And Now a Word From Our Students

World-Read-Aloud-Day-2014For week 2 of the World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) blogging challenge, bloggers were asked to answer the following questions individually and with a child or children:

1. I think everyone in the world should read…

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…

4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is…

I decided to open up two of these questions to the students at my school, and I created Padlet walls where they could post their answers.  Here are our results!


Click here to view our 3rd Grade Wall

 

 

 

 



Click here to view our 4th Grade Wall

 

 

 

 

 

Our students were excited about the opportunity to share their opinions with the world, and I think some of our teachers will begin using Padlet as a class brain-storming tool.   Win-win!

 

Read for the Record with Ladybug Girl

This is the email I sent the teachers at my school announcing Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Event coming up this week:

“I hope that you will plan to participate in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record on Thursday, Oct 4, by reading Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by Jacky Davis and David Soman to your students!  (Some of you may remember reading Llama Llama Mad at Mama last year, as well as other books in other years.)

Once again the online version of this year’s book is available from We Give Books, which is a wonderful site packed with e-versions of books for young readers.  And the best part is, every time you share one of these great e-books with your students, you enable the Pearson Foundation to send physical books to organizations that support early childhood literacy.  They have already donated over one million books to programs around the world!

Be sure to take the pledge to read so your students can be counted among those who participated in the big event!”

Is your school participating in Read for the Record?  I’d love to hear about anything special you are doing!

 Edited Oct 1:  I’ve realized that what we need is to have Ladybug Girl visit our school on Thursday to read aloud in the classrooms.  Watch for pictures!
 
 

WWW – We Give Books

This Week’s WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) is…

We Give Books

 

 

 

 We Give Books is a website that allows you to read books online for free!   This amazing website has 150 books available to read right on your computer! 

And to make it even better, each time you read one of these eBooks, the Pearson Foundation will donate a book to a charity that provides free books for needy kids!

You’ll find some of your favorite picture book characters here, like Skippyjon Jones, Corduroy, Spot, and Ladybug Girl.  There are also some non-fiction books to enjoy about big cats, caterpillars and butterflies, volcanoes, tornadoes, animal families, and more.

BONUS:  This year’s Read for the Record book is Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, and you can read it online at the We Give Books website.  More than 2 million people will be reading to children on October 6 in order to draw attention to the need for quality early education.  I hope you will take the pledge to share Llama Llama Red Pajama with your students on October 6! 

p.s. You will find lots of additional resources at the Llama Llama Red Pajama website!

 

As always, a link to this website is posted at http://www.netvibes.com/weeklyweb, along with all of the previous WWW websites.

Vote for The Reading Express

The South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy needs your help.  They have entered their Reading Express project in the Pepsi Refresh competition in hopes of winning $50,000 in funding.  You can help by clicking on this link and voting for The Reading Express.  The goals of the program are to:

  • Break the cycle of illiteracy through education and outreach
  • Give books to approximately 7,000 school children in 35 schools
  • Provide literacy kits for 1,200 families
  • Educate families about the importance of reading at home
  • Empower families by giving them tools to raise life-long readers

You will need to register with the Pepsi site and be sure you sign in before you vote.  If you click the “Vote” button and then sign in, your vote will not be counted unless you click “Vote” again.  You can vote once a day throughout the month of November.

If The Reading Express is one of the top ten vote-getters, they the children of South Carolina win!

Summer Reading

 

Our annual Flip Flop Book Swap began today in the ADE Library, and the students have been flocking in to participate!  Kids have the opportunity to bring in any books from home that they don’t read anymore (making sure it’s okay with parents, of course) and trade them for books someone else brings in so that everybody gets something “new” and different to read this summer.  We also sell books from the swap tables for just 25 or 50 cents each, for those who don’t have any books at home to trade. 
 
I’m also sharing information with students this week about summer reading programs going on at the Sumter County Library, the McElveen Library at Shaw AFB, and Borders (Waldenbooks) in the mall here.  (By the way, Barnes and Noble does a summer reading promotion, too, but we don’t have one here.)  Everyone who brings me proof that they participated in a summer reading program (a reading log or certificate) will be invited to an ice cream sundae party in August when school starts back.
 
Students will also be taking home a Summer Reading Fun brochure that I created to help parents understand the importance of encouraging their children to keep reading over the summer.  It includes lists of recommended reading, including next year’s South Carolina Children’s Book Award nominees. 
I’m determined to help our students beat the summer slide!  Have some other great summer resources to share?  Leave a comment!

WWW – RIF Reading Planet

This week’s WWW: RIF Reading Planet

As summer vacation draws closer, teachers and parents begin to worry about the Summer Slide, which refers to the loss of skills kids suffer over the summer when they fail to engage in any learning activities. 

Experts agree that children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slip backwards.

One way to interest students in reading over the summer is to lure them in with fun, online reading activities.  Enter Reading Planet!

RIF Reading Planet

 

Kids can visit the Activity Lab, the Game Station, and the Book Zone for reading fun, and then click on Express Yourself to do a little writing.  There’s also a Summer Reading Fun page with great ideas for families to keep the reading going at home.

Kids do not have to register to use the site, but if they do join they get access to additional features like contests, an online reading log, and opinion polls.  Many of these activities work great on an Interactive Whiteboard, too, so you can use them in your classroom.  Happy reading!

 

Click here to visit the archive of all the WWW sites I’ve shared so far.

Book Alikes

Background:  I am a huge fan of writing for real purpose.  In order to have students engaged in learning, they need to feel as though what they’re doing really matters in some way.  (Other than just earning a good grade!)  When it comes to writing, one of the ways we can create a real purpose is to provide an audience who will be reading what the students create, so I’m experimenting with having students write something for my Book Buzz blog. 

I began Book Buzz back in the fall to provide a forum where students could discuss the South Carolina Children’s Book Award nominees.  I created a post for each of the 20 titles nominated for the award, and allowed students to leave (moderated) comments about the books they were reading.  Once the book award contest ended in March, I decided to keep Book Buzz going as a general book/author/illustrator blog for students to read and comment on.

One of my recent Book Buzz posts was on Book Alikes, and it occurred to me that my students could be a great source of information regarding books that were similar to one another and that their classmates might enjoy reading.  So two weeks ago I asked my 5th grade Library classes to come up with titles of books that have something in common, and then write a short description of how the books are alike and why other kids would enjoy reading them.  I explained that some of their suggestions would be shared online through Book Buzz for people all over the world to read.

So, how did that turn out?  You can see the some student-recommended Book Alikes here, here, here, here, and here, with more to come in the next couple of days.

Downside:  Students were asked to do this “cold” as they walked into the Library for their weekly Library class, so there was no time for them to think, plan, or polish.  Some claimed they just couldn’t think of two books that were alike.

Upside:  Many of the kids were very enthusiastic about the project, and some were so excited they wanted to read their comparisons to me right away and explain their choices further.  

I definitely plan to do this again next year, but I’ll introduce it early in the school year and make it an ongoing project for students.  Showing them the examples from this year’s students should spark more ideas, and allowing the students plenty of time to develop their ideas will no doubt improve the quality of the recommendations and the writing. 

I’m debating on whether I should try to interest some classroom teachers in using this as a formal writing activity, or whether being graded on it would take some of the enjoyment out of it for students.  Your thoughts?