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Reading aloud

The "Mystery Reader" needs a book

My daughter's third-grade teacher does something called The Mystery Reader, which involves a surprise visit by an adult who comes in to read with the class. I'm the Mystery this Friday (shhhh...don't tell Molly!)

I'm looking for funny and engaging picture book read alouds for third graders. I've asked around my neighborhood and my teacher friends, and combed our own bookcases. I have a few ideas, but would love to hear yours!

Choosing the year's first read aloud

An article in the New York Times, Choosing Summer's Last Big Read, describes how summer, with its illusion of more free time, means reading a certain kind of book. With my personal reading, I can definitely relate to leisurely summer reading. Other books are strictly winter reads, and sit collecting dust until cooler temperatures. I mean, who could read Tenderness of Wolves or Snow Falling on Cedars in the summer?!

Mission Impossible meets Viola Swamp

What happens when a perfectly dreadful adult is forced to deal with a talented albeit unusual group of children? A very funny, offbeat book by Newbery Medalist Paul Fleischman called The Dunderheads (Candlewick).

Lovely words

I was reading a novel last night, a book called Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle (Holt). It's a tough subject even for the target reader (12 years and older) as the title suggests.

Traveling with books

We just got back from a family vacation to Ireland. It was my teenaged son's first time out of the country and the first time for his parents since their son was born.

Not surprisingly, we packed lots of books. I'm still reading for an award committee, so most of my books were for young readers.

Summer reading bags: access for all

In last week's blog post, I wrote about the research on access to books for kids in poverty. In short: all kids, but especially kids from lower-income households, need access to books over the summer. If there are no books laying around to read, it's unlikely that a child will lay around to read.

Whodunnit? Spring break mysteries

Both girls, Molly (8) and Anna (6), are obsessed with mysteries right now, and they spent most of their spring break tearing through several. It started awhile back when they stumbled into the Boxcar Children series.

Using volunteers in the classroom

Sometimes parent volunteers require a lot of extra work for a teacher. Other times, parents work as a second set of hands but don't really work one-on-one with kids. Somewhere in the middle is a setting in which the time flies by with both the volunteer and the students benefitting from spending time together.

Favorite classroom read alouds

A friend and I were talking yesterday about the chapter books we used to love reading aloud to our second grade classes. We both have vivid memories of hot and sweaty kids coming in from recess, settling into their desks and our reading aloud for 10, 15 or 20 minutes (!) with the class begging for more chapters.

Spring break reading

We're on spring break this week, but I thought I'd share a few of the books we'll be reading together during our road trip. I've blogged before about some of the terrific read alouds we have read, and my criteria for choosing them. The same ones apply for this list too.

Half Magic is the book I'm the most excited about. It sounds like a fun adventure with wonderful characters. I'm hoping the girls love it!

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"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." — Lemony Snicket