Tag Archives: Nerdy Book Club

Love it? Say it! Share it!

This week’s post is a recycled theme. I’ve previously written about the importance of sharing our “Book Love”, but the more authors I get to know, the more passionate I feel about this. The books we love don’t just appear. There is a hardworking author who chose every single one of those words that we are savoring! I frequently see posts on social media where they comment on how a review, tweet, or fan letter has touched them or inspired them.  When you work for months or years, all alone, pouring your heart into a piece of writing, you hope that it is meaningful to some reader out there. Well, dear readers, let’s show them if it is!

I know many who do.  There is a whole nerdy nation of readers who are passionate about books and authors.  One of the biggest tribes is the Nerdy Book Club . Here they are always sharing their love of books and love for their writers. But what are some other avenues readers can take to spread their appreciation for the writers who gift us their words?

Here are a few ways I have tried.

Last year one of my favorite authors, Gae Polisner, (The Pull of Gravity, The Summer of Letting Go, and on Sept. 6 The Memory of Things) reminded me, as I read her blog, about the importance of book reviews to authors. Click below.

Tuesday Feedback: A Little Conversation about Book Reviews Starring YOU

Her message was that authors need us to keep them in the public eye.  Sharing our favorite books on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr will inform our friends and followers.  But how can we expand our Book Love beyond our relatively small circle?  How can we support those authors we love so they can continue their writing careers and bring us even more Book Love??

Our reviews on sites like Goodreads will certainly expand our influence and love, but sites like Amazon have a much stronger impact for sales of books.  THAT is the ultimate way we support our favorite authors.  Love a book?  Let others know!! Don’t know how to post an Amazon review?  Go here.  Don’t worry about sounding like an editorial reviewer from Kirkus, New York Times, Booklist, or School Library Journal. The length and quality aren’t as important as the willingness to do it! Here are a few quick tips for posting reviews for the books you love!

  • (This book) is about brief synopsis (but I think it’s really about)what it means to you. (Your review  doesn’t require a complete retelling-editorial reviewers have already done that! What is this book about for YOU?)
  • If you like_____________this book is for you! Who would like this book?  Who would be a target audience? Why would they enjoy it?
  • I really liked ______________ . Were the characters compelling?  Was the writing engaging?  Was it humorous? Suspenseful? Realistic? Heartwarming? Mention one or two things about the book that made it memorable for you.
  • Mention the author’s name (and illustrator).  Remind readers of the person behind those words who pounded out that plot, those characters, that dialogue, those facts and worked their bums off. Books don’t just happen, someone dreams them and brings them to life-we need to honor that!

THAT’S IT!  Sure you could do more or less.  You could write a review any way you want. Check out how kids do it at The Spaghetti Book Club! The big idea isn’t HOW?…it’s WHEN?!!  When will you take a few minutes and go to the independent or big box bookstore or  the website where you purchased your copy and leave a quick, but important review?  We want to keep this authors “employed” and creating the books we love!

What if I can’t afford to buy the book?  No worries.  I try to be a book patron as often as possible, but my local library knows me by my first name.  I check out dozens and dozens of books a month.  I always make sure to tell the librarian about the books I love the most and that ensures they’ll be recommended to other patrons.  As I said, I’ve also been known to leave a post-it note or note card sticking out to grab readers’ attention, “Hey!  You should check _______ out!  You’ll love it!”

So now that you’ve read my soapbox spiel – click on over to Amazon and post a review for one of your favorite authors!  They deserve it!

What’s On My Book Radar?

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 9.00.11 AMSince the day I read A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, I knew I would pre-order any other book she would publish. Some writers help you visualize, Natalie makes you feel!  She creates characters that you want to befriend (or adopt!) Her writing is almost lyrical. I find myself rereading lines to taste them tripping across my tongue! Some may call it folksy, I find it charming.

