Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How to Find a Good Book

I am cross posting something here that I posted to my media center blog (it started out as a summer reading blog and now I am going to use it this year as a resource for parents and teachers of my school).

I struggle to have parents understand that there is no magic book list for their child. To me, I love having lists of books by subject or genre, but to have a book list on grade level is hard - because in our schools today there is such a wide expanse in the reading level on any one grade level. SO here is my blog post aimed at my parents, you can see the original here.

Well we are back in the swing of things at the Rock Springs Media Center and after curriculum night last night I had many questions about "How do I find a good book for my child on a 1st, 2nd etc.. grade level"
Well my first answer is, don't find a 2nd grade book, find a book that is just right for your child - something they can read without getting frustrated and on a subject they are interested in and will enjoy. Students are more likely to enjoy reading when they are reading about something that interests them.The best thing in choosing books for you students is to have them be part of the process, take them to the bookstore or library and have them tell you what they are interested in reading. For the older grades we use a five finger rule - if they pick up a book and they read a page in the book and there are more than five words they don't know, then the book MAY be too hard for them. Also, remember that even if your child CAN read a certain book, you should always consider the subject matter of a book and make sure it is appropriate for your child.

There are many websites that have great reading tips and tricks and great book suggestions, here are a few to check out:

Reading Rockets: This website has article on how to choose books for your child, how to help struggling readers and great blogs and podcasts about books and reading.

PBS Bookfinder: Has links to article on reading and also has a great book finder for grades Preschool - 3rd grade

Kids Read: A great website for kids and their parents to use. Includes book reviews and book lists for readers from birth to age 12.

Also, check out the suggested reading sites on the sidebar of this blog, but be aware that many book lists by grade include both books your child can read and books that you can read to them. One of the greatest things you can do to help your child develop a love of reading is to read to them, believe it or not, even older kids love to be read to!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Posibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas

I saw the review of this book in this month's School Library Journal (starred) and knew I had to read it.

This is the story of Antonia Lucia Labella, a fifteen year old Italian Catholic from Providence, RI who has never been kissed...and desperatly wants to be. Antonia, though, is not leaving this kissing thing to chance, she is summoning the help of the Saints. Antonia has a relationship with the Saints that most fifteen year olds don't have (especially in this day and age) and she not only prays to them for everything, she wants to be one, the first living Saint, to be exact. As she petitions the Vatican for Sainthood, she also discovers things about people and herself along the way.

Being a nice Irish Catholic girl from a Northeast area, I really related to this story in a lot of ways (although I never once thought of myself as a Saint!) but I think that Antonia's struggle to find out who she is, is the real story here.

Don't read this book if you are hungry, you are likly to head straight to your favorite Italian restaurant - Antonia's family runs an Italian market and talk of homemade pasta and italian spinich pies made my mouth water through out the book - and I actually made lasagna for dinner last night!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

News on One of my favorite Authors..

Coleen Salley.
You might remember my post from May when I had the pleasure of hosting her for an author visit at my school and then joining her for a dinner filled with good food (good wine) and some great stories - most told by Ms. Salley.

Another author and friend of hers, Deborah Wiles (and soon to be guest author at my school this year) had a wonderful blog post about Coleen and her failing health.  She gives an address where you can send Coleen a greeting, I know that I will be sending her a little something to cheer her up!

Monday, August 11, 2008

1st Day of School

Well 1 day down, 179 to go!

Was a much better 1st day this year than last when I was the new kid on the block.

I finished my new intro and pledge of allegiance videos to show on the morning news show at about 10pm last night (nothing like waiting until the last minute!) but they worked and other than the office buzzing into the studio during the LIVE broadcast, it all went well.

My new thing this year is that I am on the special rotation for Kindergarten.  I was a little worried about how that would go, but it went fine, no one fell asleep and other than having all 16 of them wanting to tell me about their older sister, younger sister, cat, dog etc.. it was fun.  I am reading my favorite library orientation book to them this week - The Library Dragon by Carmen Deedy and then we are talking a little bit about
 what a library is and how we treat library books.  I did NOT let them check out this week, and I may not until AFTER labor day - we'll see how things go.

As promised, here are some pictures of my prizes for the summer reading challenge I held 

a cup
filled with some goodies:

You can't see it here, but the pencil says Rock Springs Rockin' Reader - you gotta love Oriental Trading Company - $14 for 72 custom lettered pencils!

And finally, my own kids started school today also. I have a 7th grader, a 5th grader and a 2nd grader. It is fun to see them grow, but it scares the stuffing out of me to think that in only 5 years we will be celebrating my oldest son's LAST 1st day of school.

Here is our traditional 1st day of school picture - note that the oldest is not happy, having just gotten out of the shower.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Well I am getting back into the swing of things - open house is today - (where the students come in and meet their teachers) so not only do I have to work at my school today, I have to sprint all over town to go to my daughter's open house (she goes to our neighborhood elementary school) and my son's (he is in middle school).  I have to somehow get my youngest son to our school so he can meet his teacher (and then leave) and of course in the middle of all this there are two football practices to attend - I'm tired already!

I have been somewhat productive this week, I have painted my TV studio (now I just have to re-arrange it!), I have written a rough draft of a new media center handbook, sent countless e-mails to teachers, I am sending out my Media Odds & Ends newsletter today and the media center seems somewhat put back together.  I still feel a little un-organized, both at school and in my personal life, so I need to take this weekend to try and organize a little bit, or at least *think* I have organized things a little bit.

I will post a picture of my summer reading "prize" that I came up with and the bulletin board that I created to celebrate the kids that participated later today (IF I can remember my camera!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

This is it..

the end of the summer for me.  Tomorrow I go back to the grind - getting up at 5:45, getting to school by 7:30 (well, next week with out kids will be a LITTLE easier) and gearing up for 190 days of FUN!

it is SO hard to type that summer is over when it is 90 degrees outside! Although after sitting at sweltering hot football practices for my two boys this week I can't WAIT until the first crisp air of fall arrives (here in Atlanta, some time in late October - ugh!)

So, what did I do this summer?

I watched a LOT of my son's baseball games.
I read (although not as much as I wanted to)
I went to the neighborhood pool
I painted my daughters bedroom
I went to the beach in Massachusetts
I hung out with my family in Massachusetts
I took some technology classes
I finished my short movie field trip about the USS constitution
I walked SOME
and I ate some good food (some of which I cooked, some of which I let other people cook for me!)

What I DIDN'T do :
work on lesson plans
work on a virtual field trip to Lexington and Concord
paint my son's room
blog a lot
exercise a lot (although I did exercise some, just not everyday as I wanted it to be)

So now I have to think of some goals for the school year. Now if I had done some lesson plans during the summer I might have a better road map for this year, but hey, I work well under pressure!

Today I am going to go to the pool with my kids and some friends and then I'll think about my goals for the upcoming year tomorrow!