6 Things You Should Know About Children’s Literature in the Classroom

1. Choose books that excite the students

If you choose books that the students are not interested in then they will not be engaged and they will not pay attention. It will also cause their relationship with books to weaken if not totally go away. In order for the students to be engaged, wanting to learn and listen, the book needs to be something that they enjoy. This is important because these are the years that students are going to decide whether they like to read or not, and the selection of the books should not be something that pushes them away.

2. Choose books that can enhance lesson plans

Books that are read in the classroom should almost always have a teachable moment behind it. Whether that is an actual lesson plan, or just a class discussion. There are tons of books out there that enhance lesson plans. Reading a book at the beginning of a lesson to introduce a topic is a great way to use children’s literature in the classroom to enhance lesson plans.

3. Read aloud daily

Read aloud time is important for all ages from Kindergarten to 12th Grade. It is a time where students can relax and listen to a good book. These books can be more of pleasure reading books, but they can also be educational. Again, it is just important to pick a book that is going to appeal to the audience. You don’t want anyone falling asleep on you! Reading aloud is a fun, calm environment that helps students think deeper and have great class discussion.

4. Read a wide range of diverse books

Every person in your classroom is unique in their own way and they enjoy different genres than others. It isn’t good to stick to one genre or one author the entire year. You should switch up genres and authors every day. Also, it is important that you pick books that have different types of characters as well. Don’t only pick books that have animals as the main characters, but switch it up so there is a variety of White characters, African American characters, animals, Asian characters, etc. Read and provide a wide range of diverse books.

5. Provide books in your classroom for both genders

Female teachers are usually more attracted to girl books, and the same is true for male teachers. You as a teacher can’t favor one gender over another. Providing books for both boys and girls is important because they are only going to pick up a book that interests them. The same goes for read aloud books. You need to make sure you have a good combination of girl and boy books for read aloud time. Boys are more prone to choosing not to read, so teachers need to make sure they have plenty of boy books available.

6. Provide time everyday for individual pleasure reading

I know the school day is busy and you are crunching for time everyday to try to get things done, but students need to develop the habit of reading on their own. When they finish an assignment early, have them pull out a book to read. When they get back from recess, have them read for 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be long periods of time, but the more students are reading, the more they are going to grow to love it. Teachers need to provide time everyday for individual reading.

Top 10 Favorite Authors from this Semester

  1. Judy Blume – As you can tell, I read the most Judy Blume books this semester. This speaks for itself that she is fantastic. She makes my Top 3 Favorite Author List because of her edgy touch on her books. Some of her books have even been put on the Banned List. Young readers love Judy Blume.

2. Barbara Park – Oh Barbara Park, how great you are! In my opinion Barbara Park is one of the greatest of all time. My youth would not be the same without Junie B. Jones books and I am thankful for Barbara Park and her books!

3. Dr. Seuss – Can I be honest for a second? I never really liked Dr. Seuss books a whole lot, but I know he is a legend in Children’s Literature. One of the first books I remember reading by myself before Kindergarten was a Dr. Seuss book. Most kids love reading and listening to Dr. Seuss books!

4. David Shannon – I enjoyed both of these David Shannon books a lot this semester and it only clicked that they were from the same author this week when I was doing my Top 10 Favorite Books. I literally said to myself, “Wow, I must really just like David Shannon.” Maybe I need to read more of his books!

5. Gary Paulsen – I only was able to read one of Gary Paulsen’s books this semester, but I read more of them growing up. He is a really good author with incredible writing skills. I would request him to anyone!

506. Daniel Handler – He is known by the famous name of Lemony Snicket. That is his pen name for the Series of Unfortunate Events. However, his real name is David Handler. Growing up, I loved the Series of Unfortunate Events because the mysteries book after book focused you to keep reading.

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7. Mary Pope Osborne – She is the author of the Magic Tree House books. These books are gold. They have wonderful storylines that keep students hooked, but they are also educational. Mary Pope Osborne did a great job with them!

8. Roald Dahl – The only Roald Dahl book I read this semester was Matilda. That is kind of disappointing because I have heard he is a wonderful author. I would like to read more of his books.

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9. Jacqueline Woodson – I read these books for the Newbery Honor Award week and liked them a lot. Jacqueline Woodson has won multiple Newbery Honor Awards and she is definitely deserving! Her books are unique, but quality.

10. Cynthia Rylant – Cynthia Rylant is the author of all the Henry and Mudge books.I read quite a few of them this semester and I would laugh to myself in the library because they were so cute. Any author that can write a series like this is amazing.