The Key to Extraordinary  did not disappoint!! It is a joy to read. It is filled with imagery like this:

If God had a stethoscope, and if He held it up to this part of the dreary world to check for a heartbeat, I hope these are the sounds He’d hear: The sound of boots stomping rhythms out of the dust. The sounds of happy squeals and laughter when people spin out, nearly dizzy from joy. The sound of a scratchy voice, a thumping guitar, a plucky violin.  That’s what pure joy sounds like.”

When I came home from school last night and saw this book sitting on the kitchen counter, I ripped it open and dove right in.  Part of me wanted to slow down and savor it, but I just couldn’t. As I got into it, I was compelled to see what Emma’s Destiny Dream was, and how it was going to be realized. I wanted to see if the mysterious boy would ever speak again.  I had to know if they could save their family bakery, the Boneyard Cafe.  I was curious if the ghosts in their backyard cemetery were real. I needed to know what the key in her dream unlocked!

If you love stories with multi-generational families, compassionate characters, traditions, and eccentricity,  I think you will love it, too!  The Key to Extraordinary is extraordinary. It will satiate a hunger you didn’t even know you had!

Advertisements

Be a Part of nErDy Nation!

I am a proud citizen of nErDy Nation, a diverse group of educators, librarians, authors and lovers of books. We connect with one another to share our passion for kidlit and literacy via social media, national conventions, local workshops, and private get togethers.  My professional career and personal life has been transformed by these connections and I will be forever grateful.

12593456_856659967765825_1300580488915120539_o
#nErDcampNNE Committee 2016

This weekend was a classic example of the power of nErDy Nation. I attended #nErDcampNNE (Northern New England) that was put together by some of my very favorite nerds of all. Lesley Burnap, Jenn Chafin, Cathy Potter, Susan Dee, Natalee Stotz, and  Jason Lewis (left to right) worked diligently to host this EdCamp in Maine Even the winter storm that hit us hard couldn’t keep hundreds of nErDs from attending this fantastic “unconference”.

 

IMG_3131 - Version 2
nErDy Author Night

The weekend kicked off with a nErDy Author Night with 35 authors and illustrators from New England signing books and talking with their fans. Many drew illustrations, took selfies, and offered words of encouragement to future authors. The place was packed with students, parents, educators, and librarians who wanted to make connections with the writers and illustrators of the books they love. nErDcampNNE Author Illustrator Event

 

IMG_3196This similar event, last year, was where I linked up with many authors who helped me with my book CLOSE WRITING. They generously shared their thinking and their writing process with me so that I could bring those approaches to the classrooms in which I teach.  That never would have happened without being a part of nErDy Nation! I will be forever grateful to them, and to events like this which brought us together.  I feel so lucky to call them my friends as well as my colleagues. (Clockwise: Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Melissa Stewart, Tamra Wight, Jennifer Jacobson, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Cynthia Lord, and Lynn Plourde)

 

The next morning we braved the ice and snow to gather for our nErD Camp.  We generated an idea board of topics that people wanted to explore together. Rooms were assigned, facilitators were selected, and folks made their choices. The hardest part was trying to decide which sessions to attend, they were all so good! It was tough for me to miss some as I was presenting, but it was fantastic to share what I had been working on (Close Writing) with other passionate teachers.  Every question they asked deepened my thinking even more. When I could be a participant, I learned from authors sharing their craft and process and teachers who are incredibly innovative and dedicated. It was such an empowering experience.

Even with all of that great learning, one of the best things about the weekend was making new nErD friends and reconnecting with old ones.  It is the relationships we forge and nurture that makes life so rich and meaningful-both professionally and personally. By the time I got home I had dozens of new followers and friend requests on social media. I left with wonderful memories, learning, and friendships that  I know  will enrich my life in ways I can’t yet envision.

IMG_3198
Surround yourself with nErDs!!!

I encourage everyone to become a ‘citizen’ of nErDy Nation if they love books, love learning, and would love to be a part of something powerfully positive in their lives. You can get started here: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/ The Nerdy Book Club is where it all began!

nErDy Nation = Live, Love, Learn!

