I'm not sure about you, but sometimes I struggle to balance all of the reading I want to do. I love to read and I love to read a wide variety of things and therein lies the rub. There's personal reading, professional reading, children's book reading, YA novel reading and so much more. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all (well, and be semi-productive)! The easiest books for me are children's books, since I have two young girls and teach at an elementary school. They're shorter too, so that's a bonus. I find it harder to squeeze in the personal and professional reading. Especially professional; sometimes I'm just too tired, you know?
Recently, however, I picked up (actually, downloaded. Hooray Kindle app!) a copy of Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild. What a great read! More mass-market non-fiction (think Malcolm Gladwell) than teacher resource book, Reading in the Wild feels rather like sitting in the corner of Miller's room, watching how she cultivates lifelong readers and asking a few questions along the way. I loved that this book was so easy to read and not interrupted with lesson plans, blackline masters and the like (don't get me wrong, there is definitely a place for those types of books, it's just not usually on my nightstand) and that the tone was more conversational than it was instructive. I was inspired every time I picked the book up and had thoughts on how to use some of her strategies running through my head long after I put it down. I particularly liked the ease with which her students discuss authors, genres and their preferences and how her passion for books and reading rubs off on her students (something I also notice on Carrie Gelson's blog the other day. Well done, Carrie! Check it out here). Her passion rubbed off on me too and with any luck, I'll be able to pass it on to my students!
As a total aside - Does anyone else find it so much easier to highlight and mark up an e-book than a paper book? It is deeply engrained in me that you don't write in books so I feel so free when I have the Kindle version. Not quite the same feel in your hands but, man, can I go to town with that highlighter!
When I Grow Up (Al Yankovic) - For those of you around a similar age, how hard is it not to immediately preface this man's name with "Weird"? It actually sounds wrong without it! Grown up, even. This fun little gem of a book reminds me a lot of Jamie Lee Curtis's books (see my post about My Brave Year of Firsts here) and I must admit that I am a sucker for these fun rhyming books that don't take themselves too seriously yet always seem to have message in them (often aimed as much at the adult reader as the child). This book will have your little ones laughing out loud and making connections left, right and center as they hear about all of the possible careers (gorilla masseuse? professional pickle inspector?) young Billy envisions for himself. Definitely some fun writing tie-ins to be found here! The ending is sweet, with a reminder to both young and old not to grow up too fast. Here's the trailer, read by Weird Al himself:
Finally, to round out the collection of personal, professional, picture and YA books, I thought I would share with you the book that I am currently reading. Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper came so highly recommended from a number of sources (including other IMWAYR bloggers) that I just had to read it. This poignant story is told through the eyes of a young girl who is very intelligent but unable to communicate in any way due to cerebral palsy. I'm fairly early on in the book right now, but from what I've read so far this book deserves all the accolades it's received. What an incredibly fascinating peek inside the mind of those students who struggle to share their story with us. I look forward to finishing it!
Oh, and while I've got you here, any suggestions for a group of Gr. 6 students who claim not to be interested in reading anything? We have tried many of the standards but so far nothing has grabbed them. What are your must-reads for that age group? What do your students love? Thanks for helping us out!
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about literacy, collaborative teaching and finding new and innovative ways to engage & motivate all kids. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!