Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ready for a Reading Road Trip, It's Monday, What are You Reading, July 21, 2014

It's Monday! What are you Reading is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki of Unleashing Readers and have become a regular linked up blog. Thanks #PLN

Source: Net Galley

Referred to as a meta-fictional picture book, this interactive story features our old cartoon buddies Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse. Jerry is hiding in the book and making quite a mess for poor old Tom. Tom asks the reader for help moving through the pages of the book sometimes quickly to avoid a dog attack and other times slowly to prevent setting off mouse traps.

I have been a fan of Tom and Jerry cartoons for many years so I liked it. I would have liked to have seen more interactions with the reader maybe Jerry was nibbling on some cheese and we have to smell it or Tom gets tangled up and we have to wiggle out. otherwise, it's cute.

Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water HoleDear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole
by Irene Latham
Source: Net Galley

Wildebeest, impalas, elephants, giraffes, vultures and other African animals gather around a watering hole in this book of poetry infused with general information about the animals who co-exist, dependent on each other and the watering hole.

Favorite book of the week:

I became a fan of Rainbow Rowell after reading Eleanor and Park and Fangirl was just as wonderful. I can't wait to get my hands on Landline. Rowell has such a fresh and unique writing style and I appreciate the subtle humor sprinkled throughout her books.

This week I am taking a road trip to the Scholastic Reading Summit in Houston with six fellow librarians + one classroom teacher. Several months ago I registered our group and boy am I glad I did because it sold out quickly. I guess everyone heard that the amazing Donalyn Miller was going to be the keynote speaker. The sessions sound terrific and I am hoping to bump into Twitter friends while we are there.

 My current reads:
 I have already read The Book Whisperer and this week, I am starting Reading in the Wild.

I also picked up two books today that I have been really wanting to read and 
can't wait to sink my reading teeth into them.


Now tell me, what are you reading?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Reading Interest Surveys

A conversation popped up on Twitter today and here is how it went:
This is the wonderful thing about Twitter, you can reach out across the miles and get quick answers from your professional learning network (#PLN).

Scene: A child walks into a library, stops, and stands staring blank eyed at all the shelves filled with fantastic books while lamenting "I can't find anything to read." Pan the camera to a librarian in the shadows of the stacks clutching a knife in her heart. That is what it feels like when you have spent countless hours diligently searching high and low curating the perfect library collection. Or perhaps this soulless lament is a battle cry to the champions of all readers (yes that champion is you-parents, teachers, and librarians). Your quest is to help this woeful child discover their inner self so they may learn the secrets of selecting books to match their reading interests. Sound the battle cry and fade to black.

What is a Reading Interest Survey?
Questionnaires known as Reading Interest, Reading Inventory, or Reading Attitude Surveys are helpful tools to help teachers, librarians, and parents gain a sense of a child's interests, favorite things, likes, dislikes, hobbies, and how they feel about reading. This data can serve as a guide to help a reader learn to identify the types of books they might be interested in reading. The goal is to help readers become successful in identifying the right books that will motivate them without frustrating them.
  Ms. Murphy's "Getting to Know You" Reader's Interview.
The link above takes you to my Reading Interest Surveys. The first is a set of interview questions designed so partners may take turns interviewing each other while also getting      acquainted with each other.

What is the next step?
After collecting the reader's interviews, I review each student's survey with them to get a bigger sense of what type of book will click with them. Sometimes I offer them a good book match and other times we have to keep looking for the perfect fit. I keep the interview data in a binder so that I can flip back quickly when a student gets stumped and he or she needs a refresher on their likes and dislikes. I think I will offer kiddos a chance to edit their responses mid-year as they develop and grow as readers.    

Follow Julee's board Reading Surveys & Reader's Responses on Pinterest.

Interest surveys available online:

 “Garfield” Reading Interest (Professor Garfield) Survey:

Clear Rapids Community Schools Reading Interest Surveys:

General Interest Surveys that will help librarians guide readers: Elementary student friendly with use of visual aids:

My Way:

This is a nice survey It's easy to complete.
If I Ran the School:

Starring Me!

