Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Books for Teachers June 24, 2009

Filed under: books,Calkins,independent reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:25 pm
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I had the privilege (really read-giant blast) of purchasing books for teachers again. I’m not sure there is much greater fun for me in the world! These are books for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade independent reading within classrooms. 

AlvinHoHere are some of the newest gems I am so excited about:

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look

Mudshark by Gary Paulsen

The Kind of Friends We Used to Be by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino

Extra Credit by Andrew Clements

City I Love by Lee Bennett Hopkins

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson 

Billie Standish was Here by Nancy Crocker

Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers by Angie Sage


 I am embracing the idea put forth by Lucy Calkins in The Art of Teaching Reading regarding independent reading-(Oops-you can tell I got distracted during writing. The reference to Calkins’ Chapter 17-September in a 2-8 Grade Reading Workshop: Reading with Stamina and Comprehension)-One of the sections is titled “Reading Easy Books with Understanding”. Calkins recommends that “every teacher of reading starts the year by steadfastly directing children toward reading a lot of easy book, and reading these books fluently and smoothly, with clear comprehension, and at a good pace” (p. 339). Calkins states that this is a TEMPORARY goal-I loved this section! It so clearly puts in words what I have known about students, but had a hard time explaining to parents who fret about their fourth grader loving Babymouse or insisting that they are ready to reading Twilight at the beginning of fourth grade.  Often parents’ sense of self is so tied to their child being a good reader that they have a hard time seeing the trees in the forest. This has continued to be a big issue every year I taught fourth grade.

Calkins also has a great section in this chapter about how often students use their desire to be a good reader by picking books to “read” that showcase their future selves, rather than their current reading selves.  


Here are some of the other titles I bought for their classrooms.

Percy Jackson and the Olympiads series by Rick Riordan

The Warriors: Code of the Clans by Erin Hunter

39 Clues Series   

Babymouse Series by Jennifer Holm

Castaways of the Flying Dutchmen series by Brian Jacques

The Mysterious Benedict Society #1 & #2 by Trenton Lee Stewart

Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism Series by Georgia Byng

Patricia Reilly Giff books


For my own reading pleasure I picked up When Readers Struggle by Pinnell and Fountas and plan on reading all the new books I can before giving them to the teachers in August. 

My daughter picked News for Dogs by Lois Duncan, the sequel to Hotel for Dogs and The Pocket Daring Book for Girls: Wisdom & Wonder by Andrea Buchanan. news for dogs

My son picked by Roscoe Riley Rules #6: Never Walk in Shoes That Talk by Katherine Applegate, Magic Tree House #34, and The Curious Boy’s Book of Adventure by Sam Martin. He is still obsessed with us reading all the Hardy Boy original books aloud to him, but he sometimes takes a break for other things 🙂


Lost and Found Twins August 13, 2008

Filed under: books,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:08 pm
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Lost and Found by Andrew Clements

Who is this man?

I love Andrew Clements. I wanted to be clear of my bias right from the start. I love teachers who are also authors or go onto become published authors.  I particularly love introducing my fourth graders to an author that they can love as much as me. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl, Clements hits it right on the head for the intermediate aged reader. Lost and Found was not a disappointment.  The story of twin boys who have moved to a new town was one I was interested in right away as there are FIVE sets of twins coming up into fourth grade this year in my relatively small town.  I knew I was due to have one complete set and two partial sets (Isn’t that a yucky way to describe them? No wonder Jay and Ray did what they did!) within my classroom and already struggled with knowing which identical twin was which, not something I was proud of as I pride myself on knowing almost every child in the grade level. 

Jay and Ray are constantly mistaken for each other and when the opportunity arises (a school clerical error-now those neverhappen) when they move to a new town to be one person, rather than a “set”, they decide to deal with the consequences later and try their plan to just be “one” person. The brothers take turns staying home sick from school and soon realize their plan is a little more complicated than getting to have every other day off to watch tv and goof off. The lies pile up quickly until…

In addition to the two main characters, there is a great character Mrs. Cardiff, school nurse! There is a hallmark adult in each of Clement’s novels that helps pull the story together in a way that makes it believable and Mrs. Cardiff is this novel’s adult.

Unlike Bernetta Wallflower, the boys do end up getting busted and having consequences galore. While dishonesty did not pay in this book, the issues identical twins deal with was given an original treatment and gives readers, as well as parents and teachers, something to think about in their relationships with twins.

Another successful Andrew Clements novel!

While my all time favorite happens to be The School Story,  there is a whole site dedicated to Frindle, Clements first novel.

If you teach middle aged students and you don’t know Andrew Clements work you need to! I do feel he is the Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume of the decade so far.