Vacation Books- What Am I Reading?

I will be heading to Ireland this summer and my iPad is ready to travel with me.  As most readers know, I am a paper books gal.  I love paper, the smell of a new book, and the feeling of holding a book in my hands.  However, I am a fast reader.  I can’t carry enough books to keep me happy when I fly, so my iPad is used as an e-reader whenever I travel.  It’s perfect.  I can log onto the wireless network anywhere I travel and play games on the iPad.  But I can also carry lots of books with me!

Here are some of the books I will be “carrying” when I travel to Ireland:

Sisterhood Everlasting: A Novel (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) by Ann Brashares- I was a huge fan of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and I just found out about this adult companion to the novels.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School by Alexandra Robbins- I have read all of Robbins’ books and this topic is close to my heart.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen- I don’t miss a Dessen book. I’m shocked that it’s been out for almost two months and I haven’t read it yet!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley- Recommended by a friend, I am looking forward to trying this series.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- Yes, I am behind. Yes, every blogger has recommended this one to me!

Juliet: A Novel by Anne Fortier- This has been on my list for a while and I look forward to reading it.


What are your vacation reading plans this summer?  Do you carry paper books with you or carry an e-reader?

Books I Brought On My Cruise!

E-books, that is!  Here is a sampling of some of the books I brought along on my iPad.  No guarantees which ones will be read;I like to have choices and pick whatever strikes me at the moment, 🙂

Listed in no particular order:

A chose a variety of genres because who knows what I will be in the mood for when the time comes!

    Vacation Reading Results - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more On Monday, during our Do-Now period, I had my students write me a paragraph about the reading they did over break.  I assigned “vacation reading” before we left, after they filled out a survey listing books, magazines, newspapers, etc that they were looking forward to having the time to read over break. 

    As they wrote the paragraph, a few hands went up and explained that they hadn’t done any reading over break.  I told them that was fine, but they needed to write me a paragraph explaining why.  Today I finally had a chance to read over the Do-Nows and I found them to be very interesting.  About 75% of my class read novels over break.  I was regaled with tales of reading Twilight and 39 Clues: One False Note  while hiding from family members!  

    The remaining students all wrote that they didn’t read over break because they were so busy relaxing.  However, almost every single one of those students mentioned reading magazines and web sites.  While I require that they read novels during reading time in school and for their home reading logs, I had explained before break that vacation reading was different.  I showed them the magazines, novels, and websites I planned to read over winter break and each student made a list of things they wanted to read.  Yet when the time came to brag about the reading they did, a quarter of my students didn’t count those magazines and websites.  Why?  Do we really do so much to convince kids that magazines, newspapers, internet pages and more aren’t “reading”?  

    I explain over and over that the reason I require novels for in-class and reading log reading is to build their stamina.  But I thought I set a good example for other reading my talking about the professional reading and relaxation reading I also do.  I think I need to do a better job of that, though.  I need to make sure my students understand the many roles that books and words play in our lives.  That’s one of the reasons I struggle with requiring students to complete a monthly reading log.  Even though it only consists of the title, author, pages read, and a signature, I feel like it makes reading seem to be something you only do because a teacher makes you do it for homework.  Yet when I don’t require a simple reading log, parents feel that their kids aren’t reading and tell me that during conferences.  Reading logs serve as tangible evidence of the reading my students do.  And they are simple!  But I hate that some of my kids feel like the reading that they do doesn’t count.

    A lot of my boys mentioned that they spent their vacation reading Sports Illustrated, the sports section, and other sports related text.  Yet they didn’t consider this reading.  Little do they know, Sports Illustrated is full of great writing!  And it’s not simple, either.  And reading 3 issues of Sports Illustrated is more self-directed reading than some of those kids have done all year.  I need to make them understand that this counts as reading, too.  

    I don’t want them reading only magazines.  Just like I don’t read only magazines.  I read novels, professional literature, blog posts, picture books, newspapers, and more   I NEED to make my students understand that all of this is reading, and that finding their reading niche is my goal for this year.  So I vow to model more reading for them, besides novels.  Hopefully, that will help!

    NCTE is focusing on 21st Century Literacies in the coming months, and I think that this is something I am going to have to figure out in my own classroom.  How can we help students take ownership of their reading in this multi-media age?  And what do we define as “reading”?

    Plane Reading

    I am currently in Dublin, Ireland for four days!  I am very excited and hoping it won’t be too cold.  Traveling presents a great opportunity for me to do some reading that I wouldn’t normally get to do.  Before school ended, my class and I discussed out plans for vacation reading and I explained that I would be reading on the plane.  I usually reserve my adult book for plane rides, and I have two long ones for this trip!  We fly non-stop from NJ to Dublin, but on the way home we fly from Dublin to O’Hare, and then home to Newark.  (So cross your fingers- the forecast looks good so far- but no snowstorms on the 27th and nothing from NJ to Chicago on the 1st!)

    Here are the books I am bringing in my carry-on:
    Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell:  This is one I have been dying to read for a few weeks now. From the review, “alcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the “self-made man,” he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don’t arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: “they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, “some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.”

    College Girl by Patricia Weitz: Megan McCafferty recommended this on her blog and she blurbed it, so I just had to read it! And my local bookstore had it on the shelves a few days early, so I grabbed it. It was technically released on the 26th, but I picked it up on Christmas Eve.
    As Simple as Snow  by Gregory Galloway:  This one has been on my shelf for a few months now and I just never got to it. Now seemed like the perfect time.

    A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly:  A Printz winner, this has been on my bookshelf for a few months, too. It sounds great and I can’t wait to read it!

    Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin: I took four years of Latin and this is based on Virgil’s Aeneid. How can I not read it?

    Broadway Nights: A Romp of Life, Love, and Musical Theatre by Seth Rudetsky: I am bringing the audiobook version of this and can not wait! It’s gotten great reviews from my Broadway friends. Plus, the voices include Kristen Chenowith, Jonathan Groff, and Andrea Martin!

    Hopefully, this will be enough books to tide me over.  A six hour plane ride there and 8.5 hours back.  Plus a 5 hour layover in Chicago.  I am planning to sleep a good bit on the plane, but I have to have enough reading material, too!  It’s a hard decision, because I can’t bring really heavy books but I also have to make sure I bring thick books, because more pages means more reading!

    Vacation Reading

    Inspired by an article over at Choice Literacy, today my students and I planned out vacation reading.  We filled out a questionnaire about what we were looking forward to reading, when we would have time to read, and planning some general fun reading.  While my students were a little upset with me at first because I reminded them that I still expected them to read over break, we had a lot of fun with our planning!


    After sharing our ideas and the books we were looking forward to reading, I booktalked a few of our Battle of the Books choices and a few Cybils nominees.  When they left, every student had  a list of books and magazines they planned to dive into over break and they knew what I was planning to read.  We even discussed trying out some audio books for those who get car/motion sickness!

    If I can keep them reading over break, I will have less to rebuild when we get back after the New Year!  🙂