It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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As always, be sure to check out the Teach.Mentor.Text and Unleashing Readers blogs by Jen & Kelly, the creators of this meme, for other bloggers participating in “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”

I am so excited to share with you what I’ve been reading this week! One of my favorite (and my students’ favorite!) authors had a “book birthday” on Thursday! Ame Dyckman, author of “Boy + Bot,” released her second picture book, “Tea Party Rules” and I have been so anxious to read it.

Tea Party Rules

A wayward bear cub’s nose leads him to some yummy cookies and a young girl’s backyard tea party.  Cub quickly realizes that there are certain rules- tea party rules- that he must follow. Will Cub comply with the girl’s code of conduct in order to snag the delicious treats or is it all too much for him to bear? (ok, pun intended!) The illustrator, K.G. Campbell, uses wonderful pastel hues done in colored pencil which contribute greatly to the mood of this lighthearted tale.

Tea Party Rules is a delightfully giggly book about friendship, imagination, and childhood fun!

 What Readers Really Do

Professionally, I’ve been reading “What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making” by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton.  I bought this book on the recommendation of my friend and Maine Reading Association colleague, Susan Dee.  She is one of my “go to” sources for what is new and great in the world of education and from what I’ve read so far, her latest recommendation is spot on!  You know you’ve got a great text on your hands your hands when you start highlighting it on the first page of the Introduction!  Here are some gems that I have read so far from the authors…

“…researchers have now discovered that, more than smaller class size, more than better funding, more than higher standards or benchmarks, what affects student performance the most is the classroom teacher” (p. 2).

“…we don’t want students to take on or consume our own interpretations of texts; we want them to construct their own. This means that we need to teach each student the way readers think as they read, not what to think, helping them to experience texts as readers, rather than putting specific thoughts about a text in their heads” (p. 7).

Another aspect of reading that Barnhouse and Vinton address is the issue of a declining focus on narrative texts.  With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the call for students to be college and career ready, there has been increased concentration on expository texts. However, the authors point out that instruction on narrative texts is imperative for several reasons. They are the texts that contain several layers of meaning and, as a result, lead to deeper thinking and higher levels of comprehension.  The authors state that narratives are also a vehicle for teaching empathy… readers get a chance to become someone else, live their lives through another character, and learn from that experience. “This is no small matter in educating students who will be citizens, leaders, and caretakers of our world” (p. 11).

I can’t wait to delve deeper into this book!

Jenn Felt is a certified K-8 teacher, K-6 Literacy Coach, and K-12 Literacy Specialist with 17 years of experience in the field of education. In addition to her work in elementary classrooms, she is an adjunct faculty member for the College of Education at the University of Maine. Jenn facilitates workshops on a variety of literacy topics at the local, regional, and national level. Currently, she is on the executive board of the Maine Reading Association and is pursuing her National Board certification in the area of literacy. Jenn is passionate about putting high-quality texts in the hands of young readers, creating learning environments for optimal student achievement, and developing strong family-school-community relationships. She can be contacted at: LiteracyTeacherJenn@gmail.com

*cross-posted at: MaineReadingAssociation.blogspot.com

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