Category Archives: reading

The Eye of the Falcon – 3rd in Gods and Warriors series – Michelle Paver

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The Eye of the FalconThe Eye of the Falcon by Michelle Paver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michelle Paver keeps me involved and interested in her stories always. I have read all the Wolf Brother series and loved them and now here is another series this time set after Wolf Brother in the Bronze Age. In this 3rd book of the series, we get to find out what happened to Pirra, after she was forced back to Keftui by Hylas, who did it to protect her. Also we see what happened to the lion cub Havoc, who was on the ship with Pirra, going to Keftui. And we meet Echo, the baby falcon, who seems to have a link with Pirra. At the end, you are left with more questions as Pirra's slave, Userref leaves for Egypt, taking the dagger of Koronos with him to destroy.

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Dandelion Fire – 2nd book in 100 Cupboards series by ND Wilson

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Dandelion Fire (100 Cupboards, #2)Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Henry York's life threatening adventures continue from his bedroom with the 100 doors that lead to different lands. He really doesn't want to go back to his 'parents' particularly now he knows they are not his real parents. But it seems there is no choice, unless he goes through one of the doors....and he wants to know where he has come from, who his family are. Following that trail leads him into all sorts of trouble, and cousin Henrietta goes off as well, leaving her dad behind to work out what to do and how to find these 2 lost children.

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Book Week 2014 – Connect to Reading

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Now we have 2 weeks until the end of term, my thought turn to next term’s curriculum. And Book Week, the big focus for term 3 in school libraries in Australia. I will be reading each of the early childhood and most of the picture fiction  books with the year prep-2 and am planning to create another blog to share our reflections on each book with our other campus at Malvern. This will complement the Book Week theme for 2014, which is Connect to Reading.

I have come across a few good websites that have activities and ideas for Book Week and have listed them here.

Book Week activities – Book Chook – http://www.thebookchook.com/2014/05/activities-for-childrens-book-week-2014.html

Book Week – Mrs. Mac’s Library – http://www.mrsmacslibrary.com/book-week-2014.html

Book Week – what you should read – idea for  me to  use as a basis for my Book Week blog…..http://www.sji.edu.sg/snews/2014/03/book-week-2014-what-should-you-read-from-the-school-staff/   – get staff involved as well as students.

title
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur
author/illustrator
Brian, Janeen
Ill. Ann James
publisher
Puffin Books, Penguin Group (Australia)
isbn
9780670076154
title
Baby Bedtime
author/illustrator
Fox, Mem
Ill. Emma Quay
publisher
Viking, Penguin Group (Australia)
isbn
9780670075195
title
Banjo and Ruby Red
author/illustrator
Gleeson, Libby
Ill. Freya Blackwood
publisher
Little Hare, Hardie Grant Egmont
isbn
9781921541087
title
Kissed by the Moon
author/illustrator
Lester, Alison
publisher
Viking, Penguin Group (Australia)
isbn
9780670076758
title
The Swap
author/illustrator
Ormerod, Jan
Ill. Andrew Joyner
publisher
Little Hare, Hardie Grant Egmont
isbn
9781921541414
title
Granny Grommet and Me
author/illustrator
Wolfer, Dianne
Ill. Karen Blair
publisher
Walker Books Australia
isbn
9781921720161
title
The Treasure Box
author/illustrator
Blackwood, Freya
Text. Margaret Wild
publisher
Puffin Books, Penguin Group (Australia)
isbn
9780670073658
title
King Pig
author/illustrator
Bland, Nick
publisher
Scholastic Press, Scholastic Australia
isbn
9781742834955
title
Silver Buttons
author/illustrator
Graham, Bob
publisher
Walker Books Australia
isbn
9781406342246
title
Parachute
author/illustrator
Ottley, Matt
Text. Danny Parker
publisher
Little Hare, Hardie Grant Egmont
isbn
9781921894206
title
The Windy Farm
author/illustrator
Smith, Craig
Text. Doug MacLeod
publisher
Working Title Press
isbn
9781921504419
title
Rules of Summer
author/illustrator
Tan, Shaun
publisher
Hachette Australia
isbn
9780734410672

The six elements of effective reading instruction – article

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Although this article clearly has a political agenda, the clear stating of the 6 main parts of effective reading instruction tie in nicely with Donalyn Miller’s 5 characteristics of ‘wild’ or lifelong readers, from the book ‘Reading in the Wild’ which I blogged about in April.

