I like to read about cats.

10. Do you have books of your own? If so, about how many? Yes, I have a whole bookcase full, so I think about a hundred.

11. Do you go to the public library? I go to the public library with my Grandma, but we don’t go much.

Girl 2

  1.  What do you usually do after school? I play Barbie by myself and sometimes we go to the park if it’s nice outside. On weekends? We go shopping, go to the park where I play and make new friends, and I play with my dog, Max.
  2. What are your favorite games? Go Fish!, Sorry, Trouble, card games, and checkers
  3.  Do you have pets? If so, what? Yes. A dog named Max.
  4. Do you collect things? If so, what? Yes, rocks
  5. Do you take private lessons (piano, tennis, etc.)? Soccer
  6. What TV programs do you like to watch? My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake
  7. Do you play with computers? If yes, explain. Yes, I play Nick Jr and Wings Club
  8. Do you like being read to? If so, by whom? Yes, my mommy and daddy
  9. Do you like to read? If so, what kind of reading? Yes, I like to read My Little Pony and Veggie Tales Books
  10. Do you have books of your own? If so, about how many? Yes, I think 16.
  11. Do you go to the public library? I have only been there one time. I got a piggy book.

Girl 3

  1.  What do you usually do after school? Play outside with my brothers and sisters (ride our bikes or play with my ball), Duck-Duck-Goose. On weekends? I have to do chores and then I play outside.
  2.   What are your favorite games? Patty Cake, Hide-and-Seek, Duck-Duck-Goose, Candy land
  3.   Do you have pets? If so, what? Yes, 4 cats
  4. Do you collect things? If so, what? Yes, rocks
  5. Do you take private lessons (piano, tennis, etc.)? No
  6.  What TV programs do you like to watch? iCarly, Hannah Montana, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  7.   Do you play with computers? If yes, explain. Yes, I try to make pictures.
  8.  Do you like being read to? If so, by whom? Yes, my sisters
  9.  Do you like to read? If so, what kind of reading? Yes, it’s fun! (smiling) Princess books like Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White.
  10. Do you have books of your own? If so, about how many? Yes, I don’t know, but I have a lot.
  11. Do you go to the public library? No

Boy 1

  1. What do you usually do after school? Homework, play soccer with my friend Trae or my brothers and sisters. On weekends? On the weekends, I play with my legos.
  2. What are your favorite games? soccer, wrestling
  3. Do you have pets? If so, what? Yes. turtle, snake, fish, cat, dog, 2 ducks, chickens.
  4. Do you collect things? If so, what? No
  5. Do you take private lessons (piano, tennis, etc.)? soccer
  6. What TV programs do you like to watch? Benton
  7. Do you play with computers? If yes, explain. Not much
  8. Do you like being read to? If so, by whom? Yes, my mom
  9. Do you like to read? If so, what kind of reading? Yes, Franklin stories, Little Bear
  10. Do you have books of your own? If so, about how many? Yes, I haven’t counted them.
  11. Do you go to the public library? No

Boy 2

  1.  What do you usually do after school? Go to swimming lessons, take a nap, I play with my toys inside and sometimes I go outside to play. On weekends? I play soccer on my first day off, and the second day I play with my toys or go outside.
  2. What are your favorite games? Mouse trap
  3. Do you have pets? If so, what? No
  4.  Do you collect things? If so, what? interesting-looking rocks
  5. Do you take private lessons (piano, tennis, etc.)? No
  6. What TV programs do you like to watch? My movies, like Shrek
  7. Do you play with computers? If yes, explain. Very rarely I play a computer game.
  8. Do you like being read to? If so, by whom? Yes, my mom
  9. Do you like to read? If so, what kind of reading? Yes. I like to read all books. Chapter books, too.
  10.  Do you have books of your own? If so, about how many? Yes, A LOT!!
  11.  Do you go to the public library? Yes, my mom takes me there, but I mostly read books from the school library.

