Thursday, June 20, 2013

One In Three

According to a survey conducted by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s, only one in three parents  with kids 8 and younger  read to them every night. Fifty percent of parents say that their children play video games or watch TV before bed. Macy’s and RIF are partnering to provide 1.6 million  books for children in need. Check out  the Be Book Smart program.

The most important thing you can do to help your child to become a reader is to read to him! The amount of reading done outside of school is consistently related to gains in achievement. Children who do not read well by the end of third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of high school. Today is a good day to start!

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Ideas To Get Kids Reading This Summer

Melissa Taylor, on her Imagination Soup blog, has some ideas to help your kids get reading this summer. At the bottom of the post are links to Easy Chapter Books (in a series) and Chapter Book Series That Kids Love. One of the best ways to get your kids to read over the summer is to find a series that interests them. They will already know which book they want to read next. The Chapter Book Series features one of the blog’s  favorite series, The Red Blazer Girls.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Back Seat Book Club The One And Only Ivan

June’s  Back Seat Book Club discussion with author Katherine Applegate about The One And Only Ivan aired today on NPR. You can listen to it here. The July selection is Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood. It has been on my to read list for months. Better get cracking!

The One and Only Ivan Glory Be

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

20 Minutes of Reading a Day

A simple graphic from EBook Friendly to illustrate what 20 minutes a day of reading at home adds up to over the course of the elementary school years. The math is based on 180 school days per year. You can double that if your child reads 20 minutes every day. Standardized test scores aside, which student is going to have the best chance at a fuller more rewarding life?

Why read 20 minutes

What Kids Are Reading, In School and Out

An interesting piece from NPR about what kinds of books kids are reading as they get to high school. There is an interview with someone from Renaissance Learning about the Accelerated Reading Program (Yulupa and Strawberry Schools participate in the AR program) that helps to explain how the books are rated.  There is also a plug at the end for this month’s back seat book club choice, blog favorite The One And Only Ivan. Check it out.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Stanley Yelnats  is unlucky. His family is cursed. It is all the fault of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great grandfather for breaking a promise.  Because Stanley was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he is sent to Camp Green Lake. A camp that is not a camp nor is it green or a lake. It is a detention facility in the Texas desert. Every morning, the boys detained  arise at 4;30 AM to dig a 5 foot wide and 5 foot deep hole in the desert; one boy, one hole. Stanley’s story is interwoven with the pig-stealing-great- great grandfather’s story in Latvia and in the United States, his great grandfather and the story of Kissing Kate  Barlow in Green Lake, when it was green and a lake. Eventually, Stanley figures out that all the hole digging is not just about building character; the warden is looking for something. All the strands of the story are woven together in the satisfying conclusion of Holes by Louis Sachar . 

Holes was awarded the 1999 Newbery Medal.  This is another book that has been a favorite in my family. It will keep your child turning the pages to find out what happens next.


The Sonoma County Library has many copies of this book as well as audio recordings and copies of the Disney movie made from the book.

The AR level is 4.6, the test is worth 7 points and Yulupa has the test.

Happy Birthday Maurice Sendak

Today, June 10, 2013 would have been Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday. Today’s  Google Doodle honors him with an animation. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thought For Today

Kids who love reading

Artwork by Calef Brown, you can view more of his work here.

Hat tip: Educators Spin On It

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kelsey Green, Reading Queen

How could I pass up a book called Kelsey Green, Reading Queen? Besides, I know a young lady who  definitely is a reading queen. The story by Claudia Mills is about a one month reading contest at Franklin School. The classroom that reads the most books in April wins a pizza party and the student in each class who reads the most books gets their name on a plaque in the library and a certificate (that may not be a lot of motivation for your average 3rd grader). As an added incentive, the principal will shave his beard if the the number of books read passes 2000. Kelsey is an avid reader and she is going to place first in her class. Her only possible competition is Simon Ellis. At first, Kelsey focuses on beating Simon, who halfway through the month is a few books ahead of her. Kelsey’s class is also coming in second to a fifth grade class. To change that Kelsey helps a student who is a poor reader read lots of books  and in the process help him become a better reader.

Kelsey Green, reading Queen

What I loved about the book was all the books talked about in the story, like Harriet The Spy,  Sarah, Plain and Tall and The Secret Garden (one of my all time favorites). Kelsey and Simon become allies when they discover that both of them love The Secret Garden. Maybe the reader will want to check out some of the many books mentioned within the story.

The illustrations by Rob Shepperson add to the story, especially the before and after of the  principal's beard.

Since the book was just published today (June 4, 2013), there is no AR level yet. This is the first in a new series by author, Claudia Mills.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Slide

Reading Is Fundamental blog has a post up today about summer slide, the up to two month learning loss over the summer. Here are some simple ideas to prevent summer slide from the article:

  • Visit. Head to the library and sign your kid up for a library card if they don’t already have one. In addition to a wide selection of books to borrow, many libraries have free, child-friendly summer reading programs. Going to a baseball game? Read a book about baseball before you head off to that double-header.
  • Lead. Kids look up to you, so lead by example. Read the newspaper at breakfast, pick up a magazine at the doctor’s office, and stuff a paperback in your beach bag. If kids see the adults around them reading often, they will understand that all types of reading can be an important part of their summer days. Storybooks aren’t the only thing that kids can read. Be prepared and keep all kinds of reading material on hand that might spark the interest of a young reader.
  • Talk. Talking with your kids about what you have read also lets them know that reading is an important part of your life. Tell them why you liked a book, what you learned from it, or how it helped you—soon they might start doing the same. Going camping? Have your kids tell stories to their friends.
  • Relax. Reading is supposed to be fun. So relax. Don’t set daily minute requirements or determine the number of pages they should read. Instead, make sure they pick up books that appeal to them and help find ways for them to choose to read on their own.
  • Sunday, June 2, 2013

    Because of Mr Terupt

    Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea is about the new fifth grade teacher at Snow Hill School in Connecticut, Mr. Terupt. The story  is told by seven of his students: Peter, Jessica, Alexia, Luke, Danielle, Luke and Jeffery. Each student represents some archetype of the typical classroom, but each child is fully fleshed out and real. The story is structured month by month during the September-June school year. Mr. Terupt is a fun but challenging teacher. He sees the best person each one of them can be and tries to help each one find that person, until an accident changes everything. Because of Mr Terupt

    Because this is a children’s story everything is wrapped up neatly at the end. Even the teen queen, Alexia, who at the beginning of the book is trying to manipulate all the girls in the class by pitting them against each other, gives up her facade. The whole class pulls together. There is a little bit of unbelievable contrivance at the end, especially about what the kids do not know of their teacher’s condition, but I forgive the author because he has given us a sequel,  Mr Terupt Falls Again. 

    The AR level is 3.7.

    The Sonoma County Library has a few copies of Because of Mr Terupt and a single copy of the sequel.