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Moving time!

As a teacher, August is always one of my favorite months. There is so much promise & potential that comes with developing hopes and dreams for a new group of students (without yet having to contend with the mountain of phone calls, paper work, and logistics of the first month of school!). Although I’m thrilled to be returning to the same school this month (after 3 straight years of moving!), this post honors the teachers and students who will be transitioning in the fall. The books below are some of my favorites to read as a recently-moved teacher — or to students who may have just moved themselves.

Moving DayMoving Day by Ralph Fletcher, illustrated by Jennifer Emery
Ralph Fletcher is one of my favorite children’s authors (his Fig Pudding is an excellent longer read aloud!), and Moving Day is one of his best. The book tells the story of a boy who learns he is moving and has to deal with all of the emotions surrounding leaving his home. What makes the text unique, however, is that it’s told entirely in poems, each one building on the one before. Moving Day provides an excellent study of figurative language, and can be broken up into smaller parts (individual poems) or examined as a whole. It’s also a great text to use for exploring word choice, author’s intent, and the whole Craft & Structure band of the Common Core Standards.

Alexander Not MoveAlexander Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz
The Alexander books always make for great read alouds, and Alexander’s refusal to move and account of all he will miss is no exception. In addition to being great when read aloud, I’ve always loved using Alexander to help my students practice their own fluency and response to punctuation and emotion when writing. A paired reading of this book (students reading aloud, alternating pages) followed by a writing exercise examining Alexander’s motivations could be an excellent way for students to have some (fun!) fluency practice and then work on their writing & comprehension.

I Hate EnglishI Hate English! by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Steve Björkman
I was in Lolly’s Children’s Literature class when I was first introduced to this book, and I’ve loved using it with English language learners in reading groups. In I Hate English!, Mei Mei comes to America from Hong Kong and struggles with the idea of losing her Chinese identity in order to adopt an American one. One of the initial things I liked about this book is the way it portrays the language learning process – Mei Mei is incredibly quiet at first, even though we can see thoughts racing through her mind. With the help of a thoughtful teacher, she begins to use the English words she’s been taking in and starts feeling much better about being in New York.

AAre you there Margaretre You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume (for 6th grade & middle-school)
I have used this book in the past with 6th graders as they prepare to transition into middle school. It’s also one of my top 5 favorite books of all time, so I had to mention it. What I absolutely love about Are You There God is that it is such a good jumping off point for writing. Margaret, who is starting junior high and has just moved to a new town, grapples with some very heavy issues in this book, including friendship, personal identity, and the existence of God. As a former creative writing teacher, I loved using sections of this book to inspire my students to do their own reflective writing. I also have found that this book really transcends time — despite many of the more dated references, my 6th through 9th grade girls have always loved this book. And sometimes, that’s all we as teachers really want.




Elizabeth Maine About Elizabeth Maine

Elizabeth Maine is currently a K-6 language and literacy interventionist and coach in the Highline Public Schools just south of Seattle, WA. She has taught grades K-12 in various capacities over the last seven years and loves making connections between reading & writing and helping students of all ages find texts they love.

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