Boy 3

  1. What do you usually do after school? I play with my baby brother, watch TV, and eat. On weekends? On the weekend, I do the same thing. I play with my baby brother, watch TV, and eat.
  2. What are your favorite games? Mario, the skateboard game
  3. Do you have pets? If so, what? Yes, a dog
  4. Do you collect things? If so, what? No
  5. Do you take private lessons (piano, tennis, etc.)? Lessons for playing the piano, trumpet, and trombone.
  6. What TV programs do you like to watch? SpongeBob
  7. Do you play with computers? If yes, explain. Yes, I play Genie
  8. Do you like being read to? If so, by whom? Yes, my mom
  9.  Do you like to read? If so, what kind of reading? Yes, Toy Story
  10. Do you have books of your own? If so, about how many? Yes, I have a lot of them. I’m not sure. I didn’t count them.
  11. Do you go to the public library? Yes, I take my old books there and get new books.

Discussion

I administered this inventory to 25% of my classroom, of which 50 % were boys and 50% were girls. I chose six students who were good readers, and who I felt were reading at home, in addition to school. That way, these students may have had a wider range of text exposed to them. As I assumed, the students were family-oriented. Many mentioned playing with siblings and enjoying listening to stories read by a parent or another relative. Rocks seem to be a popular collection item, and many students enjoy watching Spongebob on television. As far as reading goes, all students reported that they like to read. There was much range in what students enjoyed reading- fairy tales, non-fiction, and fiction. I was very surprised to find out that two students have never been to the public library. That tells me, as a teacher, that our school and classroom libraries need to offer a wide range of quality texts because this may be the only place students get books.

Our classroom library is made up of all fiction (that I can tell), and the books definitely need to be updated. Our students can find Dr. Seuss, The Berenstein Bears, and Froggy books, but I’ve never seen any Franklin, Little Bear, Veggie Tales, or My Little Pony. I’ve never even seen any fairy tales. So, we definitely need to invest in some new books that the students are interested in and are more up-to-date, and we need to get some non-fiction books. One of the girls mentioned that she liked reading about cats, so we could get some books about cats and other animals. Animal books are usually a hit! Having more books available for students to read that they are interested in will motivate them to read.

 

         People can engage in deep reading with any text that they read, as long as they are digging deep enough into the content. When I read our assigned articles, I am definitely deep reading. I analyze what the text is saying, try to make connections with the text, and reflect on the text after reading. Anytime these various processes are used, a person is deep reading. In order to read deeply, it is important that readers know how to carry out these processes. Readers need to be taught how to infer, deduct, analyze, connect, and reflect, and they need to have mastered these skills. In addition, readers must also be completely focused on what they are reading. One cannot dig into their reading if they are merely skimming the text, or ‘saying’ the printed words on the page. I believe that deep reading is a skill that once you have mastered it, you will not forget it. If a person reads, I honestly do not see how every that time that they read they can NOT be engaging in deep reading. I believe that once you learn to deep read and have practiced it, when you begin to read something, you will go into ‘deep reading’ mode without even thinking.

            After visiting the National Geographic for Kids Creature Feature site, I definitely agree that it is organized and bound by standards. I was really impressed! I read about gray wolves. There was lots of information about gray wolves, but it was written in simple language that children can understand. The information was organized onto different slides/pages that the reader had to change by clicking the arrow key.  I especially liked this format because there was not an overwhelming amount of text on each page. That increases the chances that struggling or unmotivated readers can be successful with this reading assignment. I also enjoyed the video about wolves, the great photographs, and the map that located where wolves were predominantly found. This is an excellent website to use with the science curriculum.

            National Geographic is a very popular magazine for students of all levels. Sometimes schools purchase these types of magazines for their students. In my teaching experience, I have never had the opportunity to teach a National Geographic magazine. I have, however, taught many “Time for Kids” magazines (schools probably purchase these because they are less expensive than National Geographic). It is impossible for the various levels of readers to all read that one text. The on-grade level and above-grade level students have no problem with this, but the struggling and unmotivated readers cannot do this. I was so happy to see that National Geographic has many of their magazines as e-books, so that the reader can read the magazine as it is being read to them. This would certainly help those struggling readers. Students have to stay engaged in the text because they have to click on the volume button for it to read, and the arrow keys for the page to turn. This is a brilliant idea! I wonder if Time for Kids offers some of their magazines as e-books. I am going to look into that.

            As I explored the Mountain Gorilla Creature Feature, I was just as impressed as I was with the Gray Wolves Creature Feature. In fact, I was so impressed that I was that website on my Internet workshop! As I mentioned earlier, I like that the information is written in simplistic language that young children can read and understand, and that the information is divided into short slides/pages that makes the text seem less overwhelming. The photographs and video are wonderful, and it was a great idea to include a map that located where Mountain Gorillas are found. I must reiterate that this is an excellent website for the science curriculum.

