Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Goodnight Goon! A Petrifying Parody September 30, 2008

Filed under: books,picture books,read alouds,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:28 pm
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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown was one of my children’s all time favorite books to have read to them when they were little. I have to admit, I liked it almost as much as they did and can still recite the thing from memory! We also loved the sequel to Goodnight Moon, My World. There’s just something about that little bunny!

I was really tickled to find Goodnight Goon at Cover to Cover when I was there last week with the Central Ohio KidLit Bloggers. Not only do the words parody the original story, but the illustrations do as well.

“In the cold gray tomb

There was a gravestone

And a black lagoon

And a picture of__”

Instead of a cute little bunny in his bed with his watchful mother nearby, there is a little werewolf tucked in his bed with his daddy werewolf making a voodoo doll nearby. I can just imagine the fun I am going to have reading this aloud, not just to my children, but to all the classes I come in contact with over the upcoming month! I think children will love examining all the details in the illustrations and that this “petrifying parody” will inspire a lot of readers to go dust off their old copy of Goodnight Moon and read it with a whole new appreciation! 



Audiobook: Runemarks September 29, 2008

Filed under: books,kidlitosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:36 pm
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I actually started listening to Runemarksby Joanne Harris last April in what used to be a short commute to my school. I find audio books to be a relaxing way to clear my mind in between the craziness of mornings with young children and the time crunch to get to school.  The audio book does have 14 discs (I love the voice they have reading the book) so I didn’t get it done before the school year ended. I finally finished with the start of my new job (I’m in the car more than I have ever been-I used to have a 10 minute commute from home to the school).

The main character Maddie is a young girl in what could be a village in the future or in the past (yeah fantasy genre!). She is very isolated and unaccepted by everyone, including her own father and sister, due to a mark (runemark) she was born with on her hand. She has some unusual talents (think magical) that keep the other villagers viewing her as suspect. Things never go quite as she had planned and Maddie does not really have any one person to stand up for her.

She finally makes friends with a traveler named One-Eye, who comes through her village once a year.  It is through her relationship with One-Eye that Maddie finds an escape from her horrid treatment by the villagers. Dreams and any kind of thinking for yourself are forbidden by the people who rule the community and a conflict rises again between those “marked” or chosen and those who have “The Word” (think Inquisition from history).

Adventure and danger, an epic battle, and well defined characters keep drawing me back in when on occassion I was deterred by the length of the overall book or a few slightly slower passages.

I think this book would be best appreciated by middle student students on up who have the background knowledge about mythology and Norse gods.  That background knowledge should really help make this book a new favorite with the YA group.


Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:49 pm
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A friend of mine from my adult book club sent me a post about a new blog on School Library Journal. It is called Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog and it is for people (like me, as well as my friend) who like to try to predict the Newbery ahead of time.  If you like to read KidLit and want to try to pick the Newbery ahead of time or talk over award worthy books with other people who like KidLit-give this blog a try!


Holy Cow-What a nice surprise! September 28, 2008

Filed under: blogs,books,kidlitosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:19 pm
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Thanks Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading!
I’ve been tagged from their blog after they receiving a nod from Charlotte’s Library blog.

Here are the rules for I heart your blog:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!  


Seven Other Blogs that I think have not been mentioned so far are:

Jen Robinson’s Book Page-She sends out a great free newsletter. Her reviews are very detailed and she also provides information about other “going-ons” in the  world.

Two Writing Teachers-great lessons, great photos and documents, great advice-very inspiring! While very different, I enjoy posts by both members of the team-Stacey and Ruth

The Reading Zone-I like reading what is going on in her classroom, and like that you can be passionate about literacy and science!

A Patchwork of Books-a wonderful blog-read her reviews and click on the links to purchase them through Amazon.

My Breakfast Platter-a sixth grade teacher’s perspective

A Wrung Sponge– I like her combination of poetry, haiku, and children book reviews. I think it’s a great example of how a mentor text (in this case the Haiku form) can be used to craft your language.

The Miss Rumphius Effect– literature, teaching, poetry-it’s got it all


Now this one isn’t a blog, but if you haven’t checked it out, you are missing out on some great teaching resources! Beth Newingham’s website


Spelling Strategies and Patterns

I picked up this book at the Lakota Literacy VIEW conference this summer, but 
have just recently had the opportunity to read through it. I have to say this is one spelling book that I really like and does not overwhelm me. I think it would be a nice complement to the Lucy Calkins’ writing Units of Study our intermediate teachers are using. 

Two years ago our district had a year-long Literacy Committee that teachers from each building were able to apply to be a part. We started with research reading, developed district literacy belief statements and went through to materials review and adoption. Our kindergarten through third grades are using the Reading Streets series, including the spelling component. Fourth and Fifth grade received components including Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for writing and Comprehension Toolkit for grades 3-6. Last year was the first year of use of the new materials.

