Posts tagged ‘reading’
Retell: When Mary Ellen becomes bored of reading her grampa takes her on a hunt for a bee tree. People from the community join them as they run through the Michigan countryside chasing bees. By the end of the bee tree chase Mary Ellen learns that there are many similarities between chasing knowledge through the pages of a book and chasing bees.
Topics: reading, outdoors, adventure, grandparents, community, knowledge
Units of Study: Realistic Fiction, Personal Narrative, Authoring an Independent Reading Life
Tribes: personal best
Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe
Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, interpretation
My Thoughts: I like reading this book at the beginning of the year when we author our own independent reading lives. I think this year I want to keep referring back to the book when we have particularly juicy conversations. When students ask interesting, provocative questions I could refer to them as ‘honey questions’. I need to make a banner with Grampa’s words: “[Adventure, knowledge and wisdom] do not come easily. You have to pursue them. Just like we ran after the bees to find their tree, so you must also chase these things through the pages of a book!”
Retell: Grace loves to act. When her school puts on a production of Peter Pan she is eager to audition. Her classmates tell her that she can’t be Peter Pan because she is a girl and she’s black. After an inspiring visit to the ballet Grace finds confidence to audition.
Topics: reading, stories, acting, school, gender issues, racism, role models, theater, ballet
Units of Study: Social Issues, Realistic Fiction, Character
Tribes: Personal Best
Habits of Mind: persistence, striving for accuracy, thinking interdependently
Reading Skills: inference, interpretation
My Thoughts: Amazing Grace has been a favorite read aloud of mine for introducing the Social Issues unit. However, I’m thinking of reading it earlier this year when introducing the Habit of Mind–‘persistence’. Grace is a good example of how one persists when they have a dream. Grace’s dream is to play Peter Pan. Despite the discouragement she receives from a few of her classmates, Grace practices over the weekend and ends up getting the part. However, it’s interesting to note that this persistence didn’t just come from herself–she had to be encouraged by her family. I wonder if Grace would have succeeded if her Nana hadn’t taken her to the ballet.
Topics: friendship, reading, literacy, growing old, learning, music, small moments, friendship
Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Social Issues
Tribes: personal best, mutual respect
Reading Skills: envisionment, inference, interpretation
Writing Skills: zooming in on small moments, alliteration, onomatopoeia, using sensory details
My Thoughts: This is a slow-paced story that easily lends itself to teaching small moments. Though you could also read this book aloud with a social issues lens, the author spends most of the story describing the moments just before going to school. It would be a good mentor text for paying attention to how authors incorporate sound into their writing.
Retell: Jon Scieszka edits this fabulous collection of stories, comics, essays, illustrations and vignettes contributed by prominent male authors and illustrators. Contributors include: Stephen King, Matt Groening, Jerry Spinelli, Seymour Simon, James Howe, Neil Gaiman, Gary Paulsen and many more. Royalties from the book are used to support Scieszka’s Guys Read Program.
Topics: boys, family, growing up, reading, writing, art
Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Launching the Reading and Writing Workshop, Character, Personal Essay, Content-Area Reading and Writing, Nonfiction, Memoir, Social Issues, Fantasy, Preparing for the ELA
Tribes: Mutual Respect, Personal Best, Appreciations/No Putdowns, Right to Pass
Reading Skills: inference, making connections, interpretation
Writing Skills: writing with voice, zooming in on a small moment, observing the world for stories
My Thoughts: This book is teacher gold! Guys Write for Guys Read has a plethora of short stories that can be used for mentor texts in almost every Reading and Writing unit. One of the stories, “Reading Can Be Dangerous” by Tedd Arnold was featured on the 5th grade ELA test last year. James Howe, author of Bunnicula, writes a personal narrative about getting help from a friend on how to be a boy–a great text for personal essay or discussing gender issues. Many authors write about how they came to love reading and writing. Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon, writes about how he fell in love with fantasy–great to read when you launch a unit on Fantasy reading and writing. Patrick Jones, a librarian, writes about how being interested in wrestling inspired him to become a voracious reader. Many entries include samples of famous authors childhood work alongside their adult work. For example, Dav Pilkey, author/illustrator of the infamous Captain Underpants series, writes about a comic strip he started when he was 11. I will probably use this book for almost every unit I teach this year.
If you don’t pick up a copy of this book you must go to Scieska’s website, Guys Read. The site is dedicated to inspiring more young boys to fall in love with reading. Mr. Scieszka, you’re my hero.