            I read the book “You are a Lion” on the We Give Books website. The pages on the screen probably looked better than if I were actually looking in the book!  This organization’s mission is to put books into hands of children to read, either tangible books or digitally. I browsed through the titles of the books they had available (there were so many!!), and I recognized some of the titles. However, I have not been in the classroom to have much experience with children’s literature, so I’m sure some of you recognized most, if not all, of the titles. Putting books in the hands of children is so important because if students don’t have books to read, then how are they going to improve reading? ALL children need to be reading, either tangible books or digital books, and this website allows us the opportunity to help ensure that students have books to read.

            I had not been introduced to any of the Common Core standards yet since they were developed after I graduated. So, thank you for incorporating them in this response and providing me that opportunity. As I glance over the Kindergarten standards, there is nothing that alarms me. I feel that I am completely prepared to use multimedia to teach the curriculum. I especially liked your comment about thinking about when it makes sense to use digital text and when it makes sense to use printed text. Technology is a 21st century skill, but every concept, every book, every strategy, is not always most effectively taught using technology. Some things need to be taught “old school”, and that is perfectly fine. The key is balance; a balance of print and digital texts, a balance of “old school” skills and traditional skills, and a balance of time. If a teacher can provide balanced instruction, along with praise, encouragement, and correction when needed, learning will unquestionably happen in the classroom.

As I began to think about creating an internet workshop, I immediately thought of learning more about gorillas and elephants. I initially planned to focus this workshop towards Kindergarten, but I began to realize it was difficult to find websites that had information written in simple language that Kinders could read and understand. I think they can do this workshop, I just feel that they will need extra help with the reading. Therefore, I now believe it is focused towards K-2. As I was developing the workshop, I kept thinking about Ivan, his art, and it’s importance in the story. So, I decided to include an Art component in my workshop. I hope you all enjoy! 🙂

http://lisabeachtheoneandonlyivan.weebly.com/

e-books

     Like printed text, e-books embrace print and illustrations but are viewed via computer (Larson, 2009). Honestly, reading e-books doesn’t sound that appealing to me because I do not enjoy looking at a computer screen for longer than I have to. I would much rather hold the book than read it off a screen. As Gloria Mark quoted in her post to the NY times, “it’s an escape from my digital devices” (2009, p.7). The whole idea of sitting, staring, and reading an e-book makes me uncomfortable, and so I have not even looked into e-books and the benefits they have for students. I found it sort of ironic that we had this assignment this week because when I went into the library to work after school this week, the librarian was meeting  with a representative from an e-book company that the school is considering purchasing a subscription from. When I checked my school email today, we have a 30 day trial membership, and I am really looking forward to getting more acquainted with e-books and witnessing first-hand the benefits they have on students. 🙂  

     The e-book I watched was Jack and the Box. It was a cute book, and I enjoyed the illustrations. I really liked that you could select the ‘read to me’ option. As I read this book, I couldn’t help but think about how much my Kinders would love reading a book like this. They love doing anything with the Smart Board, and when you throw an e-book on the Smart Board, you’ve hit a home run! I bet you won’t be able to peel those kids’  eyes away from that book. Our class really enjoys to be read to, and getting to see the video that goes along with it will blow their mind. I’m so excited for the teacher to introduce some e-books to our class (or maybe me)! 🙂 

      e-books include several features such as video, audio, hyperlinks, and interactive tools (Larson, 2009). These features aid in engagement, comprehension, and motivation. Video helps the book come alive for students. Visualization is a comprehension strategy that we teach students, and a video provides the visual for them. The downside to that is that everybody is seeing the same video. When you read a book, however, everybody visualizes the book differently in their head. Videos do not allow for the reader to “make their own movie.” Audio is a definite advantage in regards to reading the text. This is excellent for beginning, struggling, and reluctant readers. Background audio (i.e., music, sound effects), though, could be distracting to some readers. Hyperlinks can be beneficial because they provide a link to another site that will provide more information on a topic. Hyperlinks can also be a disadvantage because it is very easy to be led to another site for a definition of a word, and then another site for further explanation, and so on, and so on. Before you know it, the reader can be very off task.

