Cozy Fireplace Invitation

Calling all expressive readers!  During the stretch from Christmas to February break, we are concentrating on the genres of poetry and picture books, with the added frosting of polishing our fluency and expression in reading and public speaking.  One aspect of our study is inviting great readers we know to share a treasured picture book with us around our cozy “fireplace.”  Parents, grandparents, older siblings, . . . . are welcome!  Just e-mail Miss Blessing with your availability.

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

Five Word Book Talks

This week Scholastic tweeted a challenge to share a five word book review of something you’ve been reading that might intrigue another reader who’s searching for their next book. Anyone up for the challenge? Leave a comment!

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Here are some I’ve read lately in my summer reading.

***Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base: Who stole the birthday feast?

***Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin: Oh, how I love snowflakes!

***From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg : Hiding out in the museum.

***Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren: Monkey, horse, and outlandish fun.

***Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne: Friends always there for you.

***Crinkleroot’s Guide to Walking in Wild PLaces by Jim Arnosky: Come woods walking with Crinkleroot.

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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!


Wake Up and join the WILD READING RUMPUS!

So what do you do when your reading journal entries have gotten a bit sleepy and stale? Perhaps you’ve even resorted to describing the character’s breakfast or someone knocking at the door? Oh, dear!

STOMP! GROWL! SCREECH! YEEHAW! This week we are having a WILD READING RUMPUS to spice up our entries with new thoughts and inspiration. We started with wild colored pens. Added to that, you might hear us romping about the room with wild banshee hoots before we share our ideas. It looks like our brains are squirmingly awake again, as I’m sure you’ll notice!

Here are two of Abigail’s latest entries, and they grabbed us! Hope they grab you too.

****Here is a JAM (Just A Minute for fitness, which we use for brain breaks) about Mandie and the Midnight Journey:
1. Trunk twists with hands over ears because Mandie was in bed covering her ears.
2. Touch your toes, come up and twist, like Mandie’s mom picking up the baby.
3. Open your mouth as wide as you can and then close, like the baby screaming!
4. Touch your left foot with your right hand and switch, like Mandie was getting her clothes ready for her trip.
5. Sit in your chair and bounce. This is Mandie on the train.

***Write as many strong word choices as you can in five minutes by leafing through your book.
I read about Mandie again.
1.”The dew covered the leaves” is very descriptive.
2. “Summit of the mountain” shows great word choice.
3. “Her heart skipped a beat” tells awesomely how Mandie felt.
4. “You stupid, stupid baby! I wish you’d never been born!” was my favorite sentence from my reading tonight.
5. “Hissed” is a vivid verb for sure.

So we have WILD BRAINS again. Way to go, second and third grade writers!

Book Shares

This delightful reader kicked off our book sharing for the new year. Because these young readers devour books daily, they discover many treasures. Nearly every day, someone shares a tidbit from a beloved book during our morning meeting share time to entice others to read it. It’s hard to choose which book to read next!


(an excerpt from the poem she shared by Cecil F. Alexander)

 All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


Wild Readers!


Are you a wild reader?  I am!  One of my current selections is Reading in the Wild:  The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits.  Miller’s book is packed with ideas for helping students build capacity for a lifetime of “wild” reading.  In other words, we hope they will become readers who don’t need anyone to encourage their reading because they are voracious, motivated readers inside.  Here are some tips she shares that I thought might interest you.

(Photos are of our book character costumes from Young Reader’s Day)

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Eight Ways for Parents and Teachers to Foster Wild & Lifelong Reading Habits

by Donalyn Miller

1. Model daily reading habits. As literacy expert Stephen Krashen reminds us, “Children read more when they see other people reading.” Talk with children about what you are reading and why you find reading personally interesting and meaningful.

2. Set aside time for daily reading. If we value reading, we must make time for it. Children who read at least 20 minutes a day score in the top range on reading tests and express more motivation and interest in reading. Even short blocks of time every day are better than bursts of reading on a occasional basis.

3. Carry a book with you everywhere. When packing for trips or running errands, throw books and magazines into the suitcase or back seat. Carrying something to read helps ward off “reading emergencies”—those times when you are stuck waiting without anything to do. The number one way adult readers rack up reading time is stealing short reading breaks in between other obligations. Carrying a book with you shows children how to steal this reading time.

4. Provide a wide variety of reading material. Fiction and nonfiction, print and online magazines, graphic novels and comics—children need access to lots of texts that match their interests and reading ability. You never know what book or topic might engage a child with reading.

5. Read aloud with children. Sharing books with children—even teenagers—reinforces that reading is important and something you find personally rewarding. Through reading aloud, you send pleasure messages about reading and can share books with children that they might not be able to read on their own. With older children, reading together can provide a launching point for discussions and help you connect on a regular basis. Burdened with homework and after school activities, many teens stop reading for pleasure. Reading together can keep them invested.

6. Visit the library often. Beyond free access to thousands of books, libraries offer qualified librarians and staff who can help match reading material to your child’s interest and locate online and print resources to support children’s needs. Most libraries host reading events and programs like summer reading clubs, too.

7. Celebrate all reading. Children read more when they are given choices in what they read. When reading for pleasure, children should control their own book selection with your personal limits on content and topics the only restrictions. Do not push children to read harder books, abandon picture books and comics, or limit their choices by reading levels when selecting pleasure reading books at the library or bookstore.

8. Limit screen time. The more time children spend using electronic devices and watching television, the less they read. While children need digital literacy skills, reading websites and surfing online don’t provide the same vocabulary development or reading stamina that reading books and magazines do. If children read e-books on electronic devices, shut off Internet access and limit other features during daily reading time.