It’s Monday! What Are YOU Reading?

Happy “New Year” to all my colleagues heading back to school this week! I am excited to share my summer reads list with colleagues and students and I can’t wait to hear all about theirs!

Here’s a snapshot of how I’ve spent my reading week…

I’ve recently picked up a text again that I bought last spring, the second edition of “Apprenticeship in Literacy: Transitions Across Reading and Writing, K-4” by Dorn & Jones.

I was a fan of the first edition and it was a foundational text in my coaching training six years ago. I’m happy to report that I’m an even BIGGER fan of the new edition! Dorn and Jones have expanded their work to include middle grade learning through grade four. This is fantastic news for those of us looking to bridge their great work in the first edition if AIL and Dorn & Soffos’ text, Teaching For Deep Comprehension, which is aimed at older students’ literacy development.
AIL’s new edition is so much more comprehensive in its scope and sequence and I was delighted to see the importance they placed on instructional language.


I’m also reading “Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein.

This is going to be a great addition to libraries everywhere! The main character, Kyle Keeley is a 12-year-old who’d rather spend his time playing games (board, video, and otherwise!) than reading. But after getting grounded, Kyle figures winning the essay contest to spend a night in his town’s new high-tech library could be just the ticket to getting some of his screen time back.

The literary references abound in this fantastic tale of mystery and whimsy, as Kyle must work with the other kids in the library to solve puzzles and clues in order to get OUT of the library.  I’m only 11 chapters in, but so far it feels to me like a cross between Jester’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” and Dahl’s “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.”  Secretly, I would love to create some events/activities for upper elementary readers around this book… (library sleepover, anyone?!)

I can’t wait to see how it ends!!!

Happy Reading, Everyone!


Picture Books Galore!

Have I mentioned what a great source of professional development Twitter is?!? This is my latest proof…

As I was reading through recent tweets from folks I follow and I found an interesting hashtag: #PB10for10.


The premise: Choose the 10 top picture books you just can’t live (or teach) without and post them online on August 10! Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere are the creators of this fun event and, had I not been on the road at the end of a two-week vacation, I would have posted my choices on Saturday instead of today… but alas, I-81 does not have wifi 🙂

Here are my can’t-live-without picture book choices for this year… (in no particular order)



ANY Pete The Cat book is sure to delight kids and will leave catchy songs stuck in your head for days!  My third graders’ two favorites are Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.



Teachers or parents, do you have a reluctant writer on your hands? This book is for you! Author Abby Hanlon writes this humorous narrative about Ralph, a writer who can’t find a good idea about which to write a story.  It seems, to Ralph, that everyone else can write great stories about anything, but he thinks all his ideas won’t make good stories at all.  Ultimately, Ralph overcomes his writer’s block in a most amusing way!



Jon Klassen has followed up his hit, “I Want My Hat Back” with this year’s Caldecott winner, “This Is Not My Hat.” When I first shared this with my students during the week that the Caldecott Award was to be decided, I read it to them without showing them the illustrations.  One student’s response captured my purpose perfectly.  She said, “I really hope there are some awesome pictures in this book because the words don’t paint a very good picture in my head!”  Enter reading #2 –with pictures!  I can’t accurately describe the level of emotion that was created as students took an underwater journey with a smll fish and a stolen hat… If you’re looking for a great example of how illustrations can carry a strong message in a book, this is it!



As picture book biographies go, this one is a must!  The true story of Wilma Rudolph and her life before she became the fastest woman in the world is sure to engage readers of all ages.  This is a book that I have used in the classroom for several years and students continue to be amazed at her tenacity, perseverance, and courage.  I would recommend sharing this as a read aloud in two separate periods with younger readers, due to the length of the text.



I discovered this book by recommendation of my friend, Jessika Sheldrick, an amazing  2nd grade teacher in our district.  Teachers know just how important swift and efficient transitions are to the structure and seamlessness of the school day.  Jessika expertly uses this book to her benefit when it comes to transitions.  This text, which shows many different types of quiet, can be used to facilitate transitions very effectively. For example, imagine asking your students to go back to their seats with “lollipop” quiet or “pretending you’re invisible” quiet, or even “right before you yell surprise” quiet!  So fun!  A word to the wise, however- the follow-up to this one is The Loud Book! 😉



I have always been a fan of Patricia Polacco and “Thank You, Mr. Falker” is one of my absolute favorites! A modern classic, this book tells the true story of young Tricia and her struggle as a student.  If you’ve ever had that ONE teacher who made a difference in your life, you’ll love this heartwarming story! CAUTION: I can never get all the way through it without my voice cracking! 😉



A new favorite that I introduced to my class last year and will continue to recommend is Peter Reynold’s “The Dot.” I can totally relate to this book because my artistic ability is well, less than stellar.  The main character, Vashti, feels the same way until her teacher encourages her and a small dot leads to great inspiration!  A great gift for the art teachers in your life, too!  NOTE: International Dot Day is September 15th!

My last 3 picks for my PB10for10 this year are all by the same author, Lester Laminack.

Image Imageand finally…


Two words: Read them!
You won’t regret it! I’ve had the privilege to hear him speak several times. Lester’s ability to tell a story is amazing! I would also recommend any and all of his professional development books for teachers.

So that’s it for this year’s PB10for10! I look forward to your comments and perhaps hearing what YOUR picks would be if you had to narrow it down to just ten!