What’s on My Book Radar?

This past week the American Library Association hosted their Youth Media Awards. For many of us, this is a bigger awards ceremony than the Oscars or Tonys! I had my mock Caldecott and Newbery favorites and was anxious to hear their names called-it didn’t happen.  There were soooo many great books last year, I know these committees had some hard work to do.Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 9.48.37 AM

I think many of us were surprised that the Newbery was awarded to a picture book, but Last Stop on Market Street is about as close to perfect as a book can get in my opinion. Matt de la Pena’s use of colloquial language and positive message makes this book accessible and empowering to so many readers.  Though I was disappointed some of my favorites this year didn’t share in the honors, I was truly happy that Matt’s book not only won the Newbery, but was a Caldecott Honor book as well.

If you haven’t gotten a copy for your classroom yet, what are you waiting for?

Beyond Thankful

Since it is the eve of Thanksgiving and there are so many other tasks demanding my attention, my blog this week will be a simple gratitude journal.  I cannot possibly list all that I am thankful for, so I will focus on my time at NCTE in Minneapolis this past week.

I am thankful…

IMG_0413.jpg

…That I could bring a colleague.  Andrea made this experience so rich and meaningful.  I am lucky that I have such great teachers to collaborate with. I love my job, and the teachers who make it so rewarding.

 

 

…That I had a “dream team” for my panel presentation on Close Writing.

They each brought incredible insights to their close writing process and showed us that there is no “ONE RIGHT WAY” to be a writer.  Thank you to Sarah Albee, Linda Urban, Lester Laminack, Kate Messner, and Selene Castrovilla.  Andrea and I learned so much from you all.

…That I got to meet the authors who have touched my life so profoundly.

Katherine Applegate brought me to tears with the story of The One and Only Ivan and her latest incredible book Crenshaw. Kate DiCamillo has brought a bit of magic to every story she’s written. I have been a fan since Because of Winn Dixie and haven’t stopped loving her work.  Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the most compassionate author I know and can call friend. Her books One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree are must-reads for every teacher.  They allow us to see our students in profound ways -and now that I know how much they reflect the heart of this author, they are even more special. And Cynthia Lord is a true gift to kid lit lovers.  Her books Rules, Touch Blue, Half a Chance and  A Handful of Stars bring the stories of ordinary children with very real problems to life for our students in ways that help them know they are not alone-that someone understands.

 

…That I got a chance to connect with those Nerdy Book Club peeps

that feed my soul (and my Amazon cart!) with their passion for kid lit.  Colby Sharp, John Schumacher (Mr. Schu), and Donalyn Miller (the Book Whisperer) have so much energy and knowledge.  It was truly infectious!

…That I learned from some amazing authors and educators at panels and

roundtables.  I tried to take photos, and notes, and sketches as fast and furious as I could at times, and at other times I just ‘absorbed’ the experience and savored the moment.

…and finally I am incredibly thankful for the people at Stenhouse who helped me put my ideas into a book that will be out next month.

To say it was a surreal experience would be the understatement of my life. When I saw the lineup of authors to meet and chat at the Stenhouse booth I was blown away.   I am mindful of the quote,

“To those whom much is given, much is expected.”

I will strive to give back to the degree that I am given, to be humbled and grateful by the experiences I am fortunate to have, and to remember to thank those who have been a light in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

What’s On My Book Radar?

IMG_0811.jpg

 

I was able to get the most recent “True Story” fairy tale adventure from Liesl Shurtliff.  RED: The True Story of Red Riding Hood.  This fantastical tale was my companion for the plane ride home.  I love the twists and turns of re-imagined fairy tales-Liesl has a wonderful way of bringing fresh insights to old and familiar tales.  Look for this book April of 2016!

 

Share Our Book Love!

