Friday, December 28, 2012

Diary of a Wimpy Kid angst

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney is wildly popular with kids of all ages. To be honest with you, I don't like these books. Never did. However, I always buy copies because many students want to read this, or at least they want to see what it's all about. The copies never stay on the shelves for long.

In the past few weeks I've struggled with my 7-year-old grandson because he wants to read DWK. He's in the second grade and I think he is way too young to read this. The characters are in middle school, and they deal with middle school issues. 

At first I refused to let my grandson to read it. But then I realized he is actually enthusiastic about reading this. So instead of struggling with him (he wore me down), I make it my business to read this with him, and discuss the issues that we encounter in the story: bullying, name-calling, peer-pressure, pimples, etc.

Don't get me wrong. At school I don't discourage my young students from borrowing these titles. But at home, I not only wear a Library-Teacher hat, I also wear a Grandma hat. 

What do you think?  

Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

WrestleMania Reading Challenge 2012


Fifth grade students here at PS8x can participate in this year's WrestleMania Reading Challenge.
Students can read any genre (and not just wrestling books).
You can get more information at .

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fiction Shelving Dilemma

pic by Gibson, 2011
Today is Saturday and I woke up around 6 in the morning thinking about the Fiction shelving dilemma at my new school library. 
This is not good.
As a former middle school librarian, the fiction shelving was pretty straight forward. All the fiction titles were labeled F and that was that.  But in an elementary setting (K-5), it’s a different story (that was kind of a pun).  I have to shelve the fiction titles in a way that makes sense for my younger students, and for me.
The library I inherited has many books. I have a small section for Fiction titles. These books are labeled F for Fiction. Okay, no problem.
Then I have another section just for Picture fiction books. These books are labeled P for Picture books. Okay, I can deal with this.
Next I have a section for Easy fiction titles. These books are labeled E for Easy.  This is where things get dicey for me.
I don’t know about you, but I really dislike the designation of E for Easy.  When you have a student who is a struggling reader, the last thing you want to tell him/her is, “Here is an “Easy” book for you.  That hurts and insults them. And if you have a non-reader who can’t even read an “Easy” book, then what??  If I decide to keep an E section in this library (I still don’t know if I will), E will be for “Everyone”, and NOT “Easy”.
Now about those P is for Picture books. Many students (and lots of adults) mistakenly think that Picture books are easy to read. Some Picture books are indeed easy to read, while many are very hard to read. “Picture books” and “Easy books” (or E is for Everyone) even look the same: they are oversized books with big pictures. Can’t I just shelve the P and E books together?
As mentioned earlier, I have a small collection of F for Fiction titles. These books, unlike their E and P counterparts, all stand very nicely on the shelves. They are not oversized like the E and P books, so they don’t flop over. I like this. This makes my life easier.  But why are these books labeled F for Fiction while all the P and E books are also all Fiction?  Do you see why I woke up early this Saturday morning?
I hope to get some advice and different points of view. I need to get some S. That’s S for Sleep.

Friday, September 14, 2012

No fighting, no biting

     If your young students want to read a book with some subtle humor, then I recommend this classic by Minarik (author of the Little Bear series). Some things just never go out of style.
     Look carefully at the cover art. Two young children (Rosa and Willy) keep snipping at each other. Their older cousin Joan keeps telling them to settle down, to no avail. Joan finally teaches the two youngsters by telling them a humorous story about two naughty baby alligators (do you see the baby alligators in the cover art?). Readers will delight with the parallelism in the story.
     This book is ideal for independent reading for young readers. It has simple language and cute illustrations.  I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I read this book. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Little Prince

The Little Prince
     I've finally finished rereading The Little Prince. This is one of those books I recommend ALL educators and parents revisit every year. Why? Author Antoine de Saint-Exupery reminds us Grown-Ups why we must never lose sight of the importance of childhood.  When I say childhood, I mean kids age 2-99. Childhood is important business. It's fleeting and fragile as a rose. Roses, as children, need constant care, regardless how tired and busy we become.
     The character little prince meets an assortment of adult characters who I hope never to resemble. Some of these odious characters remind me of real people I know. 
     If you are interested in reading this Classic, I have a few copies in the library. You can also download it on your ereader. If you want to read it aloud, you might consider having discussions about the different Grown-Up characters the little prince encounters.  Just be prepared for some insightful observations from your young readers!
     Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Attributes of Successful People

Here is a gem I stumbled across.

Successful People…
Unsuccessful People…
Have a sense of gratitude
Have a sense of entitlement.
Forgive others.
Hold a grudge.
Give other people credit for their victories.
Take all the credit of their victories.
Accept responsibilities for their failures.
Blame others for their failures.
Read every day.
Watch TV every day.
Keep a journal.
Say they keep a journal but really don’t.
Talk about ideas.
Talk about people.
Want others to succeed.
Secretly hope others fail.
Share information and data.
Horde information and data.
Keep a “to-be” list.
Don’t know what they want to be.
Exude joy.
Exude anger.
Keep a “to-do/project list”.
Fly by the seat of their pants.
Continuously learn.
Think they already know everything.
Embrace change.
Fear change.
Operate from a transformational perspective.
Operate from a transactional perspective.

I believe its from this self-improvement book by Patrick Bet-David Doing The Impossible: The 25 Laws for Doing The Impossible
As we begin another school year, we need to always remember how important to help each other. I hope to revisit this from time to time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

     This is a classic in children's literature...the "meat and potato" of books...Young James Henry Trotter loses his parents and is shuffled off to live with two hideous and abusive aunts. He then meets up with a strange (and sometimes cranky) mix of insect characters. Together they embark on an adventure of a lifetime, in a giant peach, of course! 
     Interestingly enough, some schools have actually banned or challenged this title. 
I like this book, especially as a read-aloud because the plot really moves along, and the short chapters leave young listeners yearning for more.
     This summer I read the book to my 7 year old and he was appalled by the wicked Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. I suggest teachers be prepared for their students' reactions to the two Aunts. Some children come from homes where abusive language is part of life, and may be very sensitive to the subject.   

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wilma Rudoph, superstar Olympian

      I wish I were in London to witness the Summer 2012 Olympics.  Since I cannot go anywhere this summer, I'm watching it on TV instead. My favorite event is track and field because I really love to run.
      Here I want to tell you about one of my favorite superstar Olympic athletes. Her name was Wilma Rudoph and she rocked the world in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome Italy.  She surprised everyone with her speed and determination. You can read her amazing life story in Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull. It's a picture book that's illustrated by David Diaz. Teachers will love to read this book aloud because the story moves quickly and the illustrations are bold, colorful, and full of life.
      If you enjoy reading graphic novels, then try Wilma Rudolph: Olympic Track Star by Lee Engfer. It looks and feels like a comic book, and it's biographical.

       Did you watch any of the Summer 2012 Olympics? What is your favorite sport?