Memories of Cozy Read-Alouds

As we are leading up to World Read Aloud Day on March 5th, I decided to join Matthew Winner’s WRAD Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge!  This weeks’ topic is to share your earliest memories of read-alouds, so here goes!

When I was about 4 years old, my parents took the church youth group on a trip and I got to stay with my sweet Nannie, my maternal grandmother.  I remember cuddling up on her couch with a crocheted blanket (probably a ripple afghan) covering us as we read through some of the encyclopedia.  Somehow I think that chocolate chip cookies were involved in this read-aloud experience, too.  I don’t really remember how we selected which volume we would read from, but on this particular night we were reading the “P” volume.

Nannie knew just how to spark my curiosity!  She would let me breeze through the pictures in the encyclopedia and I would point out an interesting one for us to read about and talk about together.  I remember my Nannie telling me all about Louis Pasteur (that’s how I know it was the “P” volume) and the pasteurization process (at 4 years old I did not have a clue about this).  At such an early age I didn’t realize that I was learning something new, only that I loved spending time with my grandmother and books!  There is something truly special about snuggling up on a warm couch with a blanket and someone that you love more than words can describe and sharing a great book (or an entry in a volume of the World Book encyclopedia).  That set of encyclopedias was often read when I visited my grandparents’ home.

My little boy (he’s 5) and I now read aloud every night.  I hope that his memories of reading aloud are pleasant and cozy, like my memories with Nannie.  Reading with children from an early age can make a huge difference in their early reading progress.  My hope is that all of my students can find a book they truly enjoy and can read it with someone they love.

I am excited about World Read Aloud Day on March 5th because my students will have the opportunity to share some of their favorite books with students across the country!  This school year I have tried to instill in my students a giving spirit by having them make bookmarks for Skype friends and write letters to senior citizens.  I would like for my students to make something simple to send to the students that we visit with via Skype, but I haven’t settled on anything definite yet.  In the past our school has shared great books via Skype with students from other schools.  I am grateful for the connections that our school has made as a result of finding other dedicated library media professionals, such as Matthew Winner, Sarah Wendorf, Jenny Lussier, and Stacy Ford, through Twitter.   The excitement and passion that these media specialists bring to students about their favorite books is contagious!  I can’t wait to celebrate together!  For additional ideas for World Read Aloud Day, visit Lit World.



Reading Life Wall

Reading Life Wall

As one method of inspiring my students to read, I’ve made a display to show them what I am reading, what I have read, and what I would like to read. This wall will definitely change and grow throughout the school year. Hopefully, this visual will spark many conversations about fantastic titles to read and enjoy!

The author of The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller, provided my inspiration for creating this wall. Thanks Donalyn!

Let’s Have a Fiesta!

A Shelf Challenge title.

A Shelf Challenge title.

Fiesta Babies is a wonderful short read aloud title, which incorporates a few Spanish words and phrases into the text.  Tafolla, the author, makes it easy to figure out the meanings of the words through the colorful artwork.  This picture book is eye catching and fun!  Fiesta Babies would make a great read aloud for PreK through first graders.  The babies in the story are really cute and this book lends itself toward a younger crowd.

Nancy Tafuri Books

Nancy Tafuri Book CollageThe beautiful titles that I enjoyed today as a part of The Shelf Challenge were by the author Nancy Tafuri.  Snowy, Flowy, Blowy is a title that I had read previously and loved the simple rhyme scheme and beautiful illustrations.  A first grade class listened to this wonderful story, as well as Mama’s Little Bears and Goodnight, My Duckling.  It was unanimous that the students enjoyed Goodnight, My Duckling the most.  The students shared that they liked how the turtle showed kindness to the duckling and helped him find his way back home to his family.  Kindness really does count!

5 Reasons Why I Read

My sweet sister and I like to tease that we are as different as night and day, particularly in the area of reading.  I love to read, but my sister wouldn’t be caught with a book unless she had to read it for a class.  She often teases that reading is bad for your eyes.

Here are a few of the reasons why I read:

1.  Reading gives me something to talk about when there is a lull in the conversation.

2.  Books give information that could come in handy if I’m ever on Jeopardy or some other game show someday.

3.  Reading can be done in any place, inside or outside, on a roof or in a basement.

4.  While waiting at a doctor’s office, reading helps the time pass quickly.

5.  The setting of a book, if described vividly by the author, can transport you in an instant!

The stack in the picture above is what I have enjoyed reading during Spring Break.  Most of the titles were read as part of the #ShelfChallenge.

Happy Reading!

Shelf Challenge: Spanish Style

Recently, the Busy Librarian, Matthew Winner, challenged librarians and media specialists to get to know their collections a little better through a “shelf challenge.”  Read more about the Shelf Challenge HERE.

For this challenge, I have chosen to focus on the Easy section of our school’s E author section.  It is a small section and I thought it seemed a reasonable size to be able to complete it during the month.  My thoughts are that if I am successful with the “E” authors, then I might even be able to start the “F” authors, too.

Each night I read a few of the books to my three year old as good night stories.  Tonight we read Eight Animals Bake a Cake (Elya), Tooth on the Loose (Elya), and Adios Oscar! (Elwell).  I was surprised to find that all three of these titles included some of the Spanish language:  animals, greetings, and cooking items.  For students who are learning basic Spanish phrases, these titles would harmonize perfectly.  The two titles by Elya were very short and could be used together to teach rhyming words.

Adios Oscar!  was a longer book that should probably be read separately.  This book had a message that was wonderfully implied to the reader:  don’t let what others think of you limit who you are and what you become.

Thanks Matthew Winner for starting the #shelfchallenge!  Connecting titles that are similar can be extremely useful!