Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bendy and Rigid

Bendy and Rigid is one book in the My World of Science series by Heinemann.  I discovered this series while gathering books for our physical science unit.  The format of this book follows your typical nonfiction format. There is a table of contents, glossary, index, and vibrant photography. The book begins with four questions.  What is bendy? How much does it bend? What is rigid?  How rigid it it? These are two great vocabulary words for young scientist to use while describing materials using their sense of touch. The book looks at various materials found in the readers every day life discussing further bendy and rigid. 

Other books in the series I am using are - 

Soft and Hard
Hot and Cold
Heavy and Light
Shiny and Dull
Smooth and Rough

These would be a nice addition to any primary classroom studying physical properties or discussing observations and vocabulary.

Monday, January 27, 2014


 AH HA! by Jeff Mack is a perfect new book for readers who love to giggle while reading.  This fun book also provides some anticipation which will lead to predicting.  Frog loves to relax and declares his first relaxing moment with one word, AAHH!  The story begins with frog relaxing on a rock in the pond until a child scoops him up in a glass jar and the child's pet dog states, AH HA!  Frog escapes and dives back into the pond water declaring relaxation again and/or joy from escaping.  However, his relaxation doesn't last long when his landing spot is really the back of a turtle.  Frog continues to find new resting spots that aren't what they really seem to be.  The ending makes this book a circular tale.  When I began teaching circular tales were a book format/story structure we often talked about with primary learners.  Emergent readers get really excited discovering a story ends where it begins and quickly grasp the story could start all over again. It's a nice format for retelling.

I enjoy when authors are clever with their word choice and structure.  The whole story is told with just four letters; a, h, h, a.  Speech bubbles hold these four letters in a format of ah ha, aahh, or ha ha!  My students will be excited to revisit this book often.  While the text seems simple, it will require thinking about the story and understand how the letters are arranged for each page.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Exploring Materials, A new nonfiction series!

Metal is a brand new book this year and is part of an Exploring Materials series by Heinemann Library.  The book is under the Acorn series from Heinemann which is always a great indication it is written for early readers to build content knowledge.  Each tidbit of information presented begins with a question.  I love a question, answer format for early readers.  It's an easy format to foster engagement.  Readers like to find out answers to questions.  The book defines metal as a material and shows the reader so many different examples of metal.  Simple examples show where metal can be found in it's natural form.  Attributes of metal area shown with great describing vocabulary.  The book ends with examples of materials found in our every day lives.  Doesn't this front cover entice you to look further?  I think it does a nice job enticing a young scientist and reader to find out more.  It looks fun.

Other titles in this series I am using are;

These books are great for any kindergarten or first grade classroom.

Monday, January 20, 2014


STICK! by Andy Pritchett is a fun book for any dog lover, puppy owner, and/or emergent learner. Puppy loves sticks.  He also wants a friend to play stick with.  He goes on a journey to find a friend to play with. The first friend he encounters is a cow who wants to play with grass.  This doesn't make much sense. Would a cow play with grass?  Then he wants to play with a bird but the bird wants to play with a worm. I think these new friends are confused.  It appears the cow, bird and others Puppy tries to play with don't understand he wants to play and not eat.  Until, he encounters a friend who does know how to play and together they show animals that wouldn't play with a stick, how to play with a stick.

I love the solid background and clear illustrations done in pencil and digital coloring.  The text is one word per page in a speech bubble and punctuation makes this book exciting.  The text makes this an easily accessible book for any beginning reader and offers older readers perspective on point of view.  I love the note within the dedication.  "For my mum.  You always told me "to keep on trying."  At least, that's what I thought you said..."

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Missed The Reading Boat

This post is also posted at The Nerdy Book Club website, today.

Miss the boat, is an idom with two meanings.  It means to miss out and to have made an error.  I've done both in my reading life.  I did not read the Harry Potter series!  I don't like to read fantasy.  I had three girls under the age of 7 when the series started.  Life was busy.  I also worked full time.  My reading life was minimal and often based on nonfiction text either for teaching or about parenting.  Each book in  the series got longer and longer in length and I felt intimidated.   I remember thinking at one point, I'll give it a try and then I can catch up.  I never did.  The girls started watching the movies and I watched along with them.  I've watched the movies several times and enjoyed them but I couldn't join conversations comparing the text with the movie.  There were times I didn't understand parts of the movie.

My two oldest are avid Harry Potter readers.  I would wonder and ponder how many times could they reread Harry Potter!  Each summer my oldest has reread the entire series.  My middle daughter would finish a book and reread it again.  She doesn't have the yearly summer voyage with Harry Potter but revisits them often.  I remember pleading with her fifth grade teacher, a friend of mine to help her find other books to read.  Of course, my smart friend is a fan of The Book Whisper and could quote multiple reasons rereading is valued with older readers.  Even watching them be avid Harry Potter readers, I was content with the movies.  Until, the seventh and final Harry Potter was coming out.  This was the first time I found myself wishing I was part of the Harry Potter reading club.  I felt left out.  I had nothing to predict. I couldn't join conversations with my daughter or my friends who were all excited.  I didn't understand some of the things written in the media about the upcoming book and then felt the same when the seventh movie was coming out.

I was on the verge of having a similar situation with the Hunger Games series.  Another fantasy collection of stories that would not be my first choice for reading.  I ignored the phenomena.  Then my husband read the Hunger Games series and I hadn't seen him read books in a very long time.  Now, I had three family members in a reading club anticipating the upcoming movie and I couldn't join in.   I realized I still had time to join.  So I did and before the first movie came out, I read The Hunger Games.  I understood and appreciated the movie so much more having the book to compare it to.  I enjoyed the conversations we had as a family after viewing the movie together.  The first book ended with a happy ending and I was content as a reader.  My family was amazed I didn't have to read Catching Fire right away.  What they didn't know was I had a reading plan.  I would read the book right before viewing the movie so I could be part of the reading club with fresh eyes, ears, and thinking.  I wasn't quite finished with Catching Fire when it came out so they went and saw it together and a couple of weeks later I went with my middle daughter to see the movie.  We then had conversations together and I was thankful again for joining the reading club.

I've learned a few reading life lessons through both of these experiences.  
1. Sometimes it's worth reading something out of your genre comfort level to be part of a reading club.
2. Reading books with other family members fosters conversations.
3. Talking about books and movies with teenagers is a safe topic and easy for them.
4. Reading the book before seeing the movie is always better.  ( I knew this but needed a reminder.)
5. Life remains busy but I can navigate reading time to be part of a reading club and it's okay to do it a bit different than others as long as it happens.

Thank you Nerdy Book Club community for fostering my reading life reflections and for providing a platform for members to share our thinking to promote reading as something to enjoy.