Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reading Challenge comes to an end...or does it??

With the start of a new school year, my summer reading challenge draws to an end. Before I bid farewell to my summer reading, I want to share the final selection of my challenge.

WONDER by R.J. Palacio (Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN# 978-0-375-86902)
I learned about this book after participating in an online chat with 4th grade teachers from around the country. We were sharing our favorite books, and this title appeared repeatedly among the recommendations. I resisted reading it for much of the summer, in part because it is only available in hardback and I was too cheap to purchase it. However, by the end of the summer, I could resist the temptation no longer and I bought it during an after dinner trip to the book store-- a favorite outing for our family. By 11:00 a.m. the next morning, I had finished the book. I devoured every page and loved every moment. In fact, after reading "Wonder", I was not able to pick up another book for the remainder of the summer. Even now, weeks after completing the story, my heart smiles to think about this lovely story. It is the fictitious tale of a young boy, August, who is born with a severe facial abnormality. Much of his life has been spent in the loving protection of his family, but that changes when his parents decide it is time for him to attend a private school in his neighborhood. Now August must navigate the unforgiving world of middle school, and learn to make friends along the way. The author tells this incredible story from various perspectives, but August is the true touchstone of this story. It is a lesson in tolerance, acceptance, and discovering wonder in the most unlikely places. I certainly saved the best for last this summer. If you and your family only chose one book to read from my summer suggestions, I hope this will be your choice.

I am excited to share my new treasures with my 4th grade class this year. I hope my challenge will motivate my students to embrace literature and find joy in reading.
I have enjoyed this personal challenge more than I ever imagined possible. This challenge has renewed my passion for reading, and made me realize that it is just as important for teachers to make time read for pleasure as it is for my students to make time to read for pleasure. After all, I am their role model.

Until next time...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 10 for 10 Book Event

I am excited to participate in my first "cross blogging" event with the August 10 For 10 Book Event!! This event is the brain child of two teachers who love children's literature and want to share that love with teachers, parents, and students everywhere. The way it works is bloggers around the globe list their TOP 10 picture books -- books you just can't live without!! They will compile and share the list on their blogs on August 10. I love children's literature, and knew this was my kind of blogging event. So without further ado, my Top 10 favorites are as follows:

1. THE GIFT OF NOTHING, by Patrick McDonnell (a heartwarming story of the simple gift of friendship)

2. STAND TALL, MOLLY LOU MELON by Patty Lovell (a great lesson about believing in yourself and embarrassing your uniqueness)

3. OUR TREE NAMED STEVE, by Alan Zweibel (a story of unconditional love)

4. MY LITTLE SISTER ATE ONE HARE, by Bill Grossman (the grossest, coolest counting book ever)

5. DON'T LET THE PIGEON STAY UP LATE, by Mo Willems (honestly, I could creat a top 10 list of Willems's books--he is such a great children's author. I chose this because it was the first one I read with my girls)

6. ENEMY PIE, by Derek Munson (great book to read if you are trying to get rid of your worst enemy)

7. EVERYBODY NEEDS A ROCK, by Byrd Baylor (one of those books that speaks to me; great guide for choosing the perfect rock)

8. KNOTS ON A COUNTING ROPE, by Bill Martin, Jr (the first book to make me cry in front of my class-- books can move you and evoke so many emotions)

9. NO DAVID, by David Shannon (this was always my Day 1 read aloud when teaching 1st grade. After I read it to my class, every student believed they could read, too. It was magic)

10. HOORAY FOR DIFFENDOOFER DAY, by Dr. Seuss (with help from Lane Smith and Jack Prelutzky) (a story that remind us that creating bright, independent thinkers should be a top priority at every school)

This is my list..at least it is today!! What a challenge it is to think of a top 10 when there are so many amazing books. I am excited to read the final list that is compiled from tomorrow's entries!! Until then, happy reading to all!!