I love books.  I love reading.  I love so many authors.

z-Middle-Grade-Book-PileSometimes this is referred to as Book Love (thanks for that term, Penny Kittle).  Many of my friends have Book Love, too.  How do I know?  Because they share it!  Sometimes in person, but more often on social media. There are Facebook posts and groups.  There are Twitter chats and hashtags.  There are Instagram pics and Vine videos.  I have surrounded myself with Book Love.

I try to share my Book Love as well as receive it (A huge thank you to my Nerdy Book Club friends).

Last week one of my favorite authors, Gae Polisner, (The Pull of Gravity, The Summer of Letting Go) reminded me, as I read her blog, about the importance of book reviews to authors. Click below.

Tuesday Feedback: A Little Conversation about Book Reviews Starring YOU

Her message was that authors need us to keep them in the public eye.  Sharing our favorite books on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr will inform our friends and followers.  But how can we expand our Book Love beyond our relatively small circle?  How can we support those authors we love so they can continue their writing careers and bring us even more Book Love??

Our reviews on sites like Goodreads will certainly expand our influence and love, but sites like Amazon have a much stronger impact for sales of books.  THAT is the ultimate way we support our favorite authors.  Love a book?  Let others know!! Don’t know how to post an Amazon review?  Go here.  Don’t worry about sounding like an editorial reviewer from Kirkus, New York Times, Booklist, or School Library Journal. The length and quality aren’t as important as the willingness to do it! Here are a few quick tips for posting reviews for the books you love!

  • (This book) is about brief synopsis (but I think it’s really about)what it means to you. (Your review  doesn’t require a complete retelling-editorial reviewers have already done that! What is this book about for YOU?)
  • If you like_____________this book is for you! Who would like this book?  Who would be a target audience? Why would they enjoy it?
  • I really liked ______________ . Were the characters compelling?  Was the writing engaging?  Was it humorous? Suspenseful? Realistic? Heartwarming? Mention one or two things about the book that made it memorable for you.
  • Mention the author’s name (and illustrator).  Remind readers of the person behind those words who pounded out that plot, those characters, that dialogue, those facts and worked their bums off. Books don’t just happen, someone dreams them and brings them to life-we need to honor that!

THAT’S IT!  Sure you could do more or less.  You could write a review any way you want. Check out how kids do it at The Spaghetti Book Club! The big idea isn’t HOW?…it’s WHEN?!!  When will you take a few minutes and go to the independent or big box bookstore or  the website where you purchased your copy and leave a quick, but important review?  We want to keep this authors “employed” and creating the books we love!

What if I can’t afford to buy the book?  No worries.  I try to be a book patron as often as possible, but my local library knows me by my first name.  I check out dozens and dozens of books a month.  I always make sure to tell the librarian about the books I love the most and that ensures they’ll be recommended to other patrons.  I’ve also been known to leave a post-it note or note card sticking out to grab readers’ attention, “Hey!  You should check _______ out!  You’ll love it!”

So now that you’ve read my soapbox spiel – click on over to Amazon and post a review for one of your favorite authors!  They deserve it!

What’s on My Book Radar?

These two books are my contenders for Caldecott and Newbery awards so far!  Both are brilliant and imaginative.

23309640A little boy creates a boat out of newspaper and takes it out for a day’s adventure.  When the boat rushes away and down a gutter he goes on a hunt for his beloved boat.  I won’t tell you what happens-you’ll have to check out this gem for yourself.  I was so reminded of Ezra Jack Keats’ work as I savored this amazing book by Daniel Miyares.

23281919Cassie Beasley’s debut novel is like a cross between Water for Elephants and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-it’s FANTASTIC!! Micah’s grandfather Ephraim is on the verge of death and has shared with Micah his mysterious tales of Circus Mirandus.  He offers that the Lightbender from the circus owes him a miracle, and so Micah is determined to find the man he believes can save his grandfather.  This would be a fantastic read aloud in any middle grade classroom and a perfect gift for anyone who would like a little more “magic” in their lives!

HAPPY READING!

