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Feathers | Class #4, 2016

stewart_feathers not just for flying

Birds are great animals to study because they are found everywhere, not just in rural areas. I love looking at books about birds around this time of year here in New England. The snow is starting to melt and — if you listen carefully early in the morning — you can hear new birds who […]

Dave the Potter | Class #4, 2016

Dave the Potter

Here’s a biography of someone we really know very little about. What do you make of Hill’s poem? Do you want to learn more? Do Collier’s illustrations fill in some gaps? The information at the end tells us more, but in fact we are still left with a mystery. Do Collier’s collages match the tone […]

Three articles about Dave the Potter | Class #4, 2016

Bryan Collier

In addition to the four information books we’re reading this week, there are also three articles from the July/August 2011 Horn Book Magazine related to Dave the Potter: Bryan Collier’s Coretta Scott King Award acceptance speech Profile of Bryan Collier by Marcia Wernick “Dave the Potter and Stevie the Reader” by Megan Lambert Personally, I […]

Chapter books | Class #3, 2016


This week we are reading three chapter books — The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series and each has a strong central character, an element that I think is essential in early […]

The Stories Julian Tells | Class #3, 2016

The Stories Julian Tells

The Stories Julian Tells is the first book in an ongoing series about brothers Julian and Hughie, and their neighbor Gloria. This is an early chapter book for readers who have acquired some fluency but aren’t ready to tackle longer books yet. The chapters are fairly short, there’s lots of conversation, the plot is easy […]

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key | Class #3, 2016

joey pigza

The Joey Pigza books are hugely popular with upper elementary kids. Joey Pigza is the first of the series and while it’s not spelled out, I think it’s pretty obvious that Joey has ADHD. I like sharing this book with teachers because they tend to look at the situations described in the book completely differently […]

The Birchbark House | Class #3, 2016

The Birchbark House

Louise Erdrich’s historical novel The Birchbark House is the first in a series, each book following a child from a different generation in an Ojibwa community. Often, books for children contain a central character who is about the same age as the book’s readers. The Birchbark House would be a tough read for most children […]

Two articles about chapter books | Class #3, 2016

Jack Gantos

This week in addition to our three chapter books, we are reading two articles. The first is Robin Smith’s piece about her road to becoming a second grade teacher who loves LOVES books, and how she shares them with her classes: “Teaching New Readers to Love Books” from the September/October 2003 Horn Book Magazine. The […]

Picture books and early readers | class #2, 2016


Now that our first class is done, we can move on to some in-depth reading and discussing. Last week we got our feet wet with two picture books, one a classic and the other a wordless exploration of culture. For our second class on March 31, we will read two more picture books, two easy […]

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild | Class #2, 2016

Mr Tiger

Mr. Tiger’s relationship with good manners — and his clothes — reflects a reality for lots of young children. They can try to be good for a while, but afterwards they just have to take a break and be themselves. The urge to let it all hang out is an old literary tradition. Straight-laced Edwardian […]