Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Parents Magazine 20 Best Children's Books: Picture Book Picks


2010 Parents Magazine 20 Best Children's Books: Terrific for Tots


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kindle Books for Kids (some for FREE!)


Have a Kindle or thinking of giving one as a gift? You might not have realized it, but children's literature is also available for download to your e-reader!  Here are some examples (and some are FREE!):


Don't have a Kindle yet? You can also read these books on your PC, iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry or Android!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not sure what to write?

Teachers and parents, you may be unsure of where to start when teaching your child how to comment on a book.  The National Assessment of Educational Progress (the only nationwide assessment for literacy that can also be used for both national and international comparison) has developed a framework with three main targets for reading comprehension. These targets apply mainly to grades 4-12 but can be adapted for use at other levels. 

You can use these targets to think of ideas for comments.

  • Locate and Recall: When locating or recalling information from what they have read, students may identify explicitly stated main ideas or may focus on specific elements of a story.

  • Example: "The main idea of this book/story was..." or "These are the main characters in the book..."

  • Integrate and Interpret: When integrating and interpreting what they have read, students may make comparisons, explain character motivation, or examine relations of ideas across the text.

  • Example: "The character acted that way because..." or "These two characters were similar in the way..."

  • Critique and Evaluate: When critiquing or evaluating what they have read, students view the text critically by examining it from numerous perspectives or may evaluate overall text quality or the effectiveness of particular aspects of the text.

  • Example: "I was disappointed by the ending because..." or "This reminded me of my favorite book..."

  • Don't be nervous! Try your hand at posting some comments today! 

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Disney/Pixar Storybook Collection


    A bit commercial, I know...but still extremely popular with the younger set!

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth


    This series is beloved by kids of all ages, and its wry humor will amuse teachers & parents, too!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    The Last Train


    The Last Train, written by acclaimed musician Gordon Titcomb with luminous paintings by Wendell Minor is a perfect book for train lovers of all ages, and is made to order for parents, and grandparents, to share with the little ones in their lives... especially with the Live Oak Media readalong version of the book, featuring Titcomb reading and performing the lyrics of the book, which are based on his song of the same name. This stunning book both celebrates and eulogizes the golden era of railway travel.

    -as described by Anonymous in "Requested Books"

    Hanukkah Books

    Hanukkah begins December 1st, 2010! Everyone loves gelt & gifts - so celebrate with books for a penny!


    Bear Snores On

    by Karma Wilson

    A cozy book for the approaching cold weather! "Cozy down...and dig in", as the badger says, to this playful rhyming story with absolutely gorgeous illustrations by Jane Chapman.

    Make reading this story even more fun by sharing snacks with the animal characters:

    It's a Book

    by Lane Smith

    Of course I had to post this! The perfect storm of my two favorite things: literacy & technology.

    My questions to my readers: is it possible for both to live harmoniously in today's world? Which way do you read more often - online or on paper? Which do you prefer?

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Letters About Literature 2010

    Students, it's time again for Letters about Literature! (Teachers, click here for specific information on how to enter.) You could win Target gift cards worth $50-$500, plus up to $10,000 for your school!  If you didn't enter last year, here's an excerpt from the LAL website reminding everyone how to write a letter:

    Books have wings. You can’t see them, but they are there just the same. On books’ wings, readers can soar to new places where they meet intriguing characters and experience exciting adventures. But a book’s wings can also help a reader rise above difficult situations — like peer pressure, bullying or prejudice, or to cope with disappointment and loss.
    Have you ever felt the power and lift of literature? Has one book — or perhaps one author — inspired you to change your view of yourself or your world? If so, we encourage you to enter this year’s Letters About Literature writing competition. All you have to do is write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work affected you.
    Before you can enter, you have to write the letter.And before you can write the letter, you've got tothink about how YOU responded to the book.
    First, reflect and connect!
    Select a fiction or nonfiction book, a short story, poem, essay or speech (sorry, no song lyrics) you have read and about which you have strong feelings. Explore those feelings and why you reacted the way you did during or after reading the author’s work. Consider one or more of these questions when writing your letter:
    • Did the characters, conflict or setting mirror your life in some way?
    • What strengths or flaws do you share with a character or characters in the book?
    • What did the book show you about your world that you never noticed before?
    • What surprised you about yourself while you were reading this book?
    • Why was this work meaningful to you?
    • As  you were reading, what did you remember about yourself or something you experiencedin the past?
    • How did the book's characters or theme help you to understand that past experience?
    Your letter need not -- and in fact, should not -- answer every one of the questions above. The questions are just prewriting prompts to get you to start reflecting (or thinking) about your reader's response to the book. 
    Second, write a personal letter (not a fan letter or a book report!)
    Express yourself! A letter is less formal than an essay or research paper. Write honestly and in your own voice, as if you were having a conversation with the author. Those are the best letters to read and the most fun to write! Keep in mind these two tips:
    • Correspond, don’t compliment! Your entry should inform rather than flatter the author.
    • Do not summarize the book’s plot! The author wrote the book and already knows what happened. What the author doesn’t know is how the book affected you.

    Third, prepare your letter for submission.
    • Entries for Level 1 should be no less than 100 words and no more than 400 words.*
    • Entries for Level 2 should be no less than 300 words and no more than 600 words.*
    • Entries for Level 3 should be no less than 500 words and no more than 800 words.*
    *Recommended lengths.
    Please refer to the Contest Entry Guidelines in Rules #4 of the Official Rules found for complete information on how to prepare your letter.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    How to Use the Book Blog as a Literacy Center


    Recently, a teacher asked me how to use this blog as a reading & writing center. First, I encourage teachers to browse the blog and experiment with some of the options before presenting it to your students. When you're ready to try it as an independent or guided center, here are some ways to use it in your classroom!


    • Locate books from your classroom library on the blog.
    • Comment with one thing you know about the book.
    • Summarize the plot in the comments section of a book post.
    • Visit Book Adventure (see "Links for Readers"), create an account & take quizzes to earn rewards for books you've found & read from the blog.
    • For weekly homework, comment on at least one book & respond to at least one post of someone else's.
    • Request your favorite books to be added.
    • Reward fast finishers with time on the blog for browsing, reading summaries or commenting on posts.
    • Ask students to write on the blog instead of writing a book report.
    • Students can post graphic organizers (such as story maps) directly to the blog using (a free web version of Inspiration/Kidspiration).
    • Use "Links for Readers" for creative project alternatives.
    High School/College:
    • Use the blog as a form of literary social media - encourage discussions, dissension, critiques, chatting (on topic, of course). Students can connect their comments to their other online profiles using OpenID or Google accounts.
    • Use "Links for Readers" for creative project alternatives: try Glogster instead of a triboard for presentations, use Capzles to create more lively timelines, encourage peer and self-reflection with VoiceThread and allow students to report on books or events via Animoto.
    • Request any book you need to complete a project or report & it will be added to the blog within 48 hours.
    Thanks & enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Thanksgiving Books


    I am thankful for...books that cost one penny!  Yippee!

    Books for the PreK-1st crowd, Titles T-W


    Books for the PreK-1st crowd, Titles F-P


    Books for the PreK-1st crowd, Titles A-C

    I haven't listed many books for the littlest ones lately, so here goes...

    Best Books of 2010


    Get started on your little bookworms' holiday gift lists now!

     Best Picture Books