Monday, July 7, 2014

a cautionary tale....and fave books

Write your post.
Link up with BigTime Literacy!
Remember the Rule of 3!

Today's BTBC prompt is to write about your favorite books as a kid or as an adult. I do have some favorites now, now that I've been a teacher and have some great mentors and colleagues who showed me the way. But...back when I was a kid, not so much.

The problem? Basal readers. My teachers never made me do independent reading. Sure, they taught us about reading with a basal and we read stories from a said textbook, but the lessons never went to independence with Just Right books. I grew up a kid who wanted to be a teacher and I never liked to read! Is that ludicrous or what?!?!

I share this with you because if you are a teacher who only uses a basal and does not create the space for students to do authentic, self-selected, independent reading, what you're teaching them won't transfer. The kids might learn some things about reading, but unless they have a way to apply it, it doesn't really do much. I've already talked in another post about the accountability piece, and I can go more into detail (let me know what's still unclear!), but kids have to read independent, self-selected books, or they won't become readers. End of story.

Now that all that's out of the way, I can share some of my fave books that I've found since I became a teacher!

First, a picture book:

Amos and Boris is a beautiful tale about unexpected friendship. Amos, a mouse, and Boris, a whale, unexpectedly become friends. When you read it to kids, be sure to use a squeaky voice for the mouse and a deep voice for the whale. They'll love it, and you'll love reading it to the kiddos!

A book for meditation and well-being:

I found out about this book through yoga. The teachers would read passages from this one to us at class and I had to have my own copy! It has 365 different passages - one for each day of the year - and they are about all different topics: love, acceptance, being kind to yourself, regret, moving on, etc, etc. You can read them according to the day of the year it happens to be, or you can look up topics based on how you're feeling. I've loved it when I've felt happy and it's a source of comfort when I'm feeling sad. Highly recommended!

A chapter book:

This is my all time fave book, ever! It was recommended to me by the librarian at the first elementary school I worked at. Read it with my first group of sixth graders, liked it, but didn't love it. Read it with another group of sixth graders...liked it again. Then talked to someone about the ending, who offered a new interpretation of the ending and *then* I loved it!

A few years after that, I read it with seventh graders. Loved it. But then, when I waited to read it until eighth grade...that was the best. Sixth graders: too much of it goes over their head. Seventh is better, but eighth is the best. Highly recommend. I'd read it with kids every year if I could!

Side note: The movie version is coming out on August 15th! Read the book before then (and leave me your comments about it here!)

Anyways, sorry to cut it short (I orignially wanted to put 5 books on the list) but I had a late night because I saw Taylor Mali at The Green Mill tonight! Do you know about him? He wrote this spoken word poem called What Teachers Make:

I'll post all about my evening tomorrow! Let's just say there were laughs, there were tears, and there was inspiration to keep on keepin' on with the writing. More to come tomorrow! :-)


  1. Just found your challenge today. I want to say thanks for this. I will be taking you up on the challenge and post each day.

    I love that video. It never gets old watching it.

  2. Thanks for the reminder about the rule of 3. I actually hunted around a little yesterday because I couldn't remember and I didn't find it. It is always good to be reminded of guidelines!

  3. I love the Giver, but I'm interested in the interpretation that made you love it. Did you read Matilda yet?

    1. ha, no to Matilda and your movie is still sitting by my TV. Next week I'm pretty free...going on my to do list for shizzle! :-)
      I'm so glad you're still blogging from the road (not sure how you're doing it) but it's awesome! we'll talk about the Giver when I see you next!

  4. Maybe basals are why I don't remember reading "books" as a child... My district has adopted a basal for this coming year after not having one for 15 years. I must be very careful--keep the BOOKS front and foremost. Thanks!

    1. Yep keep those books handy for sure! I used a basal when I was in my last middle school, but only for the stories that were awesome and not for all the workbook/worksheets/etc that went along with them! :-)

  5. I love The Giver and am really interested to know the interpretation that changed your opinion of the book. I agree that it's too advanced for sixth grade. I read it with my gifted 7th graders, and they LOVED it!

    I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Taylor Mali. I love, love, love the videos on YouTube that have been circulating for years!

  6. The Giver is one of my favorites as well!

  7. Amos & Boris is my #1 picture book also! There are so many that it's hard to isolate one, but for sure that great friendship story can be told a million times and never get old. I still have to fight back the tears at the end.

  8. The Book of Awakening is something I'd love to purchase. I had never heard of it before. However, my sister-in-law recently graduated from her Yoga courses and became an instructor. She mentioned this book as something she finds calming. Now it's been recommended by the both of you. Thanks for sharing. ;)

  9. I have never read any of these books but they all sound great! We are getting ready to move and I meant to leave out my daughter's copy of The Giver but I packed it by mistake. I guess I'll read it very quickly after we move!

    Camp Kindergarten


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