Monday, February 27, 2017

Snail and Worm - A Student Recommendation

I love when student's discover a book and tell me I have to read it.  Snail and Worm Three Stories About Two Friends by Tina Kugler is a delightful book about two friends.  There are three stories within this book that will give early readers a "chapter book" feel.  The first story is a sweet story about two friends playing tag.  The second story is about encouragement and doing something you think you might not be able to.  The third and final story is filled with simple humor but will delight primary students.   The combination of illustrations, small bits of text on a page, and the frequency of sight words will make this a great book for students.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Nonfiction Books for Independent Reading in Second Grade - #nf10for10

Dear Betsy,

You sent me a message a few weeks ago asking me about reading levels in second grade and thinking about the reading your own special boy is doing.   Learning to read is a journey and you've mentioned it's a struggle over the years.  This night we chatted you said he had brought home a nonfiction book and nonfiction is hard.  You made me stop and think.  Nonfiction can be hard but does it have to be?  I wondered how can we simplify it a bit for those early readers so they can have some independence.  

My wondering turned into collecting books I thought your special boy might be able to read.  You'll notice the nonfiction features are simple and not hectic busy.  The text is larger, sometimes with a pattern and definitely pages with white space.  I love white space!  You will notice many of these are books have a series/collection from the same publisher giving you way more than ten ideas, maybe 100.  Some of these books are old and dear to my book loving heart.  I picked books that might spark some interest in fun animals, animals you might see while camping, and a few that could connect to your gardening.  

These are all books I have on my shelves right now and I can send them over to you via school mail. Just let me know.

Your friend,

BAT LOVES THE NIGHT by Nicole Davies

narrative format sharing bats nightly activity
tidbits of facts here and there
soft illustrations


I love Joy Cowley books!
photographs are quite fascinating
carefully chosen words for accessibility

Joy Cowley again!
more fascinating photographs
text a bit easier

HOW A SEED GROWS by Helen J Jordan

illustrations tell a story, maybe an early narrative
reader follows the journey of a few different seeds
might help readers enjoy nonfiction

RACCOONS by William John Ripple
lots of interesting facts
a sentence of two on a page
pure nonfiction for early readers

Seed to Sunflower by Camilla de al Bedovere
lots of nonfiction text
beautiful photographs
you'll want to grow sunflowers

Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins
beautiful playful language
narrative format
subtle facts

Opossums by Mary R. Dunn
an animal I wouldn't dream to think about
filled with interesting facts
easily accessible for early readers
Busy Squirrels by Melvin and Gilda Berger
probably an easy read - confidence builder
up close photos
one sentence per page

My tenth book for second grade readers might require a treasure hunt - Where Do Birds Live? by Ron Hirschi.  It appears to be out of print.  Lovely photographs, one line of text, with more at the end of the book.  I hope you can find it at the library or you can borrow mine.


Nonfiction Celebration - #nfpb10for10 is Here!

I can't wait to see all the nonfiction picture book love being shared today.  If you are reading this post and thinking - ugh the week got away from me and I don't have my post ready for today.  Don't fret, we won't close the community at midnight.  Take the weekend and join in the fun.  Here are the nuts and bolts to share the books you love right now today.  My book love is always changing so maybe yours is too.

In 2010 Cathy and I hosted our first picture book event.  In 2013, Julie Balen suggested we add a nonfiction picture book event that worked the same.  Participants choose 10 - well, usually 10 (they're a crafty bunch) - nonfiction picture books to share.  On the day of the event, we'll ask that you visit the Google Community site to add your nonfiction link to the 2017 #nf10for10 tab

  • What:  10 nonfiction picture books you can't live without.
  • Hashtag:  #nf10for10
  • Who:  Anyone interested --- educators, media specialists, librarians, parents, and book lovers.  
  • When:  Friday, February 10th - TODAY
  • Where:  All posts will be linked on the 2017 #nf10for10 page of our Picture Book 10 for 10 Google Community Site.  
  • How:  Stop by our community site, join the community, and share your favorites on February 10th. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bizarre Birds Almost Changed my #nf10for10 Post! {Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday}

I couldn't resist Bizarre Birds by Sandra Horning at the book fair last week.  The letter i is dotted with an egg, alliteration makes the title and the close up bird face was just calling my classroom.  I do have a nonfiction tub for bird books in my classroom and this title will be something different for my readers.

The reader learns about 14 different bizarre birds that probably aren't in their backyard.  I know for certain they aren't in mine here in the Midwest.  Each bird has a two page spread with a one page photo and a paragraph of information about 4-7 sentences on the opposite page.  Just enough text but not overwhelming as nonfiction can sometimes be.  The paragraph format varies but you will often learn where the bird lives, what they might eat, information about their size or a strange fact one would never guess.  Each bird also has a close up and caption sharing another interesting fact.  I love the simplistic layout, which will help younger readers navigate the text easier.  I hope you will find this book and enjoy learning about the Hoatzin, Oxpecker, or the Common Tailorbird and yes this bird can sew!

Thanks to Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for encouraging us to share nonfiction books weekly and if you are interested in knowing how to join #nf10for10 this Friday you can find out more information at my Sneak Peak post.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Piper Green is back in The Sea Pony

I noticed a few of my students trying the first two Piper Green stories during independent reading and it triggered my memory; Piper Green and the Fairy Tree The Sea Pony was in my TBR pile!  I immediately moved this book to the top of the stack so I could keep some reading momentum going in our classroom.  

With each Piper Green and the Fairy Tree story, I seem to fall in love with her more and more.  I love the format of her stories; short chapters, a smidge larger font, an occasional black and white illustration to support the story, and a good amount of white space between the lines.  

Piper's personality is one any reader must adore.  She's spunky, helpful, and hopeful.  Piper really wants a horse and witnesses the first horse coming to the island in which she lives on.  She decides to help her dad on their lobster boat by stocking feeder bags for ten cents each bag.  She soon realizes it would take a long time to save money for a horse this way.  She has a fairy tree in her yard where she leaves things for the fairies and in return the fairies leave her things.  An interesting whistle was left in the Fairy Tree and helps Piper connect with a sea pony while on a lobster catching adventure with her dad.  During this adventure, she helps her dad find something really important.  In return, he surprises her with a new opportunity.  She doesn't get a horse to own but her dad's clever thinking is one any parent should/can admire.

I can't wait to discuss this book with my students.  I think we will definitely discuss finger snails, bosun's whistle, gullywhumpers, and sternman.