Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Books!

So after finding a needle in the haystack (these warehouse sales are often in really obscure locations), I entered the room (it was a much smaller location than I am accustomed to) and thought, "hmm...where do I begin?"

The easiest? Start from the left and move through each of the bins. At first, I grabbed titles I knew I didn't have. Then, after three armloads, I began thinking about particular students and their needs.

I don't have a classroom right now, so I began thinking about R in my former class -- struggles with fluency and vocabulary, plus is a boy with low reading motivation/high sports motivation. I picked a few levelled sports books -- some nonfiction, some fiction with a sports theme. Next, I thought about A, an excellent reader...a girl, gobbling up everything in sight, needing a challenge, yet needs material appropriate for an 8 year old. I got 12 Birthdays, another novel by the same author as 11 Birthdays, and a few other titles based on the authors who wrote them.

As I picked a book, I had a child in mind, and ran it through my guidelines/questions.

Would I pick it up?
Do I know the author?
What is the subject matter?
What structure - how big is the font, how are the chapters broken down, how long?
I read the blurb of course...believable/relatable characters and storyline?
Was I curious?
Was I confused?
Did I want to keep reading or put it down? Why?
I read a few would I talk about it with a reader? What did I think?

That's what you do. Put it through the paces YOURSELF AS A READER. Chances are, if you like it, they will too.

The other thing I have found is that if I can find a connection or a way to enjoy it, I can SUGGEST that to my readers. I can show the excitement, and they will, because we all are human and want to get in on what others are enjoying.

Take last night at the ballfield. The younger siblings of our team were all scattered in and around the bleachers. We have all ages. Nick is the youngest at 2, and the oldest is probably 6. One of the kids had just bought a paperback book from his school book fair and had brought it with him. I caught sight of it and said, "Hey buddy! Can I read your new book? It looks so interesting? I just LOVE dinosaurs (an exaggeration) and it looks funny because it has UNDERWEAR in the title!"

He sat down, a bit hesitantly, but I began gushing. "Wow! Look at this endpage! It has all types of underwear! Which is your favorite?" He looked at me funny. "I like the cow print ones," I added. "They are silly."

He smiled and pointed to a pair of blue ones. "I like those - they are like armor." I praised him for his choice, especially because the book involved move.

So I began reading (animatedly, of course) and it was like a magnet...soon I had all the siblings sitting around me, rapt.

Excitement for books is contagious...try it.

Oh, and as for those Scholastic books...I got 70 of them for under 200 bucks...pretty good deal.

I had laid them out on the office floor to inventory, and when my boys came home, I told them to go take a peak. You would have thought it was Christmas all over again. "YEA - mom, did you get this for ME?" "AWESOME!" "I don't know what to read first!"

I wish that for all kids...keep reading here and I will keep the ideas coming!

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