     As I watched Inanimate Alice, I found myself feeling very distracted. Theere was a lot of noise in the video (humming, music, sound effects), and I found it hard to concentrate on the reading. It may have been better for me if I turned the audio off, but then I would have missed out on the full affect of an e-book. When there was just one picture on the screen for the video I was fine, but when there were several images at onces I found it very difficult to keep up. The text was typed at a good size, but it would begin flashing sometimes, and I wasn’t always finished reading. That made it difficult to read. I really liked the interactive feature of the e-book. You may have to click on something to move on to the next page or section, and I enjoyed the game where we had to help Alice get dressed. I believe students would really enjoy this aspect of it. I also liked that an icon appeared on the side of the screen after a section in case the reader needed to reread or had a question about something. That prevents students from having to watch the entire e-book over again. Although Inanimate Alice wasn’t my cup of tea, I bet students will love it!

     I believe e-books will benefit our students, and we should strive to incorporate them in our curriculum. e-books may be especially promising in struggling readers because they offer support through mutiple tools and features that will help the struggling student read and comprehend the text. Such features include text size adjustment, dictionary, and note-taking capabilities (Larson, 2010). The note-taking feature is one that I find particularly interesting. It allows a place for students to write down thoughts or questions while they are reading, which will also aid in comprehension. According to Weigel and Gardner, students have begun to focus more on expressing their thoughts and ideas, instead of the mechanics of the writing (2009). I know that mechanics are important in writing, but it is the message they are trying to express that is more important. Sometimes we, myself included, need to remember that. We need to provide students with the instruction and tools they need to be successful readers and writers. This can be achieved through modeling, traditional literature, e-books and its’ numverous features, and by incorporating each students’ interests into the curriculum (Weigel & Gardner, 2009). This will improve student attitude, engagement, and motivation, which will offer a greater chance for success.
 

References

Larson, L. C. (2009). e-Reading and e-Responding: New Tools for the Next Generation of Readers. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(3), 255-258.

Larson, L. C. (2010). Digital Readers: The Next Chapter in E-Book Reading and Response. Reading Teacher, 64(1), 15-22. doi:10.1598/RT.64.1.2

Liu, A., Aamodt, S., Wolf, M., Gelernter, D., & Mark, G. (2009, October 14). Does the brain like e-books?. Retrieved from http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/does-the-brain-like-e-books/

Weigel, M., & Gardner, H. (2009). The Best of Both Literacies. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 38-41.

The One and Only Ivan

What a fantastic book!  I rode the entire emotional rollercoaster with Ivan throughout the entire novel! As I read, I found myself getting deeper and deeper into the story. I was definitely deep reading while reading this book. Out of the numerous processes that occur during deep reading, I think the two I used most common were insight and reflection. Although I, as many others probably do, like to think that animal cruelty is not a big problem, this novel helps you realize that it is. The novel gave the reader insight to the animals’ feelings, as well as the cruelty endured, and in turn, a deep reader reflected upon those insights. It makes you reflect on how you would have felt if you were in their situation, and it makes you reflect on your actions and how you have treated animals. They are just like humans – they need food and water to survive, and if they get malnourished, unfortunately they may die.  When I read about the cruelty that some of the animals endured, I began generating ideas of how to incorporate this into a upper-elementary classroom, and perhaps do a service project against the cruelty of animals, such as volunteer at Friends for Animals.

     This novel was different from other typical children’s novels for a few reasons. The chapters and sentences in the book are very short, which make it an easy and quick read. This format would be great for struggling readers because they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the text that is usually present in a novel. Also, the novel is written in very descriptive language. Many authors try to capture this aspect, but Katherine Applegate is a magnificent descriptive writer. Students can easily visualize the text while they read. In addition, this novel was written from the perspective of Ivan, a gorilla. Most children’s novels have humans as their main characters. Students would love this book. Children love animals, and I think that is what is especially appealing about this novel. Students will be able to relate to at least one of the characters and the emotions they experienced (loneliness, pain, hurt, sadness, friendship), if not more. My kinders couldn’t read it of course, but I could read some parts of the novel aloud. This book could definitely be included with an animal theme, and with it I could discuss the importance of taking care of animals and the proper way to treat them. Children are never too young to learn how they should treat animals. Before or after reading this book, I would tell them that this book was written based on a real gorilla, and I would hold a discussion asking them why they thought the author would write that book. Our schools provide us a link to a few different zoos so that we can watch wildlife in their habitats, and I would definitely incorporate that when teaching the book/theme.