Top 10 Books to Use in the Classroom

Finding books to use in the classroom is extremely important. As a teacher, I want to make sure I have enough books in my classroom for all of my students to choose from. From this semester, I will have these 10 books in my future classroom for sure:

50 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

I picked the Hatchet to be on this top 10 list because I think it is a great book for boys to read. I know it is hard to find book that boys are actually engaged in, but I think this would be one. That is why I am going to have this book in my future classroom.

11594337 The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This book made my top 10 favorite books and this top 10 list! I can’t think of a better chapter book to have in my classroom for my students to read.

786256 Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Stellaluna is a heart wrenching story about a lost bat who finally finds her mom and friends. It is a book that will calm a classroom and  melt the hearts of the students.

357664 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

This book is all about friendship and love, plus a dog. And who doesn’t love books about dogs? Again, this is another solid chapter book to have available in the classroom for individual reading time.

24178 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Charlotte’s Web deserves to be in every single classroom. Especially a third to sixth grade classroom. Every student needs to read this book.

767680 If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

This book is a great read aloud book. It is cute and funny and students will get a kick out of it.

6484528 The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks by Mike Berenstain

This is a fantastic book about Thanksgiving. Books go the best in classrooms when the students can relate to what they are about. I am a fan about holiday books because 1. the kids are getting exposed to more books and 2. the students can get excited about the holidays!

96128 Duck for President by  Doreen Cronin

The kindergarten teacher I observed read this book aloud to her classroom during the election and the students loved it. Because of that experience, I know this book would be good for the classroom during an electoral year.

439173 Frindle by Andrew Clements

I believe this book would be good for the classroom because it would motivate students in writing and creativity. Also, the main character is a fifth grade boy so hopefully it would be a book that boys would like!

233093 The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Every student loves Dr. Seuss books! They roll off the tongue and captures the students attention. Any and all Dr. Seuss books would be great in the classroom.

Top 10 Favorite Reads of the Semester

“I can only pick 10 books out of over 250? That is going to be impossible,” I first thought. I imagined this blog post to be impossible because I have read so many good books this semester. I honestly enjoyed the majority of them, so I had no clue how I was going to narrow it down to 10. But here is what I came up with:

417524 Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback

I don’t know what it was about this book that left a lasting impression on me but I liked it a lot. I think I remember is so well because of the amazing illustrations and the theme. It reminded me that you can make beautiful things out of nothing and that nothing should be wasted. That is a theme that we all need to hear!

11594337 The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

I know this book was required for the class but I couldn’t make a top 10 without having it on there. We all know why this book is so amazing, and I will definitely have my students read it!

958277 Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park

I really could of put any of the Junie B. Jones books on my top 10 because I enjoy them all so much. These were my favorite books in elementary school so I was stoked that I was able to read some of them this semester! Barbara Park will forever be one of my favorite authors.

1062516 No, David! By David Shannon

I mentioned this in my Monday post the week that I read this book, but this book holds a special place in my family because my dad’s name is David so my brothers and I used to read this book to him and laugh and laugh and laugh. When I got ahold of it this semester, so many wonderful childhood memories flooded into my mind.

310259 Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

This is a classic book that demonstrates the importance of a mom and son relationship. I fell in love with this book after I found out that this book was written after the author, Munsch, and his wife had two stillborn babies. If that doesn’t make you emotionally attached, I don’t know what will!

474858 A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

I am not going to lie, I didn’t realize that I had two David Shannon books on my top 10 list until just now. I must really enjoy his style of writing. I appreciate this book because it is a little different but it is really good.

37732 Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. By Judy Blume

This chapter book made my list because it is on the banned list even though I don’t think it should be. It talks about controversial issues, but they are topics that we need to be having with our students anyway so I think it is a good conversation starter.

4948 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Who can think of a student who doesn’t like this book? That is exactly why it made my top 10 list. It is an adorable picture book that every student absolutely loves.

6633716 I Spy Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

Man, I loved this book! If you have not read it, you need to! It is an hilarious story of hide and seek and friendship. Where did Fly Guy hide?

2347267 Calie’s Gift by Madeline Arroyo

I choose this book to be on my top 10 because it melted my heart. It is a story about Calie building a friendship with young children by playing music for them. When the children find out that she doesn’t like Christmas time, they go and buy her a special gift for Christmas.

I enjoyed most of the books that I read, but I enjoyed these 10 the most.

It’s our Final Monday! What Are You Reading?

I am overjoyed that it is our last normal Monday of the semester! Not because I don’t like these blogs, but because I am ready for all five of my classes to be done. I am on the tail end of my college career and I am so so so ready to be done! I am so close, yet still so far away! But hey, this is the last Monday post so I am happy about that! But also marveled as to where this semester went. It does not seem like it should be the last week yet.

For my last week of reading, I did something sort of like I have done before. I read most of my weeks reading in the third grade classroom that I observed. I found them on in the classes bookcase! I love doing that because it is convenient and most of the books are the at the level that I want to teach so it makes it perfect.

