Share a Story-Shape a Future Literacy Blog Tour- “It Takes a Village to Raise a Reader”

Share a Story Shape a Future is an annual blog tour aimed at promoting literacy, celebrating books, and providing resources for teachers, parents, librarians, and readers. This year the theme is “It Takes a Village to Raise a Reader.”

Please join us March 8th to March 12th as we celebrate literacy!

Each day a different blogger serves as host.  I will be hosting the 3rd day.  We’ve really been working hard on this year’s event, so be sure to check in!

March 8th: The Many Faces of Reading

Host: Terry Doherty at Scrub-A-Dub-Tub

Topics of the day will encompass the relationship aspect of helping children learn to read: parent-child and teacher-parent partnerships, literacy outreach; and libraries, to name a few.

March 9th: Literacy My Way/Literacy Your Way

Host: Susan Stephenson at The Book Chook

Creative literacy in all its forms (writing, art, computers) will be the topic of the day.

March 10th: Just the Facts: The Nonfiction Book Hook

Host: Sarah Mulhern at The Reading Zone

This is the day for exploring the different genres of nonfiction (biography and memoir, science, nature, math, etc), as well as the use (or not) of historical fiction.

March 11th: Reading Through the Ages: Old Faves & New Classics

Host: Donalyn Miller at The Book Whisperer

Bloggers will share thematic book lists that include newer titles and the classics we loved as kids.

March 12th: Reading for the Next Generation

Host: Jen Robinson at Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Join us as we talk about how to approach reading when your interests and your child’s don’t match. It may be that you don’t like to read but your child does, how to raise the reader you’re not, and dealing with the “pressure” of feeling forced to read.

** The Share a Story, Shape a Future logo was created by Elizabeth Dulemba, children’s book author and illustrator, and SaS/SaF contributor.

Slice of Life #7

While attempting to watch free on-demand movies (offered by Cablevision as a stand-in for our missing Oscars), I was getting very frustrated.  Chris and I were able to watch The Hangover and Inglorious Bastards, but then the movies started to freeze and they didn’t load.  This was at 8pm.  Thanks to a dispute between Cablevision and ABC7, we didn’t have ABC all day.  I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see the Oscars, but my big issue was LOST.  If I still didn’t have ABC come Tuesday, there was going to be hell to pay.  But I was trying to think positively.

When my mother heard I would be unable to watch the Oscars, she was horrified.  And I admit I was a little disappointed.

At 9pm, my cell phone vibrated on the coffee table.  I didn’t even hear it until Chris motioned to me that clearly I was getting a call.  I picked up to hear my mother excitedly yelling, “I think you have ABC back!  I think you can watch the Oscars!  They just showed a message on the bottom of our screen that said ABC7 is back for everyone!”

I put her on hold, grabbed the remote from Chris, turned off  The Watchmen, and turned on 6ABC.  Despite the guide still stating “NO DATA”, a picture appeared!  And it was the Oscars!

So now I am sitting on my couch and enjoying tonight’s show.  Best of all, I will be able to watch LOST live this week!

Slice of Life #6

At 8am this morning, Chris’s phone rang.  We had just woken up because Dublin was barking, but we certainly weren’t expecting a phone call at that hour.  I heard Chris pick up his phone and when I didn’t hear him talking, I assumed it was just his alarm going off for some unknown reason.

Thens, I heard Chris come into the room where I was still fighting the urge to go back to sleep.  Standing in the doorway, sort of laughing, he said, “Well, that was my dad.  The appliance repair people won’t be coming today.  They showed up at my parent’s house at 7:45am.”

“What?!  How on earth?” I laughed.

Chris called his dad  and I heard a lot of murmuring from downstairs.