1. Every child reads something he or she chooses.

2. Every child reads accurately.

3. Every child reads something he or she understands.

4. Every child writes about something personally meaningful.

5. Every child talks with peers about reading and writing.

6. Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud.

This last part – listening to a fluent adult read aloud is something that Miller didn’t list, but perhaps that is because her characteristics were based on her observation of adult readers, as opposed to students.

Anyhow, read the article for yourself and see what you think…

Every Child, Every Day  by Richard L. Allington and Rachael E. Gabriel

Using PhotoStream to help build a community of readers

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In a previous post (14/April – The Book Whisperer), I shared how I had read a book by Donalyn Miller, called Reading in the Wild.

She lists 5 things that lifelong readers (or wild readers, as she calls them) do.
One of these is to be part of a reading community, where you can share what books you have read – to inspire others  – and hear about what others in that community are reading – to be inspired  – and to add to another of Miller’s lifelong readers’ behaviours – add to your reading plan, which is the list of books you want to read.

As I no longer have the year 5 and 6 classes for a stand alone library session, one of the things that I feel they are missing out on is this ‘reading community’. So how to achieve it when I am not seeing the classes regularly in the library to talk about books I have read and give the students a safe forum to share their reading as well.

Miller uses GoodReads, an online reading community, to connect her middle school students to a wider reading community. With primary age children, this open access to the www could be a problem in terms of keeping an eye on what they are accessing.

So, one of my colleagues came up with the idea of using PhotoStream. As all the year 5 and 6’s have their own iPads, this is a great way to use it.

I set up a photo stream, 5J Reading, and individually invited each class member, by email, to join the stream. So only people who are invited can access it.

 

 

I took a photo of a Tashi book I had just read to my year 1 classes and wrote a few words about why it was such a good story and posted it. This is so easy to do. Then the other members of the 5J PhotoStream can get on and ‘like’ my comments or comment themselves back so it is possible to get some to and fro happening between members.

I only set this up on Thursday of last week, so I’m not sure how successful it will be. Will the year 5’s post and will they comment? Of course, they can do these things whenever it suits them, ie. at school or at home, which is a positive, I think.

The Science teacher at school has just started using Photostream to give feedback to the year 5’s on their work. When they complete their science work, she asks them to take a picture of it and post it on the PhotoStream, with comments and she can reply back with – yes you are on the right track, or ahhh, what does this mean? is this what we talked about in class? – more immediate feedback and she likes it, because she doesn’t have to lug 27 bits of paper from school to home and back. It is all there on her iPad and easily worked on at home.

I have told the other year 5 and 6 classroom teachers about it so hopefully, they will want to get on board with this as well and we can create 4 ‘reading communities’ – to inspire and be inspired by reading and books.

Re-posting: Using #HatBack to Teach Point of View from Colby Sharp

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I’m not sure how to re-blog a post from email, so when I saw this in my inbox, I wasn’t sure of the etiquette and even method of adding it. So I have copied the URL to share with you.

This particular topic, of encouraging young students to be able to think from different points of view, was a skill that the year 2’s are going to tackle in the coming weeks. I was talking with the year 2 teachers and their idea was to use fractured fairytales, because these stories are often the fairytale, but from another point of view, eg. the wolf in the 3 Little Pigs, the bad fairy in Sleeping Beauty …you get the idea.
This afternoon, I got this email fresh off Colby Sharp’s blog, who is a 3rd grade classroom teacher.
He has used the picture book ‘I Want My Hat back’ and also ‘This is Not my Hat’ (which is quite a funny and quirky story), both by Jon Klassen, to develop his students understanding of point of view and then using this knowledge  to create their own story. Click on the image for the link to his excellent blog post which lays out how he went about this in his classroom.