Book-A-Day 2014

Hey All You Nerdy Book Club teachers or just Nerdy Readers…You are probably out of school by  now (even if you live in Maine)!  It’s time to think about the Sixth Annual Book-A-Day 1621704_667566729951571_1638043617_nChallenge!  

Established by Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer), it began as her public commitment to continue reading and sharing books with other readers all summer long.  The goal is to read one book a day, each day and post about it.  Sounds daunting at first, but her rules are simple…

  • You set your own start date and end date.
  • Read one book per day for each day of summer vacation. This is an average, so if you read three books in one day (I know you’ve done this!) and none the next two, it still counts.
  • Any book qualifies including picture books, nonfiction, professional books, audio books, graphic novels, poetry anthologies, or fiction—children’s, youth, or adult titles.
  • Keep a list of the books you read and share them often via a social networking site like Goodreads or Twitter (post using the #bookaday hashtag), a blog, or Facebook page. You do not have to post reviews, but you can if you wish. Titles will do.

 

So as you can see…ANY book qualifies.  I couldn’t possibly do it without a cache of picture books on hand, books I might not otherwise check out…  I learned some really fun things like:    Every major league baseball is treated with something very common yet very secretive!  10303374_10204293324792974_5521659285391223163_nOR  A major concert artist gave a performance at a D.C. metro stop and the reaction was surprising!10439432_10204252689937128_548567021298871530_n

I am savoring some YA books I’ve been waiting to read…

looking-for-alaska 18267071

And diving into an engaging “Not This, But That” series that includes titles such as:9780325049045 9780325051147 9780325049038

The only thing keeping the volume of reading down for me this summer, is a new goal of writing everyday.  Immersing myself in this new venture has been exciting, exhausting and sometimes frustrating.  Being able to relax and escape back into a book has taken on a whole new importance!

So I’ll throw down the gauntlet to my friends and followers.  Can YOU read a book a day?  Give it a try, it’s a challenge I think you’ll enjoy!  If you want to post, use the hashtag #BookaDay on your favorite social media site.

 

Happy Reading!!

nErDcampNNE

IMG_5117This past weekend I attended the most amazing professional development!  Created BY teachers, FOR teachers, WITH teachers this “Unconference” in Biddeford, Maine was tailor made for everyone! Dubbed nErDcamp Northern New England (nErDcampNNE) was inspired by nErDcamp Battle Creek which was created by Colby Sharp

So what was nErDcamp?  From their blog  I found, “nErDcamp is an “unconference” modeled after edcamp but the focus is on literacy. An “unconference” means that participants decide which topics will be explored. During the first half hour we will fill a session board with different topics generated from participants. Participants decide which sessions they wish to attend. You are encouraged to move to another session if you are attending one that isn’t working for you. Some sessions may be led by participants who want to share a strategy, tool or idea that has worked for them (ex: Using Evernote in the classroom). Other sessions may be more like round table discussions in which participants discuss and share ideas on a topic (ex: How to engage reluctant readers).”

I HAD to try this!

The evening before the conference the organizers held a Nerdy Evening with the Authors and Illustrators at a local library.  Children’s book and YA authors from Maine and beyond came to greet children, families, teachers and fans.  Talk about an opportunity to network!  Some authors discussed skyping with our classrooms and connecting via Twitter as ways to reach their young audiences.  They all took time to talk and sign books.

I had the good fortune to meet:

Ed Briant, Kate Egan, Cynthia Lord, Lynn Plourde, Megan Frazer Blakemore, Cathryn Falwell, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, J.E. Thompson, Gail Donovan, Kevin Hawkes, Sashi Kaufman and Lisa Jahn-Clough all in one place!

IMG_5115Having a blast with Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Lynn Plourde and Cynthia Lord.

The next day, I joined educators from around the state (and beyond) to create our own conference.  Susan Dee (incredible Biddeford educator) facilitated the auditorium audience as we chose topics and created a Google Doc for sessions.  People volunteered to facilitate sessions and others to take notes to capture the essence and resources in the discussions.   We all headed off to our assigned rooms and immersed ourselves in rich discussions, abundant resources and tons of tips!  I found myself checking out notes being created in other sessions I wanted to attend, wishing I could clone myself to be in more than one at a time!