Chris’s dad came over two weeks ago to wait for our refrigerator to be delivered.  We were both at work so he volunteered to hang around.  Our refrigerator had broken over President’s Day Weekend, the deliveries were backed up a week, and I couldn’t imagine going any longer than we possibly had to without a refrigerator.  But the one thing the saleswoman at Home Depot had drilled into my head was that whoever received the delivery had to inspect the item before signing for it, because after that they were no longer responsible.  So when Chris’s dad inspected the refrigerator, he found a small nick in the door.  The delivery company promised to deliver and install a new door and today was supposed to be the day.

Somehow, they got mixed up.  Somehow, they ended up almost 2 hours south of where they needed to be.  When they rang the doorbell at the ungodly hour of 7:45am, Chris’s dad had to break the bad news.

“The refrigerator isn’t at this address.  It’s almost 2 hours north of here”.

Needless to say, they have to reschedule.

Slice of Life #5

I hate cleaning.  With a passion.  I am exhausted when I get home from school and the last thing I want to do is clean the house.  Plus, any cleaning results in Dublin being under my feet, barking ferociously at the Roomba/vacuum, and trying to bite the Swiffer mop.

But lately I have been making an effort to clean more, because a dirty house drives Chris crazy.  Today I came home from school and took the dog for a 45-minute walk in the beautiful spring-like weather.  When we got back I fed him his dinner and vacuumed while I assumed he was distracted.  Unfortunately, it didn’t really distract him.  He went so far as to rip the hose out of the vacuum in an attempt to protect me from the horrible evil vacuum that was obviously trying to kill me.

What I did discover, though, is that Dublin does not attack the Swiffer Wetjet.  Why not?  Because it shoots liquid out of the front of the mop!  He is deathly afraid of this and stays behind me, glued to my feet, any time I have the Swiffer in my hands.  It’s awesome!

With all of the distractions, I did manage to do a nice job cleaning the house.  I just hate that it will be dirty again in only a few hours!  I think I need a cleaning crew to stop by a few times a week and do everything I don’t want to do….

Slice of Life #4

It’s been a tough few weeks at school, with snow days, schedule changes, missed classes, and some stress.  But sometimes it helps just to remember the good things going on.

1.  The talent show today.  Many of my students danced, sang, and did gymnastics.  I had no idea they were so talented!  A few of them really astounded me.

2. My students never fail to make me laugh.

3. Even though they can be funny and full of laughs, they can also shock me with their insight and ideas.  We are reading The Giver and at least 4x each day I am completely blindsided by their thinking.

4. My colleagues are awesome.

5. Everyday I come home to an adorable puppy who is thrilled by my mere existence.

6. The same puppy gives me an excuse to get out of the house, go to the park, take walks through the woods, and lots more.

7. Every night my amazing fiance’ comes home and we get to hang out all night.  :)

Slice of Life #3

As I pulled into the school parking lot this morning I took a mental inventory of everything I had to carry inside. My school bag, a tote bag of books for the classroom library, my purse, and the breakfast I had just picked up at Dunkin Donuts.  After parking, I put my hood off, turned off the car lights, and stepped out of my car.  The sky was dropping a mixture of sleet and wet snow on the ground and I quickly grabbed everything (so I thought) and ran into school.

My classroom is on the other side of the school from the parking lot, so it takes me a few minutes to get from my car to my classroom.  On the way I have to stop in the main office and sign in, plus pop in to a few classrooms to say good morning to my colleagues.  About 5 minutes after getting out of the car, I made it to my own classroom.  With a sign of relief I dropped my school bag on the floor next to my desk, put my purse on the windowsill, and turned on the computer.  As I waited to computer to warm up, I reached into my purse for the bag from Dunkin Donuts that held my croissant sandwich.  As I pulled it out of the bag, I realized with a start that my medium hot chocolate with whipped cream was nowhere to be found.

Oh no! I thought.  I tried to remember where I had last seen it.  Did I leave it on the counter in the office when I signed in?  In another classroom.  And then I pictured the familiar styrofoam cup in the last place I saw it- the cupholder in my car.  My car.  In the parking lot.  On the other side of the school.  In the rain.