The Three Snow Bears and The Rain Came Down are picture books that are cute and would be great for seasonal reads. Frindle is a short chapter book that I really enjoyed. It is about a little boy who loves to write and who creates a new word for a pen called Frindle. This book is great for upper elementary students because it will motivate them in writing and creativity.

These next four books are all picture books. Sam and the Tigers and The Girl who Loved Caterpillars are diverse books that I was happy to see in her class library. Out of these four books, my favorite was Spectacles. It is a simple picture book but has a lot of meaning behind it! It shows different pictures that Iris Fogel is trying to figure out what it is. Then she puts on glasses and finally sees the picture for what it is! I think it is an incredible life lesson for us all. We need to see things with a clear and open eyes!

Next, I read some Rugrat books! Who doesn’t love the Rugrats?! I absolutely loved the Rugrats when I was growing up and it was a lot of fun to go back into my childhood while reading these books.

Since last week’s focus was on Mock Caldecott and Newbery, I went to library to find a few that were on the list that I wanted to read. Here they are:

  1. Shy by Deborah Freedman
  2. The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
  3. The Night Gardener by Terry Fan
  4. “This is not a picture book!” by Sergio Ruzzier

Out of these 4, my favorite was The Night Gardener. I liked it so much because it was full of imagination and creativity. It is a mystery turning the pages and it kept me wanting more! I could definitely see The Night Gardener winning the 2017 Caldecott Medal.

 

 

Mock Caldecott

A Caldecott award is an annual award in the U.S. for an outstanding illustrated juvenile book. That is the definition of a Caldecott Award. There is only one picture book awarded with the Caldecott Medal each year, but multiple Caldecott Honor Books. The Caldecott Medal winner last year was Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear.

A mock Caldecott event in the classroom is when a class picks 15-20 picture books that could possibly win the 2017 Caldecott Medal, read them, and then vote on them. It is supposed to be as close to a mirror image of the actual Caldecott selecting system as possible. Plus is allows the students of a class have a say in which books they think are deserving.

Hosting a Mock Caldecott in my own future classroom would be a lot of fun for the students, but also a lot of work for me. I wish I could say it was a topic that I was more passionate about, but I can’t really say I am and if it’s going to be that much work for something I’m not passionate about, I don’t believe at this point that I would have one in my own classroom.

After reading the list of Mr. Schu’s nominees, the three books that I want to read are: This is not a Picture Book, The Airport Book, and The Night Gardener. I picked these three because they are the three that made my heart the most excited. You know the feeling when you read something and you just can’t contain it and you know it is the one? Yeah, they pretty much happened with these three. The great thing is, all the books on this list are most likely fabulous if they are possible Caldecott nominees.

26240705 I found this book on the 2017 Caldecott Predictions list from a different website. I was stoked when I saw this book on the list and I definitely want to read it. Unfortunately, this book is not in the Chadron library so I don’t have access to read it this week. It honestly surprises me that it would be the prediction list since it is a story about Jesus. In the article the author said, “Can a Jesus book win a Caldecott in the 21st century?” Even though that statement makes me cringe, it is the truth. I really hope it would have a chance winning, and I am definitely rooting for it!

Wishlist Wednesday

“The Magic Tree House books make wonderful first chapter books for first- and second-graders (or advanced kindergartners) to read alone, or for parents of young school children to read aloud. The formula that all of the books follow may seem repetitive to parents, but kids find these books fascinating and comforting at once, because they know Jack and Annie are going to get home to Frog Creek. Pope Osborne is enormously successful at teaching and engaging children, and there’s something in this series for every kid, whether they’re into dolphins, pandas, painters, or pilgrims.” – Review from commonsensemedia.org

If I had more time, I would read all the Magic Tree House books. Well, realistically, probably not because they would probably get boring and annoying pretty fast. But after reading one of them last week, I’m on a Magic Tree House high and I want more. At this point, I could read the whole series! Let’s go, bring it on!

I googled ‘Magic Tree House reviews’ because I wanted to find something that would sum up why I put this series on my Wishlist and I believe the one from above does just that. It’s a great series to introduce chapter books to young readers. It is an exciting thing when a student moves from picture books to chapter books and there is no better way to do that then with a Magic Tree House book! Kids find these books fascinating while learning new information. The series does not only have great stories, but educational ones. To me, one of the best parts about this series is how well the author draws you in. She makes you feel like you are in the adventure along with Jack and Annie.

Because of all those reasons, the entire Magic Tree House series is on my Wishlist. I wish I had more time to read these books before the semester ends, but I won’t. But hey, that is only more motivation to keep reading children’s books after the semester! Magic Tree House books will be making my shelf in my future classroom.