Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finding that 'Just Right' Book

If you're like me, you sometimes have trouble finding a 'just right book'. Because it's not just about how hard the words are. I can read all the words in every book in the library, but only some of them are 'just right' for me. I've discovered that a 'just right book' is one I enjoy reading.

I have to really like the characters to spend time with them in a book! Here's a tip. Once I've found a character I love, I know I will enjoy reading other books about them!

Now the Webster Public Library has created a website called The Children's Series Binder that makes it easy to find the all titles of books in a series by author or genre. Once you know the titles, start a Books I Want to Read booklist!

Did you just love reading about the adventures of the four friends in one of Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio books? A quick search on the Series Binder and I discovered that in addition to the 16 books in the Time Warp series, the author has also written 4 Time Warp Trio graphic novels.

Did you read Amber Brown is not a Crayon? Want to read more about Amber? Another search showed me the titles of all 9 Amber Brown books by Paula Danzinger and 6 more easy books about Amber written at a beginning reader level.

Reading books in a series is my number one tip for finding a 'just right' book!

Happy reading!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


In some of my literacy groups this month we have been using text sets to learn more about interesting topics like mummies, the state of New Hampshire and elephants.

A Text Set is a multi-genre collection that can include nonfiction books, poetry, realistic fiction, internet sites, and videos all related by a common element, topic, theme, or type of text (Opitz, 1998). Text sets are a great way to engage students. Using a variety of resources about one topic is an exciting and authentic way to teach students how to make text to text connections when they read, as well as to build background knowledge.

We are using graphic organizers to keep track of our thinking as we read. The organizers help us create a record of our connections, summarize important information, and share what we have learned with each other.

Friday, November 7, 2008


This month 4th graders in my literacy groups are learning how to use Collaborative Strategic Reading to understand nonfiction text.

CSR begins with a guided Preview of the text. We use the title, subtitles, pictures, captions, and glossary to make predictions about what we think the text will be about. We also make connections to the genre and our background knowledge to support our predictions.

Next we 'Click and Clunk' as we begin to read. 'Clicks' mean we are understanding what we read. When we come to a 'clunk' we stop, think and use a 'fix-up' strategy to figure out the hard parts.

Then we 'Get the Gist' of what we have read. We summarize the important parts in our own words by telling 'who or what' is the most important person or idea and why.

Finally, we Wrap Up our reading by asking and answering questions about what we have read.

We can use these strategies whenever we read to help us understand and remember information. They not only help us read better in social studies and science but will help us do better on reading tests, too!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We have spent time in our literacy groups this month creating community. We have practiced listening to each other and taking turns sharing our thinking because we learn so much from each other.

We have been focusing on monitoring our comprehension and learning a variety of strategies to 'fix-up' our understanding when we have trouble with an unknown word or get confused.

We have practiced rereading to learn how to increase our fluency and read out loud with phrasing and expression.

We have reviewed the difference between fiction and nonfiction and how to choose a 'just right' book for independent reading.

We have learned how to use an organizer to summarize the important elements in the books we are reading.

Next month we will learn some new strategies for reading nonfiction text.