Kids Get Free Gifts With Summer Reading Programs

summer-slide-statistics-nsla

Summer is a time when kids get to kick back and enjoy their carefree days, making memories that will surely last a lifetime. However, not being in school for 2 consecutive months, also has a huge downfall, more specifically the “summer slide.” Experts agree that those children who read during the summer acquire reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward. The good news is that research indicates that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. The trick is to make sure these books are on the child’s independent reading levels, so that they are not too easy or too hard. Below I have outlined a few summer reading programs that offer kids incentives to continue to read over the summer, avoiding the summer slide and getting rewarded all in one!

Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading Program – Imagination’s Destination

Kids earn a FREE BOOK in three simple steps:

Step 1. Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal PDF. Step 2.Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store.

Step 3. Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Pottery Barn Summer Reading Challenge

Students who read all summer long and log it on their recording sheet, can visit a local Pottery Barn store and pick up a free book!

Half-Price Books Summer Reading Program – Feed Your Brain

Kids 14 and under can earn free Half Price Books gift cards if they read for at least 300 minutes from June 1 to July 31, 2014.

TD Bank Summer Reading Program

With this reading program students who complete the program by reading 10 books, earn $10 free! This summer reading program runs June 1 – August 31.

Chuck E. Cheese Reading Reward Certificates

On this site are many different rewards certificates that earn children 10 free play tokens! The reading certificate requires students to read each day for two weeks.

Book Lovers Rejoice – “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” Movie Trailer Released

Image

Have you ever had one of those days where it seems just about everything has gone wrong? Well if you have, you probably thought of this book and referred to your day as a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst is a childhood favorite for so many. In fact since its first publication in 1972, Alexander and his book have helped us to remember that while we often find comfort in commiserating over our terrible luck, things are really not that bad.

Disney has released a trailer for the movie, and I was thrilled to see the twist they put on this book! Take a look and let me know what you think about the trailer in the comments below!

Movie Trailer on YouTube

Testing Miss Malarkey – A Book for Easing Test Anxiety

testingmalarkey

As our week of testing is set to start, I thought I would share with you a wonderful book, just in time for testing season! I think you will find that it is a wonderful book to read to your students prior to (or during testing). Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler is a great read-aloud that through its humor, introduces the topic of test anxiety and opens it up for discussion with your class.

The book tells the story of standardized testing through the point of view of the students. It’s amusing in that the the students detail how stressed out the teachers become about the tests and show how the whole atmosphere in the school changes during testing. I just enjoy how it allows me to talk to my students about the obvious changes they are seeing around the school, and possibly at home. Things like the emergence of “brain food,” the sudden need for number 2 pencils, and the appearance of quiet signs and new rules for quietly navigating the halls. The theme of the book is that while things are wacky, they will all go back to normal soon enough. Check it out, I know you will be happy you did!

 

Happy Testing!

Wonder – Teaching About Bullying and Acceptance Through Literature

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

wonder

So if you know me, you know I absolutely LOVE to read. I am that annoying friend who will gladly push book selections on you if you ever make the mistake of telling me that you enjoy to read! I own tons and tons of books and enjoy nothing more than sharing them with others. I am always eager to know if my friends too enjoyed them as I always feel a certain sense of triumph when I’ve paired a friend to a book they’ve loved. In short, I am a huge book nerd!

A few years ago, a close teacher friend of mine, Stephanie, asked if I wanted to read the book “Wonder” with her. I dove right in and ordered the book without hesitation. Once I opened it, I was hooked and couldn’t (and didn’t) put it down until I was done. To say that the book was an emotional journey for me, would only begin to describe the effect it had on me. If you have not yet read “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, I strongly urge you to do so. (You can totally borrow my copy!)

This year, I decided to read the book to my class because I feel it encompasses so many life lessons, and illustrates it in such a believable and moving way. I love how the language and characters in the story are so realistic, and so I really felt like the students in my class would be really moved by this story. Well by day one, they too were hooked!

Here is a quick synopsis taken from Wikipedia: The story “Wonder” is about a 10-year-old boy with facial deformities named August Pullman (Auggie) who wishes to be treated normally. He attends public school for the first time in his life, although he does not want to, he agrees to go. Throughout his fifth grade school year, he faces many challenges of having a deformed face, but some surprises also come up like Summer and Jack. The book also goes into other people’s perspective of August: Via’s, Summer’s, Justin’s (in which he doesn’t capitalize his “I’s” and has other grammar mistakes), and Miranda’s.

The themes of kindness and inclusion, meanness and exclusion, and friendship, are the main ones weaved throughout the story. Wonder is told in several different points of views, allowing the reader to see how one person’s differences can affect the lives of so many others. It will make you laugh, cry, question your own behaviors and thinking patterns, and force you at times to be uncomfortable. This is the magic behind the story and what makes it so powerful and moving.

I will be posting some activities we did as a class for the book as we go along. Here is a FREEBIE that we used to create text messages to Auggie prior to the chapter when he goes to school. I had my students write him a text message offering him some advice on his first day of school. They enjoyed it very much and did a great job balancing the right words to encourage Auggie, while also setting him up to be prepared for the possibility of not all kids and adults treating him nicely. I was very proud of their work and excited to showcase it.

We were also working on persuasive letters in Writer’s Workshop at the time, so I had students write August letters persuading him to either go to school, or stay at home and continue to be home-schooled. CLICK HERE  for the paper we used for that.

We signed the Choose Kind Pledge online as a class too! After each kid signed, I gave them one of these cute labels I printed onto a label to wear.

Last, they visited this SITE and created digital postcards that they e-mailed to me. On each postcard they were asked to write about how they would carry out their pledge to be kind.

Each of the assignments is pictured below.

Text to Auggie

 

Auggie Text

 

2014-04-21 14.22.54

Wonder

2014-04-21 14.23.24

2014-04-21 14.23.00

wonder postcards

 

A List of Resources

Choose Kind Tumblr

Educator Guide for Wonder

 Teachingbooks.net

 

HAPPY READING!

Read Across America Day 2014

Yesterday marked the 17th annual, NEA- Read Across America Day.
This annual event is geared to excite and motivate readers in every community, as they come together to celebrate reading on the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. Our school this year decided to also hold a door decorating contest to get the entire school into the spirit. The contest guidelines were to decorate your door with a favorite book/author.

My students and I adore the work of Peter Reynolds, and we chose his books as our inspiration. If you aren’t familiar with his work, I urge you to explore his website, as I know you won’t be disappointed.

Peter Reynolds Official Site

Peter is an accomplished writer, storyteller and illustrator, which is impressive in itself. He has many best-selling books which share a central message about protecting and nurturing the creative spirit. My favorites include The Dot, Ish, Sky Color and So Few of Me.

The kids had a blast creating the art work that went along with each book. However, what made me even happier was to watch and listen to their self-criticism change to acceptance and praise as they realized Reynolds was right, they art what beautiful-ish. As a teacher, sometimes these are the lessons that impact us the most!

20140304-215003.jpg

20140304-215033.jpg

20140304-215059.jpg

 

And of course, they had to go home with some goodies too! 20140304-215110.jpg