Hi friends! This blog is for teachers and families- all for the sheer joy of literacy. When we are enthusiastic about reading and writing our students and our own kids become excited to read and write. I hope that we all can be models for those in our care- how did you show your passion for reading, writing, learning, language, or words today?? It's in those small, daily moments that we teach kids to love literacy.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reading + Pinning + Doing (7)


In personal reading-
This afternoon I just finished Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, the first book I've tackled from my Personal Reading Challenge this year. I liked it well enough. I would read it again, and gave it 3 stars...and if there was an option, I'd say it definitely deserved 3.5 stars. It is a quick read. In the end, the themes revolved around jealousy, betrayal, and the subjectivity of morality and ethics. I was fairly satisfied in the end.

Between teaching and life in general, I hope to read 15 novels this year. I'm ahead of this goal with 3/15 read already. But I think my next attempt will be Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, which will probably take a couple of months to get through. At least it's free on the Kindle. I may add in the new PD James book (in her nod to Jane Austen) to help me get through a Dostoyevsky challenge.

Blurb on The Idiot, from Goodreads:
Returning to Russia from a sanitarium in Switzerland, the Christ-like epileptic Prince Myshkin finds himself enmeshed in a tangle of love, torn between two women—the notorious kept woman Nastasya and the pure Aglaia—both involved, in turn, with the corrupt, money-hungry Ganya. In the end, Myshkin’s honesty, goodness, and integrity are shown to be unequal to the moral emptiness of those around him.

In family reading- 
Out of our newest library stack, we're particularly enjoying a few books with our toddler:

Potato Joe, by Keith Baker, is a lovely book- it's silly, filled with rhyme and counting, and has a playful illustrations. This book would be great for 2-5 year old kids. Check it out!

Drum City, by Thea Guidone and with illustrations by Vanessa Newton, has more text than Potato Joe, but my 27 month old has chosen it first every night this week (she also grabbed it off the shelf at the library). The text has an appealing rhythm and beat, as you might expect. The illustrations are super cute, and harken back to the 60s (my husband and I separately checked the copyright to see when it was written because the illustrations are just that evocative of the era). A great read for a toddler on up to first grade.

Where is Tippy Toes? by Betsy Lewin is another good preschool read aloud. The book follows Tippy Toes (a marmalade cat) as he has small and big adventures during his day- tromping through a pie, playing with a garden hose, and trying to catch a mouse are some highlights. The cadence of this book seems off on one or two pages, but my daughter loves it. The die-cut pages add fun. My daughter loves the page where the cat is snuggling with the androgynous child in bed.

Leaves by David Ezra Stein is a delightful book with simple text. I think this would be a great book to introduce the seasons to K-1 students. My daughter has really enjoyed it- especially when the bear is sleeping in a hole, covered with leaves.


Via Pinterest, I found a great new site, The Oxford Owl with a couple hundred books for elementary kids to read online. They have many easy readers, and a number of fabulous audio books (The Secret Garden) for older elementary kids. I love to find books online for my students, many times they don't have access to books at home, and it's also more alluring for kids (struggling readers) to read online.

I also loved this critical thinking poster, would be handy to have
right by my desk. What was your favorite pin this week?

My students are starting to make a lot of reading progress this time of year. However, the school is now put on high alert for the test coming in May. We have to get our act together because our API is projected to drop (sigh!). I'm going to keep on keeping on as an intervention teacher, but this kind of news puts a lot of stress on our classroom teachers. Our schools' big push right now is turning in thorough lesson plans. Does anyone else feel this pressure around assessment?

Yesterday I re-purposed an old dish rack to display our current library books.