For a second I considered just leaving it in the car.  Heck no! I paid $2 for that hot chocolate!  I’m sure as heck enjoying it!

Resigned, I stood up and pulled on my North Face jacket.  This time in reverse, I made my way down the hall.

The hot chocolate was worth it.  :)

Slice of Life #2

Rules for a Boyfriend (shared with us today by our 6th grade girls)

1.  Don’t make me mad!

2. Make lots of money.

3. Let me go to the mall whenever I want.

4. Don’t make me mad!

Sometimes, they just make me laugh until tears are streaming down my face!

Never Smile At a Monkey and 17 Other Important Things to Remember by Steven Jenkins

Did you know that a platypus is poisonous?  In fact, they are the only poisonous mammals.  I had no idea!  After reading Steven Jenkins’s Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember I know that and much more. Right now, the Worst Case Scenario books are very popular in my classroom. Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember is the perfect book to pair with them.

Jenkins’ illustrations are always stunning and that doesn’t change in his latest nonfiction book.  While the book is supposed to be aimed at younger readers, I know my middle schoolers will love it.  I think it will also serve as a great introduction to some species they are not familiar with.  Hopefully, that will then lead to more research on their part.  I mean, I learned a lot from this book!  I had no idea cobras aim at the eyes and can spit venom accurately from over 8 feet away.  Holy cow! I also enjoyed the afterward at the end, which gave more in-depth information on all of the animals.

*Copy purchased by me

Slice of Life #1

I was so excited by the warm weather after school today that I rushed home, put Dublin into the car, and drove to the dog park with the windows down and Jack’s Mannequin blaring on my radio.  When we pulled into the parking lot Dublin started whining excitedly, knowing exactly where we were.

As I got him out of the car I waved to another dog owner who was just leaving the park.

“Don’t even bother!” she yelled across the parking lot.  “The whole park is just a big mud pit.  It’s not worth it!”

“Thanks!” I yelled back.  I decided to take Dublin into the small-dog park, hoping it would be drier.  I tugged the leash in the direction of the small park and Dublin ran in front of me to lead the way.  Opening the double-gated entryway, I unclipped the leash and set him free.  As he raced into the park, I saw the mud flying behind Dublin’s legs.  He just got groomed on Wednesday!  I let let him run around like a maniac for a few minutes before deciding it wasn’t worth me having to give him a bath after we got home.

“Dublin!  Come!  Want to go for a walk?”

Dublin looked towards me, ears cocked forward as if he were actually listening.  Once he heard the magic word, “walk”, he raced back to the front gate, leaving me in the dust.  We spent the next hour walking on the trails in the park and he had a great time.  He explored, dug in the snow, and even got to see a creek for the first time.  (The gurgling water baffled him!)

Peaceful Heroes by Jonah Winter

It seems to be a standard middle school project- choose a hero and write a report about them.  Sure, the product may vary- report, triboard, slideshow, website, multigenre project- but the assignment rarely varies.  And what always happens?  Teachers end up with 32 projects on the same 3 people.  Every. single. year.  For that reason, I can’t wait to add Peaceful Heroes to my classroom library.

This slim volume simplifies the biographies of 14 peaceful heroes throughout history. While a few are well-known, like Martin Luther King, Jr., most even I was not familiar with. The stories are brief, about 2-3 pages, but they give just enough information to intrigue the reader. Each heroes chapter focuses on what made them a hero, with some brief background information. I think this is the perfect book for students who don’t want to choose the same old person to research but also have no idea how to find anyone else to research. Peaceful Heroes is the ideal introduction to people like Oscar Romero, Meena Keshwar Kamal, and William Feehan, all of whom risked their lives to make our world a more peaceful place. I myself was inspired to look up more in-depth information on a few of the men and women featured.

A great addition to any middle school library, and especially valuable to social studies/history teachers.

*Review copy courtesy of publisher

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