Enjoyment of Reading survey-very old, but still effective use of questions. I really like this one but would combine with a happy face or Garfield type visual image for rating:

I hope you will find these resources helpful. If you have a reader's interest survey you would like to share, please add it in the comments section. Share the knowledge and empower us all.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Monday, What are You Reading, July 14, 2014

It's Monday! What are you Reading is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki of Unleashing Readers and have become a regular linked up blog. Thanks #PLN

There were so many books that I wanted to read this spring but my students had first dibs on them. With #summerthrowdown in full swing, I have been able to dive into my Summer Reading Wish List.

The Selection series has been entertaining at best although the writing has been a bit goofy at times but sometimes I don't mind goofy.

I also read aloud some of these favorite character books to a group of mommies and their babies during my presentation on the importance of early literacy and family reading traditions.  


...and then because I was in a Pete the Cat mood, I read these too.

ARCs I have read this week:

Sleep Tight Little BearSleep Tight Little Bear by Britta Teckentrup

A little bear and his mother prepare for their long winter's nap of hibernation by visiting each of their friends to say good-night. I had an immediate positive feeling regarding this book. The pros were:  beautiful illustration, a sweet family story introducing the concept of hibernation, and I cannot resist a bear story. The cons were: I think the bears would probably eat those very same friends they were telling good-night especially in the spring when they woke up. 

I also read Pig and Small by Alex Latimer. Great title and an interesting little book about a pig and a bug trying to make their awkward friendship work.

My favorite book of the week:

Always, AbigailAlways, Abigail by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: ARC received from Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky Kids
Release date: October 2014  
Realistic Fiction, ages: 9-13

I absolutely loved the story of Abigail and her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad sixth grade year. Abigail, the list maker and her two BFFs AlliCam (2 girls) have aspired to become pom pom girls since they first met in kindergarten. Disaster first strikes when Abigail is put in a different homeroom than AliCam and then her antiquated Language Arts teacher partners her up with the biggest loser in school. Ack!!!!

Always Abigail is told through a series of lists-funny, thought provoking, and much like the lists I used to find in my own daughter's room. I think it genuinely reflects the suffering, guilt, and angst a young girl can experience in her sixth grade year. I appreciated that Abigail had a very active conscience battling her daily.

Without a doubt, I will be purchasing a hard copy of this book for my school library collection. I think it can serve my young friends well.

I made a list of what I like about Always Abigail:

1. Abigail is an interesting, flawed, typical sixth grade girl striving to live up to her dreams while struggling with her conscience. 
2.  Ditto
3.  Ditto
4.  Ditto
5  Ditto
6.  Ditto 
7.  Ditto
8.  Ditto
9.  Ditto
10. Ditto

Getting ready for #virtualbookclub chat this Monday, July 14th at 8 p.m. EST. Join us!
I re-read A Snicker of Magic 

A Snicker of MagicA Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sweet,charming story about a girl named Felicity Pickle and her destiny to lay down roots in the town where her mother grew up. A wonderful story of friendship and the importance of family. Read it and feel renewed by life.

This is going to be a great Twitter chat because we all loved the book so much. 

Currently reading:

Somebody on this Bus is Going to be Famous by J. B. Cheaney
Source: ARC received from Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky Kids
Release date: September 2014
Mystery, ages: 10-14

It has been a fun reading week. What are your reading?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Another day in the Maze, It's Monday, What Are You Reading-July 7, 2014

Monday! What are you Reading is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki of Unleashing Readers and have become a regular linked up blog. Thanks #PLN
 I just finished the Maze Runner as one of my #Summerthrowdown reads for July and #MustReadin2014. I have been waiting weeks on the library hold list to get my hands on a copy. I found it entertaining and irritating at the same time. 

 The premise for the story was fantastic. There is a massive stone wall maze that contains an area known as "the glade" which is home to a group of teen age boys whose memories have been wiped before they arrived. Once a month a "greenie"or "greenbean" is sent up via a metal box to join the others. The boys are left to survive using the few supplies they are regularly provided and must live by their wits. Every day a group of Runners go into the maze to seek an escape. After two years the mystery of the maze has yet to be solved when Thomas shows up and then everything changes including the sudden arrival of a girl.

I like the mystery of the story but the characters were blah with the exception of Chuck and Newt. I envisioned Newt as an Aussie accented character and Chuck as the sweet gullible buddy who is bound to be killed off.

