Slice of Life #10

As I cleaned my room, I scanned it quickly with my eyes. Anything that would stand out to a parent? I looked over the bulletin boards, made sure I had the chairs set up in the hallway, and the table set up for conferences.

The memoirs! I had forgotten to put them out! I paused for a second, trying to remember where I had put them. Oh, that’s right! I made my way over to my desk and grabbed the large, bound scrapbook. As I walked out to the hall, I flipped through the memoirs. My students did a great job! I was so proud of them and couldn’t wait for their parents to read their published memoirs, mounted on scrapbook paper, and bound in the class memoir book.

I glanced at the clock as I walked back into the room. Only 5 more minutes until my first conference!

Day 2 Share a Story-Shape a Future: How Do We Select Reading Material

Wow!  Day 2 of Share a Story – Shape a Future is up and running!  Day 1 was a rousing success, and Day 2 looks to be just as good. :)

As Terry said yesterday, it all starts with raising readers.  By surrounding children with text and stories, we are helping them blossom into the readers they can and should be.  So maybe yesterday you decided to set aside some time every day or so to read with your children.  But now you are overwhelmed- where do you begin?  How do you find books to read?  How do you know what books your child will enjoy sharing with you?  

Today’s bloggers have fantastic ideas and suggestions for selecting reading material for different age groups.   Whether you need booklists, story ideas for pre-readers, help selecting books for middle graders, or ways to incorporate your love of non-fiction into read-aloud time, there is something for everyone today. So grab a cup of coffee, maybe a snack, and sit back to enjoy the amazing posts today.  We even have some giveaways for you!

As posts go live, I will add the links.


Day 2: Selecting Reading Material

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Great Sites about Selecting Reading Material

 

Do you have suggestions for selecting reading material? Throughout the day, I’ll be reading through the comments to post ideas here. If you have written a post, please be sure to put your link in the comment. We invite you to visit the Share a Story – Shape a Future blog to get the event image to add to your post.

image credit: Author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba created the Share a Story – Shape a Future logo.



Read-alikes and Booklists

When we share books with our students, it is inevitable that they will fall in love and want to seek out similar books.  How can you find read-alikes or booklists for popular books and series?  Why, with the wonders of the internet, of course!

Popular novels and series are frequently the source of “If you liked_________, You will like _________” lists. Earlier this year I was constantly referring to read-alike lists for Twilight in order to satiate my students’ desire for my vampire love stories.  Below are links to some read-alike booklists that you can use with your children.

The best way to have a go-to read-alikes list is to read, read, read yourself.  I am constantly reading children’s books and thinking of specific students that I think will enjoy a particular book.  Over the last few days I have given Don’t Die, My Love to a Twilight lover (she is a romance addict), The Alex Rider Collection for my Roland Smith fan, and Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things for my Diary of a Wimpy Kid superfan.  The more I read, the more books I have to draw on.  I can make personal recommendations for students, based on their previous favorites.

I Don’t Know What I Want to Read Next….

It’s the statement I hear everyday.  The signs are obvious- wandering through the classroom library.  Randomly flipping through books.  That disinterested state.  Diagnosis?  A reader without a book.  A floater.  So how do we help middle grade readers  select books?  And how do we select books to share with middle grade readers during read aloud time?  Luckily, we can answer both questions the same way!

Middle graders are famously picky about their reading material.  They have more in common with Goldilocks than they would ever admit- each book they choose has to be “just right”.  Not too long, not too short, not too gross, not to lovey-dovey.  Just right- for that student.  “Just right” is, of course, vastly different for each child.  So how do I help my students choose books?  By being a voracious reader myself.  I read blogs, book reviews, trade magazines, newspaper articles, and every book I can get my hand on.  I read books that interest me and books that I wouldn’t necessarily choose myself, because I have students who might enjoy them.  When a student tells me, “I don’t know what to read next”, I can engage them in a conversation about books they have enjoyed over the past few weeks or months.  

Everyday I have one or two readers advisory sessions, based on what I know about my students as readers and recommendations I think I can make for them.  And this doesn’t have to just happen in the classroom– parents can do it at home, too!  Engage your middle grade reader in conversations about the books they are reading.  Tell them about books you enjoyed.  Have discussions!  Pay attention to what they read and enjoy, and what their friends are reading and enjoying.  Go to the library or bookstore and flip through books together.  When kids see that you take an interest in their reading, they will be more engaged.  Soon enough, they will be making recommendations to you!

When it comes to read-alouds, I approach the decision in a similar way.  Because I will be sharing the book with 50 students, I take into account their various tastes.  Obviously, I know I will not choose something they all love.  But I take the read-aloud as an opportunity to choose a book they wouldn’t normally choose for themselves, yet I know it is a book they can enjoy.  I read voraciously throughout the year and I usually have a few books on the back burner, books I might read next, after the current read-aloud.  Right now, I am making the final decision on our next read-aloud.

Earlier this year, I read Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath, after reading rave reviews on blogs. Immediately after finishing the book, I knew I wanted to share it with my class. Sometimes, a book just hits me that way. The Underneath wasn’t a book my middle schoolers would typically pick up on their own. But the writing was magical, lyrical, and provocative. I knew it was a book we could dig our heels into and have great conversations about. Because I loved the book, I knew my enthusiasm would be contagious.

And boy was it!

We couldn’t put The Underneath down. The students begged to read it.  They made connections, predictions, inferences, and dug into the text.  When we finished the book, I was so immensely proud of them.  Months later, they are still referring back to the novel.  And the same thing has happened with each and every book we have shared as a class.

So far this year, my classes have read a variety of books.

Each book I was chosen because I enjoyed it, I had a connection to it, and I knew I could share that passion and enthusiasm with my students.  While each student has a personal favorite, they enjoyed all of the books.  Reading aloud together has brought us closer as a class.  It’s a tradition I would never give up and one I look forward to sharing with each new class.  If you haven’t tried reading aloud with your middle schooler, I can’t recommend it enough!

What are some of your favorite read-alouds to share with middle schoolers?  Or what books do you suggest parents read with their middle schoolers?

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