 

What types of ebooks are best for young readers?

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In my 26th April post( that I re-blogged), the writer states that for adults, reading ebooks means you can read more books.People who read ebooks, read more.

There is not the hassle or inconvenience of getting hold of the next book. You can buy and download it online at 12 pm, if that is when it suits you, not wait for the library or bookstore to open or even wait for the book to arrive in the post.

For developing readers, it seems the story may be different. This article

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asks the question…

Could e-books actually get in the way of reading?

‘That was the question explored in research presented last week by Heather Ruetschlin Schugar, an associate professor at West Chester University, and her spouse Jordan T. Schugar, an instructor at the same institution.’

A couple of ideas in the article certainly rang bells with me and my experience at school, with 4-12 year olds.

*It seems that the very “richness” of the multimedia environment that e-books provide—touted as their advantage over printed books—may actually overwhelm kids’ limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply.

*They advise parents and teachers to look for e-books that enhance and extend interactions with the text, rather than those that offer only distractions; that promote interactions that are relatively brief rather than time-consuming; that provide supports for making text-based inferences or understanding difficult vocabulary; and that locate interactions on the same page as the text display, rather than on a separate screen.

*While we may assume that interactive e-books can entertain children all by themselves, it turns out that such products require more input from us than books on paper do…… (as adults need to help beginning and developing readers learn how to navigate around the book and also to not over-use the ‘read-to-me’ option)

Certainly made me think about my use of ebooks with classes, as I promote our ebook and eaudiobook collection and sometime share an ebook with the kindergarten classes.

Recommended ebooks from the author of the above article – MindShift –

For beginning readers

Blue Hat, Green Hat, by Sandra Boynton

Go Clifford, Go!, by Norman Bridwell

Meet Biscuit, by Alyssa Capucilli

Nickelby Swift, Kitten Catastrophe, by Ben Hecht

Miss Spider’s Tea Party, by David Kirk

A Fine Musician, by Lucy Thomson

For fluent readers

Slice of Bread Goes to the Beach, by Glenn Melenhorst

Who Would Win? Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark, by Jerry Pallotta

Wild About Books, by Judy Sierra

The Artifacts, by Lynley Stace and Dan Hare

 

I can recommend Miss Spiders Tea party. I have showed it to my classes of pre-preps last year and they loved it! It is also very well done.

 

Could ebooks actually get in the way of reading?

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Part of this article, reporting on the research by 2 professors into middle school students and what they get from reading traditional texts vs ebooks, rang a bell with me.

‘While young readers find these digital products very appealing, their multitude of features may diffuse children’s attention, interfering with their comprehension of the text, Smith and the Schugars found. It seems that the very “richness” of the multimedia environment that e-books provide—touted as their advantage over printed books—may actually overwhelm kids’ limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply.’

I have recently bought a Mac, as our school is very much becoming a Mac school and I wanted to be able to play around  with the technology at home, and try out programs like IBook Author. Plus I have made ebooks on Creative Book Builder with my library classes and also used ebook apps with my kinder library classes. And I spruik our school library’s ebook collection on Borrowbox!! So I have a fair bit to do with encouraging my students to have a go at ebooks in their different forms.

So the comment above has made me stop and think…certainly, I feel, as a teacher, that to be doing a good job, I need to keep up with the latest and greatest technology, to engage children, to enter into their world. And ebooks are part of that world.

Maybe they should not be seen as the future of books and I should continue to be circumspect in my showcasing of them – having lots of bells and whistles is not always a good thing, particularly for younger, developing readers.

Thanks, Heather and Jordan and Smith and for the thought.