Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7/9

Jen and Kellee at host a weekly meme entitled "It's Monday! What are you Reading? From Picture Books to YA"  This is a chance for people to share the books that they have been reading throughout the week, especially focused on kid lit and YA lit.

Books Finished this week:

I read a number of professional books this week.  I am trying to figure out how to make my reading and writing blocks more intentional and organized.  There are a number of district mandates that I need to follow.

Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles is a practical guide and I will definitely be pulling this one out multiple times this year.  This book gave me a few ideas about how to tweak my literature study and a great sample schedule and calendar.

  The Book Whisperer is an excellent resource to have for any teacher of reading.  I have been very excited to find the Nerdy Book Club and all of the support on Twitter.  I can't believe that it took me so long to pick up this book and read it.  I misunderstood at first about the target audience of the book.  I wholeheartedly agree with Donalyn Miller that this type of reading classroom is the way to produce life-long readers.  It was a great read for me this summer because it helped to validate what I already knew.  My classroom was this kind of reading space when I had younger students and the flexibility to design my curriculum. Now, with middle school students and a more structured set of mandates from the district, my reading classroom has suffered.  This book helped me to rethink some of the structure in the requirements for my students and I am glad that I decided to read it.  I will be recommending it to many teachers in the Fall when I get back to school.

Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy was another book I read.  This was a quick read because it is filled with practical lesson plans.  Many of the suggested strategies are things that I already do, but there were some gems in here.  I will definitely be pulling this book off the shelf while planning this year.

Inside the Writer's-Reader's Notebook by Linda Rief gives another set of suggestions about how to set up a notebook.  It was interesting to see how this middle school teacher sets up her expectations to work with the multiple classes that she works with.

A Writer's Notebook by Ralph Fletcher is not exactly a professional resource but I read it that way.  I am trying to figure out how best to guide my students in setting up writer's notebooks and how to set up my own.  This book is full of ideas and I enjoyed reading it.

The rest of the books I finished this week were young adult or children's books.

The Dark Frigate  was part of the Newbery Challenge.  I didn't hate the book but it took a long time to hook me.  I would not recommend it to any students unless they were big fans of Treasure Island or similar books.

Houdini: The Handcuff King by James Sturm is a graphic novel about Houdini.  It was fun to read the graphic novel and the real biographical information mixed with a sort of glossary at the end that explained some of the historical points in the story.

Pearl by Jo Knowles was another book that I am sure my middle school students will love.

Dragons in the Waters by Madeleine L'Engle:  I found this book in my library while browsing.  I was excited about the fancy new cover that makes the book seem much more intriguing.  I LOVED all of L'Engle's books when I was younger and loved this one on the second read.  I need to seek out all of her books with these new covers and stock my class library with her awesomeness...not just the class set of A Wrinkle in Time.

The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic is a book I read about in a post from Teachers Write.  This picture book is an excellent example of how profound picture books can really be.  The subject of how a child perceives his world after his mom dies is heartbreaking but this would be an excellent mentor text for voice because you can really feel that this is a young person talking.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia is a wonderful book and would be a great book to recommend for a Civil Rights unit.  I can see why it was nominated for so many awards.

Tales From Silver Lands...UGH!  This was a hard book to get through.  I usually like traditional tales but these were dry and oh-so-boring.

Empty by Suzanne Weyn is a book I will recommend to students.  I really wasn't all that thrilled by the writing in the book.  The first 50 pages or so read a lot like a Sweet Valley High book or something similar.  The subject matter is interesting and it is good food for thought.  I can see middle school students being intrigued by this book and going to find out more about oil supplies and renewable energy.

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes is a great story.  I expected it to be more sad than it was and that was a pleasant surprise.  I enjoyed reading about Martha and her family trip complete with a tween romance gone wrong.  I thought the relationship she had with her grandmother was quite touching.

Books I am Currently Reading:

So What do They Really Know? by Chris Tovani
Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
La Linea by Ann Jaramillo

What's on the horizon in reading:
I have an entire shelf of books to read...I have forbidden myself to request any more books at the library based on recommendations that I see on Twitter until I read more of my shelf.  I don't know which books but I will be getting them from that shelf.



  1. What a great selection of books. I enjoyed One Crazy Summer a lot-- not a lot in middle grade fiction on the Black Panthers!

  2. My oldest is into magic tricks and he loves historical graphic novels so the Houdini books looks interesting. Have you read Laika? That's one of his favorites.

  3. Many of those 1920s Newbery books are really, really tough! Shen of the Sea and Dark Frigate were my least favorites! I really LOVED Henkes Junonia, and I've been meaning to check out Olive's Ocean. So many books . . .


  4. Lots of great professional books!

    I consider The Book Whisperer my Bible as a literature teacher. LOVE Donalyn! :)

    I use Linda Rief's writer's notebooks in my English classes and I absolutely love them. I've been using them for about 5 years now.

  5. Holy moly! That's a tooooon of books! I love The Book Whisperer. It's such a great book. That book changed my whole teaching life. I was already reading a lot of children's literature before I read it, but then I found Donalyn on Twitter and all of my Twitter friends and my reading took off. It is such a great resource. I wish everyone would read The Book Whisperer and embrace it. It's great.