Spelling was an area that we decided to evaluate separately and now I guess it is time to take a look. Kindergarten through third have put enough work into using Reading Streets that they are not willing to look at a different program and I don’t blame them. Middle and High School are trucking along, since it is a smaller issue for them.  It is the fourth through sixth grade where we need to take a look at options and find something the building can agree on. A teacher from each grade went to the new Rebecca Sitton’s spelling training last year, and while there are really good parts, all felt it was too overwhelming and that they would rather put the energy and time into developing a solid writing program.

If anyone uses a program for spelling that the LOVE, please leave a comment. Actual teacher thoughts on materials are so much more helpful than what the publisher wil tell you!

I think I’ll enlist a few teachers to see what they think about working this new spelling program into what we already do at the intermediate level.  While spelling is important for this age group, it can’t be at the expense of precious reading and writing minutes!


Central Ohio KidLit Bloggers September 27, 2008

Filed under: books,kidlithosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:40 pm
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Click to play Cover to Cover
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Teacher Swap 2008

Filed under: blogs,kidlithosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:52 pm
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 We made it before the deadline! As part of the swap, the participants were supposed to mail each other’s “swap items” by September 30th. Normally this would mean I’d be mailing it on that date a few minutes before the post office closed. But due to the generosity of some fellow bloggers and a sprinkle of good mojo/karma, I got to do my teacher swap in person.  Megan from Read, Read, Read and I were randomly assigned each other at The Teacher Swap on The Reading Zone.  Several other bloggers had decided to have a get-together for books and breakfast (since Kidlit Conference in  Portland, Oregon was just too far away) and both Megan and I were fortunate enough to be invited to join them. So Megan from Dayton and me from Licking County, met up with the group this morning. I just got home from a get-together with the Central Ohio Kidlitosphere Book Bloggers.Despite going to the wrong restaurant for the breakfast part, things were great (I didn’t know there were two Northstar Cafe on High Street.


Wow-Megan is creative and crafty! 6 items plus a homemade card and bookmark!

S-Something fun to write on during long meetings!

C-colorful tools to keep you busy…(Sharpies)

H-a Hairy Distrcation (a set of hairstyle playing cards-my favorite is the mullet!)

O-One more Professional Book-Becoming a Literacy Leader by Jennifer Allen (expect a review soon!)

O-A teacher always organizes (even her pasttimes and hobbies!)

L-Lazy Day Treats-chocolates and Hot Tamales (my favorite-I don’t know if you can tell, but the box is open since I ate a few on the way home!)


Thanks Megan, Cover to Cover, and other Ohio kidlit bloggers!


I Love Schools!

Filed under: school — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:00 am
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I had the opportunity to go see a school in a different district this afternoon. The staff had a work day, so I didn’t get to see teachers in action, but I did get to see how many of them have their rooms set up and see how they set up their Primary Literacy Folders that follow the students from kindergarten through third grade. What a smart idea. The one kindergarten room where I got the most in-depth tour has a reading loft, an amazing word wall, and organization that would put Martha Stewart to shame (if she was a teacher). The teacher painted three large coffee cans and added some fronds to the top to make her very own Chick-a-Chick-a Boom-Boom tree-since the cans are metal-magnetic letters attach and can “climb” up the tree! So cute! The room is truly another teacher for her students.  Her word wall has student names, photos of the students who are “experts” for that letter wearing a very cute letter visor, a book that has a sentence with that letter. She has two different whole group meeting areas, a science area, and has attached short section of vinyl gutter to the wall to display books with the covers facing out. I always find the best ideas when I get to talk to other teachers and see how they use their space. If you ever have the opportunity to go to another school, take it so you can be inspired as well!!  


Classroom beautiful-Kindergarten! September 26, 2008

Filed under: school — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:16 pm
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Click to play Class Kgn visit
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Laughter is the best sanity saver September 25, 2008

Filed under: motherhood — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:37 am

P: Mom do you have a plain earring?

M: What?

P: A plain earring?

M: No, why?

P: I want to wear an earring to school today

M: WHAT?! Why? 

P: I want to wear an earring to school today so I look like a home-y

M: WHAT?! What is a home-y? And anyway 6 year old boys don’t wear earrings!

P: Um

M: You can tell me I won’t get mad

P: Just a home-y

M: Are there other home-ys in your class at school?

P: No, not really 

M: Ok, you can be a home-y for Halloween but not a regular day at school – and where did you hear about home-ys?

P: I just figured it out…

M: Well, it is time to get on the bus

P: I know a 6 year old girl that wears earrings to school

M: That’s different, enough now!