IMG_5128Susan Dee, kicking off the event and facilitating the session development

We learned how to motivate ‘striving’ readers and writers, incorporate technology more easily into our classrooms, build our booklist of ‘must haves’, connect with authors, organize better book clubs…and more!

IMG_5145Authors Julie Falatko, Megan Frazer Blakemore and Lynn Plourde facilitated a session on ‘Making Writing Visible’

We took charge of our own learning!  Creating our own professional development with a “tribe” of open minded and supportive educators was so empowering!  We made connections with others that will go far beyond the one day event and it was FREE!!!!

IMG_5164Teachers browsing the incredible amount of freebies the committee organized for attendees.

So if your district, region or state is interested in creating their own edcamp they could post questions or comments on twitter #nErDcampNNE, follow their nErDcampNNE Blog, check out Colby Sharp’s nErDcamp in Michigan or follow Susan and the other nErDcamp team on twitter.

IMG_5168The amazing nErDcampNNE committee:  (front) Cathy Potter, Susan Dee, Mary Lou Shuster, (back)Jennifer Felt, Kate Sullivan, Chris Pirkl, Gigi McAllister, Justin Stygles

What’s on my Book Radar?

9780325050843Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts have put together a superb book that provides us lessons beyond literacy learning in the classroom that will give readers a greater appreciation for the literate the world around us.  Close reading is a real buzz word these days, I would recommend this book for teachers trying to encourage deeper thinking within the “4 corners of the page” and beyond. I think you’ll definitely fall in love with it!

I’ve also got to dive into all the books I had signed at the Nerdy Evening With the Authors!IMG_5252

Autographed books by Kevin Hawkes, Cynthia Lord, Lynn Plourde, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Gail Donovan and Lisa Jahn-Clough

Happy Reading, all you nerds!

#BookaDay

IMG_4645School vacation this Christmas in Maine has been one for the books.  As I write this, many of my friends are going on Day 4 with no power.  An ice storm hit the central part of our state leaving many of us in the dark and cold. I was one of the lucky ones who had power restored after a day, just enough time to have a taste for ‘the good old days’.  With no electronics (other than an iPhone) my options for entertainment were seriously scaled back.  Luckily, one of my favorite activities requires no more power than a candle puts out…READING.  I had already signed on for the #BookaDay Challenge and so I snuggled up with my dogs, cats, blankets and fireplace with some good books.

IMG_4515

It’s not too late to join in on the Book a Day Challenge.  There are no parameters for what books you have to read.  You set your own start and stop.  You choose whatever books you want to read: professional, picture books, YA, adult, nonfiction, poetry anthologies, etc.  It’s an average so if it takes you a few days to read a novel, you could add in some shorter books on other days.  If you are interested in some of the best picture books of 2013 you might want to check out The Nerdy Book Club’s 2013 Fiction Picture Book Winners.  

So just start reading and if you are on Twitter just use the hashtag #bookaday to post what you are reading.  If you are on Facebook you could post there as well.  You could also post in my comments section what you are reading and any recommendations!  It’s just a great time to read and build up a reading community!

A reminder-there are so many holiday books that we bring out for our families.  They are like time capsules that we revisit for a short time each December.  Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean we have to put them away immediately.  Spend some time with these ‘old friends’ this week.  Take pics of your kiddos reading to capture these moments in time…they grow up so fast!  Create memories around books that will stay with your family forever.

P1020987 P1020996[1] P1030049

What’s on My Book Radar?

IMG_4586

I’m getting caught up on some of my picture book reading.  With the Caldecott’s being awarded next month I wanted to read some of the books getting buzz right now.  These were available at my local library and I have many more ordered up on reserve.

Here are some book trailers and information to invite you into these wonderful books!  Feel free to comment on books you think should be considered for Caldecott Awards this January!

