It’s Monday, What are You Reading?

Another quiet, uneventful Monday. HA! Maybe in another universe….

This week I was handed another Goosebumps book, and I had to laugh out loud before I even read it. The enthusiasm with which it was given to me was priceless. And the title…. Piano Lessons Can be Murder, is perfect for me. I have taught piano lessons for the majority of my life.


The details of this story are so “lifelike.” The horrible music teacher. The nightmares about lessons. I should have this be required reading for my piano students. (Sadly, I have not had time for scheduling any this season.) The other enjoyable thing about reading Goosebumps books, is that I instantly see one of my students as the main character. The mannerisms of the characters are so true to life of a fifth grade boy. Just perfect.

In line now is Jake and Lily, by Jerry Spinelli. This was given to me by a fifth grade girl.


I can see why she liked it. It is written in the voice of Jake and Lily, who are twins. They take turns in the writing of the chapters, which are sometimes only a very short sentence long. My student also has an older brother in class. Imagine that! I’ve just begun the book, but so far their lives and the writing style are delightful.

The majority of my reading this week has been in my students’ Treasures Reading Textbooks. I really do like this series. It includes an excellent variety of stories in many genres. We have recently been on a space journey, studied endangered species, tall tales, folk tales…. quite a variety. It’s a challenge to stay ahead of four grade levels. But it certainly is interesting!

Good night. I need to read my alphabet book again. I might have missed something.


Read Aloud

One of the first things I was told at my new teaching job, was that my students really enjoyed reading, and that having a story read to them was still a part of their routine. We just finished our first read aloud book, which was a sizable chapter book, Horses of the Dawn. I chose it because it was about horses, and I knew that all my students would enjoy it.

My next read aloud book has yet to be chosen. I would like to take time to find something worthwhile, with more purpose. I am considering The One and Only Ivan, since I have it as a downloaded book. The text could easily be shared on the smart board.

My biggest challenge is my range of students. I have everything from fourth grade boys to seventh grade girls. The interest level is quite different, although our first book was enjoyed by all. I agree with the second author’s remark about reading a shorter book. We tended to grab a few minutes here and there to keep up with our book. A shorter book would be easier to comprehend and finish.

As I write this assignment, I’m finding that my first instinct is to lead my top ten list with The One and Only Ivan. I’m going to follow that with Once Upon an Alphabet, even though my students are older. I am still finding new comedy in the writing style.

Third on my list will be Taking Flight, by Michaela DePrince; 4, The King’s Chessboard, by David Birch; 5, The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak; 6, Martha Had a Little Llama, by Angela Dominguez; 7, Nora’s Ark, by Natalie Kinsey- Warnock; 8, When Marian Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan; 9, The Girl Who Loved Horses, by Paul Goble; and 10, Rapunzel, by Paul O. Zelinsky.


On a side note, I did a quick scan this weekend of some of our new books at school. We did have diversity in the cover photos. The majority are white subjects, with a some being a variety of races, and others being depicted with animals.



The first quote from this week’s article written by Brian Pinkney that caught my eye was “Through my picture books, I would change “Where Am I?” to “Here I Am!”” I especially liked his comment about changing things within his world quietly, using his writing and artistic talent to create the gap he felt existed in the world.

When I read his description of the book Max Found Two Sticks, I immediately thought of one of my students. Race has nothing to do with the similarities. They share many characteristics. Appearance isn’t one of them.

His closing remarks of suggestions to visit with children about the cover are very insightful. I truly believe that kids learn best when they are allowed to articulate their own thoughts, rather than being pushed with facts, facts, facts.

I also like his suggestion to “Make it Personal.” I think most kids do this automatically, without even thinking about it.

We have many stories in our library which feature Native American characters. The book Walk Two Moons, is a good example. This was the first book which was assigned to me by my students.

One of my own goals is going to be to browse through our books and pay more attention to the cover art to see if we are diverse or not.

It should be interesting.

I found the second article to be a little bit more difficult to read. I agree with the content, especially the main idea of a book being a mirror. I always put myself in the stories that I read. If you look closely at the choices our kids make in their own reading, you’ll see that they probably do, too.


It’s Monday, What are You Reading?

Quite a variety of styles in my path this week.

For starters, I read The Boys’ War, by Jim Murphy, on the recommendation of two students, one of mine, and one in this class. The details of how young the boys in the civil war were seem unreal. I have always been fascinated with the photography of that era, but this book includes photos that I have never seen published before. It was incredibly interesting. I think upper elementary-junior high boys would enjoy this book. I thought it was a series, but our library just has several copies of the same book.


Next up, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.


My cover is different, but I see there are several versions. I’m just getting started on this book. It’s like a predecessor to the science fiction stories of today. I’m sure we read it when I was younger, but I’m not remembering anything about this Newbery Award Winner. I may enjoy it more as I go, but my brain is in a different gear. I’m sure today’s older elementary would still enjoy it.

“And now, the moment you have all been waiting for…..TAH DAH!!!!!”  I have Once Upon an Alphabet, by Oliver Jeffers. I absolutely love this book.


For one thing, it is BIG!!!  It is so delightful. The author wrote short stories about an object, animal, or person, for each letter. Very imaginative, creative, and truly funny. I laughed way too hard on this. I can’t imagine any child, of any age, not liking this book. Whenever I have my first grandchild, they WILL be getting this book. If you can’t find it in the library, BUY IT!

Exhaustion is taking over, and I’m finished for the da


Reading Goals Revisited

My goal for the remainder of the semester was to keep up with the books that my students assign me.

It continues to be a good goal, however, I have had to request that my students please keep the science-fiction type books to a minimum. The conversations about what type of books we each enjoy was very rewarding. Even those who don’t like reading as much as the others put their two cents in!

I have read a wide variety of chapter books, and have found myself staying up way too late trying to finish a book.

I plan to continue with my original goal. I’m adding in a few more picture books, just to add some variety.

One of the biggest logistical challenges is locating a particular book that I would like to read. Our little school library really does have a great selection, but when I have a particular title, I don’t always find it. I don’t get home early enough to go to our local library, and the bookmobile makes it rounds every two weeks.

With that being said, I could work my way through the pages in our school library and probably not finish in my lifetime. Now THAT would be a goal!