The movie trailer certainly makes it look more exciting than the book. I really want to see the movie but the book was only mildly entertaining. 

I have continued on my Harry Potter Re-read challenge and am up to The Order of the Phoenix. I mostly listen to the audio version while I work. I never get tired of Harry Potter.

 In my car, I am listening to Insurgent because I like Emma Galvan's voice. I can only listen to so much before I get fed up with Tris. (Yes, I do like the series but after a second read of it, Tris has become a bit full of herself always insisting on taking on all the bad guys alone}. I think now that I know the full outcome of the series, I am a bit more harsh with Tris. I was the same way with Bella Swan's lack of confidence. The girl could cook, she was smart, she was kind and a good friend. Why was she so down on herself? 

 I also spent a day at the library reading through a stack of picture books but my favorite picture book of the week was one sent to me by author Debbie Diesen. See pictures from inside the book here

I am setting it aside to use as a start of school book.

Next up for me is The Night Gardener, Almost Abigail, and more Harry Potter. 

What does your reading week look like? Let me know.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#MustReadin2014 and Kicking off #Summerthrowdown

Teacher Carrie Gelson is calling all #MustReadin2014 readers to turn in their homework for the Quarter Quell. Oh wait, that's not right, I mean the quarterly check in to see how we are progressing in our #MustReadin2014 lists.
Check out the link up here.

I have read 30 out of 40 books on my #MustReadin2014 List. That's not too bad but my list keeps getting longer as I continue to add books that I must read this year. A little competition is just the thing to get me motivated (as if any of us needed any reading motivation).

Today I join dozens of other folks in the 3rd annual #summerthrowdown. I did it last year because I am one of those folks who thrive well under the spirit of competition.
I like a reading goal and I love reading as part of a book club. I need to talk about the books I am reading and it's not always easy to find adults in my home or workplace that will read children's books. It is such a thrill to stumble across another grown up in the YA section of the library. We immediately fall into conversation sharing our favorites. I have no qualms about getting older-I like it. It is simply that in my reader's heart, I am still an adventurer in need of a great quest.

The official first book in my #summerthrowdown challenge
Yesterday,  I received this book from Debbie Diesen, creator of The Pout Pout Fish. It was such a wonderful surprise and I now proclaim it as the first book I will read for #summerthrowdown.

I challenged my son and my nephew to a Harry Potter Re-Read Challenge to be completed by July 31st (Harry's birthday). I have gotten too dependent on the ABC Family's movie version of H. P. series and have been missing all the great parts that were cut out from the books. I am still plugging away and up to H. P. and the Prisoner of Azkaban but my son blew through the entire series in one week. He has more time on his hands than I do. I had to use the audio book versions just to get as far as this. (I work year round).

Harry Potter books are on my #MustReadin2014 and #MustRead4Ever

 All of these #virtualbookclub books are on my #MustReadin2014 list and so far I am keeping up with one exception, I could not locate a copy of Splendors and Gloom. 

 Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier was nothing short of FANTASTIC! I am ready for the August #virtualbookclub chat. Well, I need to read The Night Gardener too.

 The creepiest #mustreadin2014 since reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.
Favorite dystopian #mustreadin2014 series. I can't believe I haven't made it out to get Graduation Day-I think I don't want the series to end. This was the hottest YA check out in my library this spring for boys and girls. They loved it!

The most intense #MustReadin2014. I had to sit and deeply think about The Impossible Knife of Memory. I feel blessed not having to deal with such suffering.

We Were Liars had the most surprising twist #MustReadin2014 and wow-what a terrific novel. Look for the movie version in the near future.

This is a picture of me ----------------------------->
after some MAJOR weeding of the entire school library and university teacher resource center.
I mean it's real muscle man work taking weeks to get through and I am flat out exhausted. I have given away tons (probably not an exaggeration) of free teaching materials to university students. The great thing is I have now doubled the size of my library. I even sweet talked the Dean of Education (great guy) into giving me some bookcases I desperately needed and would have taken even without permission (but I prefer to get properly obtained permission if he is reading this). Librarians are resource people.

Well until Carrie sends out the next homework call, you will find me reading the last 10 books on my #MustReadin2014 which will certainly have grown to 20 or more books.

Until the next quarterly check in, keep reading and let me know what you are reading. We'll chat.