50 Brilliant Books for Summer

I enjoyed Teacher Magazine‘s review of 50 great new books, so I thought as you visit your local library to fill up your book bag, you might find it helpful too.  (Remember that statistically students who read 5-6 books during the summer maintain their hard-won reading levels, while those who don’t read tend to lose ground.  Plus it’s fun!  See this PBS article:  “Helping to Prevent Summer Reading Loss”)

50 Brilliant Books for Summer

To Forty and Beyond!


Noah passed forty books this week in the Forty Book Challenge!  Celebrate another power reader with us!

Noah:  I like to read with my friends quietly, and sometimes I read really long books.  Other times I read short books.  Right now I am reading a series called The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  I like that series because the motorcycle Ralph makes is really fun.  The author had a really good idea because he goes on really good adventure instead of sitting around and eating like a fat mouse would.  I am in Runaway Ralph right now, and then I will read Ralph S. Mouse.

Mighty Readers March On


Our Voki to congratulate Mrs. Shedd on reaching the Forty Book Challenge already! Wow!


I love to read! My favorite thing to do is to read! I also like to listen to each of you read, because you are all great readers, too!
I enjoy reading chapter books of all kinds, and I read almost every evening before I go to bed. Sometimes it’s very quiet in my house because my husband and I are both reading. Because I read so much, (5 or 6 books a week) I don’t really have a reading goal. Over the years there have been many books that I’ve enjoyed reading so much that I considered them to be my favorites. Some of them I have read aloud to my husband, and in this way we have enjoyed them together. I have read aloud most of the “Mitford” books by Jan Karon, and those are favorites of ours

I don’t really have a special favorite book in the Bible…although, the Psalms are always a great encouragement to me. I have been reading in Ephesians and Colossians… . Did I answer all of your questions?
Mrs. Shedd

Reaching the Forty Book Challenge by Baseball Boy

Before the year started, I had never thought about reading forty chapter books in a school year, but when Miss Blessing said we were going to challenge ourselves to read at least a book a week this year, I was really interested.  I’ve been reading lots of mysteries like Hardy Boys and Ballpark Mysteries, plus nonfiction books like the What Was . . . ? series.  What Was the Battle of Gettysburg? has been my favorite book so far this year because I get to learn facts about a war I never knew about.  I am thinking I can reach 200 chapter books this year!  Do you think I can?


Challenge Number 1: READ LIKE CRAZY!

Readers read because we love to read, but challenges are always fun.  This summer we challenged each other to keep up the Forty Book Challenge book-a-week habit by reading at least ten books over the summer.

Research shows that students can maintain the reading progress they’ve made from their hard work all year and also move forward over the summer by reading just a few books over vacation.

After studying people who are lifelong readers, Donalyn Miller describes characteristics that “wild” lifelong readers seem to have in common.

*Wild readers dedicate time to read.

*Wild readers self-select reading material.

*Wild readers share books and reading with other readers.

*Wild readers have reading plans.

*Wild readers show preferences.

So . . . read, read, read this summer! I hope that many of you will share pictures of you reading in an interesting place or book shares of favorite book discoveries. Send a comment or an e-mail to share. We can’t wait!

Where the wild things read!


Read in a cozy place.


Read in a favorite place.


Read in a garden.


Read in a tree,


under a tree,


or in a treehouse. (You know who you are, beloved readers.)


Read with someone young,


someone you love,



or even with Robert Frost.


Read a whole collection,


about something you’ve been curious about,


with a friend,


or by yourself.


Read in your jammies.


Read whatever floats your boat!


Just read!


Guess What!

Would you believe that EVERY ONE of our sixteen second and third graders (plus Mrs. Shedd and Miss Blessing) met the Forty Book Challenge this year?  It was an exciting day today as the last few students crossed the finish line.  Stay tuned to hear how many books we read as a group along with our average books per person this year, which will be announced on our Remembrance Day Thursday.  Here is a picture of the folks who haven’t had their picture posted yet.  Go, wild readers!


A Wild Reader Moment

Reading expert Donalyn Miller describes voracious lifelong readers who seek out books on their own as “Wild Readers.”  Here is one example of what young wild readers do.  When they are on vacation, they spontaneously send their teacher a photo of a perfect place for our class to read.  Boy, did this ever make me smile, for lots of reasons.


And this is where I WAS actually reading when I got the picture (on the porch where the kindle is).  Pretty close!


Another Mighty Reader!

Karis finished her Forty Book Challenge back in November, and she is already past sixty books this year!  Here is her reading interview for you to enjoy.


The Forty Book Challenge is really fun. I love the fact that I got to read all sorts of chapter books this year. I really like Psalms in the Bible. I read the whole thing as one of my books, and I really liked that I sometimes found the words of songs I knew from church right there in the Psalms. When I was little, I used to go through the verses of Psalms and try to make my own songs from the words, making my own little tune to them.   I have also been especially enjoying a book of prayers called All God’s Children that I often read before bed. Here is one of my favorites.

From “Timesweep” by Carl Sandburg

There is only one horse on the earth

and his named is All Horses.

There is only one bird in the air

and his name is All Wings.

There is only one fish in the sea

and his name is All Fins.

There is only one man in the world

and his name is All Men.

There is only one woman in the world a

and her name is All Women.

There is only one child in the world

and the child’s name is All Children.

There is only one Maker in the world

and His children cover the earth

and they are named All God’s Children.

I love that the words are so beautiful that he chose. I think the ending of it is really special, honoring God as the Creator.

Two More Amazing Readers

Facilitating the growth of each unique group of learners is a special privilege, and we teachers closely observe the passions and interests of our young scholars in order to help them along the way.  This year it has been my delight to watch the class develop a very deep interest in reading the Bible on their own using their “grown-up” ESV Bibles.  They constantly share what they are discovering, ask questions about their reading, encourage each other enthusiastically, and apply what they are learning.  Some of them have been highlighting every single verse of every page they read with their bright-colored highlighters, which always makes me smile.  I hope you will be as touched as I am by these two interviews with readers who finished the Forty Book Challenge recently.


An Interview with Martha

Part of my Forty Book Challenge this year has been challenging myself to read the Bible. At the start of the year, some friends and I said, “Hey, would you like to read the Bible together?” And we decided YES!
Our first book was Proverbs. So far I have read Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I’m reading Psalms now. It feels very exciting because I’m on fire with God.
I want to read God’s Word when I’m little because it will help me to go on and on being on fire for God. I heard on “Go Fish” that you should go to the Bible and ask yourself, “Is that okay?” If I want to know the answer to that question, I need to know the Bible.
This school year, I think I will be able to read about half of the whole Bible. I bring home my Bible that the school gave me for my own. That way I can read at home and at school. I got some Bible journals that I am writing in about what I read, and we are all asking each other lots of questions too. We are trying to make connections between all the things we are reading in the Bible. I love my Bible.


An Interview with Jaelyn

I am reading Psalms now. I love learning more about God. It means something, not just a regular old book. It has been helping me because if I have a situation when I don’t really know what to do, I can ask myself, “What did I read in the Bible that would help me decide about that?” It can help me go in the right direction, not the wrong one. I want to stay away from the slippery slope.
We journal each day in our Bible journals. We write verses that we think are important and what our thoughts are about those verses. We also write prayer requests that we share with each other.
The Forty Book Challenge made me feel really motivated to do more than I even thought I could! Martha and I wrote a play together to put the meaning of Christ we had read about in the Gospels, and we are going to perform it for our Bible class this week. I’m going to keep reading and reading until I get to the whole Bible next year.