It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


IMWAYR? posts originated at and have taken off from there! It’s a great way to collaborate with colleagues, near and far, about what texts folks are currently reading.

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

This week has been all about picture books for me!

One of my new favorites is A Squiggly Story, written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Mike Lowery.  It’s the tale of a very young boy who wants to write a story, but is hesitant because he doesn’t know many words.  His big sister, whom he strives to emulate, reassures him that a story can start with just one letter.  So he picks up his pencil and writes an “easy letter,” the letter I.

And so his story begins…

His sister prompts him when he gets stuck and encourages him to keep going.  The boy is so delighted with his creation that he takes it to school and shares with his class what he has written so far.  His classmates, in turn, offer suggestions for how he could end his story.

One of the most beautiful parts in the book occurs when the boy comes home and tells his sister he is still undecided about his conclusion and his sister reminds him that he can do whatever he wants, for HE is the author.

This book is sure to be a “kinder-crowd-pleaser!”  For all those times when early writers feel stuck or self-conscious about their writing abilities, this is a book that you will want to have handy!  What I also appreciated about this book was that the illustrations capture what early attempts at writing can tend to look like and celebrates them.

Coming this September, A Squiggly Story is sure to be a favorite for our littlest authors, as well as their parents and teachers!



“It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”


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

This Monday I’ve been reading an ARC for my #bookaday challenge that I got from Simon & Schuster at the recent ILA Conference in Boston.  Frances O’Roark Dowell, author of the Phineas L. MacGuire series and many other titles, has written a charming, heartwarming tale about a boy with a plan. In Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan, Sam Graham is a seven-year-old in search of employment.  Both his parents and his older sister, Annabelle have jobs, and when their  neighbor, Mrs. Kerner, needs someone to watch her chickens while she’s away, Sam sees his opportunity.  Admittedly, I was drawn to this book because of my love-hate relationship with our own chickens.  Slowly, they’re helping me overcome my small phobia of winged creatures, so I found myself empathizing with Sam as he strived to become an expert, in order to do his best as chicken caretaker.

We also meet several other people in Sam’s community, including Sam’s teacher, Mr. Pell, his classmates, and Sam’s bus driver, Miss Louise.  But it’s Sam’s other neighbor, Judy, and her cranky old dad, Mr. Stockfish, who help teach Sam that true happiness doesn’t cost a thing.

Dowell has created a funny, curious main character that readers will root for from beginning to end.  Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan arrives in bookstores next month and the follow-up text in the series, Sam the Man & the Rutabaga Plan is scheduled for release next winter.


Back in the Saddle Again…

After a long hiatus from my blog, summer is back and so am I!

It’s been an incredibly busy school year, with taking four graduate classes and helping to design a new one, but the most amazing news contributing to my busy life is that I am heading back into the classroom this fall to teach first grade!

After dedicating my professional career exclusively to literacy coaching for the past eight years, it is time for me to return to a classroom setting.  I feel passionately about coaches cycling back into the classroom every so often and when this opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t refuse.  (And as an added bonus, I’ll be cutting my commute by about 40 minutes each way).

This summer I’m taking a graduate course on family and community involvement and I’m wondering, teachers, what are some successful ways you have found to engage families in your classroom community and parents, what are some ways that schools have included you in your child(ren)’s learning that you have appreciated?

I’m so excited to begin this next chapter of my professional journey!


This summer I’m again participating in the #bookaday challenge.  Today’s book is What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom (Compendium, Inc., 2016).


I own their other book, What Do You Do with an Idea? and was anxious to read this one.  It’s the story told from the child narrator’s perspective, but it can easily be applicable to anyone of any age.  It’s the story of what happens when a problem follows you around and just won’t go away.


I love that one of the messages in this book is that problems can actually be opportunities in disguise!  This book would be a great read aloud for setting the stage to problem solve classroom conflicts or as a gift for someone who’s going through a difficult time and needs some encouragement.