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Hello, Hello by Matthew Cordell

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub

A Splash of Red by Jen Bryant

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola Schaefer

You can find me on Twitter @LitCoachLady or on Facebook at LitCoachCorner

HAPPY READING!

25 Book Challenge

How about a New Year’s Resolution that doesn’t require us to give up food and drink we love?  What about a resolution that increases opportunity for what we love and spreads that passion to others?  Sound good?  The 25 Book Challenge might be just what you and your classroom need!

Children get better at reading BY reading.IMG_4426

The research shows that children who read more have higher vocabularies, score better on standardized tests, show greater verbal intelligence, demonstrate greater declarative knowledge, have expanded world knowledge, improved memories, have reduced stress and increased empathy.*

So HOW do we get our students to beHIGH VOLUME readers?

1.      It becomes the expectation.
2.      We create the conditions to make it happen.

IMG_4422

The Expectation

If we really want our students to develop lifelong love of reading they need to develop reading habits.  In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examined what factors led to high levels of success. From his research he hypothesized the “10,000 Hour Rule”.  His claim was that the key to success was practicing a task for at least 10,000 hours.  (That’s 600,000 minutes)  If our students only read 20 minutes a day it would take them 30,000 days to meet his criteria (82 years!). If they read for 2 hours a day it would only take 5,000 days! That’s about 13 ½ years.  Just about the amount of time we have children in public school.

2 hours a day is not unreasonable for most of our kids, IF we have time in our school days devoted to immersion in reading.  I’m not talking the old model of ‘the book flood’ where you just have books available and reading takes place through osmosis.  But time with REAL reading tasks could replace some of the isolated skill work students are sometimes asked to do.  Reading aloud to our students EVERY day would be part of this time.

Time can be difficult to track however.  Unless you have a stopwatch with start and stop and recording features it becomes cumbersome to log the minutes spent reading each day.  What IS easy, is tracking the number of books you read.  This is something your students can do independently. Setting a high expectation for volume reading IS a reasonable goal for teachers to have for their students, we need to find ways to help students rise to our expectations.

IMG_4046

WHY 25 or 40?

Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) requires her students to read 40 books each year. We don’t have a complete school year left, so 25 books is somewhat arbitrary, but the reasoning is consistent.  We have about 20 weeks of school left starting in January.  That is asking students to read about 1 book a week and then 5 more.  If a student reads a particularly long book one week, he or she could read a few shorter books the next.  Some students may say, “ha…that’s easy, I’m going to read 40 picture books.”  I’d say, “GREAT! That’s 40 books you probably never would have given the time of day.”  I also believe that when they see the books their peers are reading, that they will diversify their selections.  The goal is attainable for all if we set up the conditions for success.

The Conditions

How do we create conditions to promote success?   Here are what I think are essential elements we need to consider  to help  our students become HIGH VOLUME readers this year.

1.    Have LOTS, and LOTS, and LOTS of books available for your students. 
2.     Have LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of time for reading (during the school day!)
3.    Have a manageable accountability system.
4.    Promote an environment that is PASSIONATE about reading-                                                                                       LOTS, and LOTS, and LOTS of passion!

IMG_4423

How you do this is as varied as there are classrooms in this country, but I’ve put together a unit with ideas that might help.  Clink here 25 Book Challenge for the unit.   I would also encourage you to read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and Igniting a Passion for Reading by Stephen Layne for more inspiration and ideas.

I would LOVE to hear how you have ignited a passion for high volume reading in your schools.  Please leave ideas, suggestions or questions in the comments section.

 

* Research References

What’s on My Book Radar?

With Christmas vacation coming up, I have already reserved a pile of books from my local library.  I am going with these Nerdy Book Club Recommendations:Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.59.02 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.59.59 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.58.07 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 1.01.32 PM

The 2013 Nerdy Award Ballots are out!  You have until Saturday Dec. 21st at 11:59 pm to vote.  Here’s the link the Nerdy Award Ballots so you can weigh in your favs this year!