Best Book I Have Not Read

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

You know it’s been too long August 9, 2014

Filed under: book clubs,reluctant readers,school,Teachers,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:51 am
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when you can’t figure out how to post on your blog

you can’t remember the title of the last children or YA book you’ve read

you’ve only been to your favorite children’s bookstore once in 6 months


Somehow I find a reference

to a couple of women

who were written about in Reading Today

and summarized on Marshall Memo

who have a blog

and the most awesome ideas ever!
and now I want to be just like them

which means…

I need to come out of the world of district administration for at least a little while each week

and read more books

and talk to more kids

and get them as excited about reading as I am reading about their brilliant ideas.

Check out Crazy Reading Ladies at their blog or on Twitter!



4th Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge May 24, 2010

Filed under: reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:31 pm
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Coming up in two weeks (June 4th -6th) is Mother Reader’s 4th annual 48 Hour Book Challenge. I’ve been working on my TBR pile for a couple weeks now, but keep reading the books that I meant to read that weekend! I’m also looking forward to taking a break to have breakfast with Central Ohio KidLit bloggers and a trip to Cover to Cover. It doesn’t get much better than that in my book!


Great new PD book… March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:09 pm
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Well, Saturday is TC’s reunion weekend and since I can’t head to it (can’t convince my husband that NYC is “just a road trip”) I’m doing the next best thing and reading the new book by TC staff developer Jen Serravallo-Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Differentiated Instruction for Building Strategic, Independent Readers.
I’m only on chapter 3, but I’m very excited about it and highly recommend it!


Once Upon a School January 1, 2010

Filed under: authors,reading-writing connection,school,writing — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:05 am
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My husband came home talking about the Pirate Supply Store and their tutoring center sometime in the past year. He is a big fan of TED “Ideas Worth Spreading” tv and had seen the video of author Dave Eggers’ 2008 TED award acceptance speech. In addition, one of the guys who works for him has a friend who is affiliated with the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. I’m surprised I haven’t posted about it already.

“Founded in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia is dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the writing. Our work is based on the understanding that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success and that great leaps in learning can be made when skilled tutors work one-on-one with students.”

I love his dream!


16th Annual July Institute on Teaching Reading at TCRWP June 16, 2009

Here’s the highlights of yesterday’s mail–

Section Assignment: 4B

8:00 Registration Lerner Hall (on Columbia University’s Main Campus)

9:00 Keynote

10:00-11:50 Grades 3-8 Large Group-Lucy Calkins

11:50 Lunch

12:50-2:50 Small Group-leader Tiffany Nealy

2:55 Closings

We’ll receive ‘The Trail Guide’ (There was one of these for the Reunion Weekend-VERY HELPFUL to get yourself around) at registration, need name tag for all .

We’ll also receive a copy of The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins, which we can turn in with a voucher for a different professional book if we already have it. I think it is one of the best books out there, and was rereading parts this morning. I’ll probably see what the other choices are, but probably keep it to use as a door prize for one of the back to school teacher meetings. If you are a K-8 teacher and you have not read the book, get yourself a used copy off Amazon for $24.00 (instead of $47 at the college bookstore) and start reading this summer! You’ll be so glad you did. 

For July’s Institute, I am driving from Ohio with my friend (the one whose very kind parents put me up for the last Institute) and her three young children. It should be a 11 1/2 hour drive, but seeing how it is a holiday weekend, that is probably  a low guess. I’m counting on children’s “Are we there yet questions?” not bothering me as much when they aren’t my own children (crossing my fingers!) Then the next day we’ll see how good my memory is from spring when I got myself from her parents house to Columbia everyday by train, subway and cab. Once there, I will stay in campus housing, which should bring back some fun memories! Seeing how summer is just starting this week for me, it seems a long way away. In reality, it is 19 days away. My husband is in denial and keeps asking, “When are you going to be gone?” and is sure the house will sell, we’ll have to move, and the world will spin out of orbit during the week I am gone. I guess I should take that as a compliment.


Should Kids Read Ahead of Grade Level? Conversation continued… June 13, 2009

Filed under: reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:27 pm

By the time I read Jen Robinson’s post and the related Babble post, I had had conversations with three different individuals this past week on versions of the same topic. I think it was Kylene Beers who started her book When Kids Can’t Read with a story about her daughter reading To Kill a Mockingbird three years in a row. By the third time she read it for school, she thought the first version was an abridged version.

So should my entering fifth-grade daughter read Twilight? She wants to read it since she has classmates who have read it and raved about. I have seen students as young as third grade walking around with it at school, proudly turned cover out so they can show everyone what they are reading. For me the answer is no, not right now. That won’t be the decision others make for their child and that is their right. Neither do kindergartners need to be reading Moby Dick, just because they know the words.

There are a great deal of books that families can enjoy together, picture books, children’s books, classics. There’s no need to rush them through the great books for young people into books intended for adult.

My two cents.


Reading Girls January 18, 2009

Filed under: books — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:46 pm

Three cousins enjoying a book I received at SSCO Children’s Lit review.  img_1447


What I’m Reading December 16, 2008

Filed under: books — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:45 pm
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If I could figure out how to make reading full-time job, it would be really tempting.  I am kind of a compulsive (or maybe neurotic) reader and must have a book(s) with me. I carry one with me at all times in my bag, have another in the car in case I get stuck in really bad traffic or have to wait for someone, listen to one on CD on my way to and from work, have one next to the couch where I will sit to relax if I have the chance in the evenings, one next to my bed, and probably a few others, not counting professional journals or magazines.  Currently I am somewhere in the middle of reading:

In car-The Uglies by Scot Westerfeld (gets least reading amount)

CD-100 Cupboards by  N. D. Wilson (depends of day/week how much gets listened to)

bag-Talking, Drawing, Writing by Horn & Giacobbe (gets most reading minutes)

couch-Synchronizing Success by Maren Koepf (making my way through steadily in 10 minute chunks)

bed-Mr. Pip by Lloyd James (keep falling asleep after a couple pages)

It doesn’t bother me to jump around from book to book and in terms of professional reading, it keeps me motivated to get through them, knowing that I don’t have a deadline and can read as I have time.  The stack of next reads from NCTE is almost a little too big and I keep looking through it, but not starting a new one. Maybe this weekend, but only if I decide not to bake any Christmas cookies this year.


Who Is Jenna Fox? November 30, 2008

jenna-fox3I started reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox on the way home from NCTE after getting a copy autographed by Mary Pearson.


I had read several great reviews of the book including: Jen Robinson’s, Semicolon, The Ya,Ya, Yas,  The Well-Read Child, and The Reading Zone.  

Pam, Dana and I had plotted to have our own GMS “Finer Things” Club at lunch (a reference to the show The Office) and Th Adoration of Jenna Fox was to be our first topic. Their books are in UPS boxes on the way from Texas. My copy was in my possession and they didn’t want me to read it early and spoil the club. (Just like teachers-now don’t read ahead!)

I’m betting they haven’t had a chance to check my blog this holiday week, but now that I am done with Breaking Dawn, I’m back to reading Jenna Fox again.  Don’t tell them. I don’t think it will diminish the fun of talking about the book. It is fabulous, mysterious, and thought-provoking. 

A discussion guide for the book was being handed out at NCTE as well and referenced the following:  Who is Jenna Fox? website. It has a book trailer, an e-mail time capsule, down-loadable extras.

Here is the book trailer.


Mystery Reader November 11, 2008

Filed under: books,parent involvement,read alouds,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:28 pm
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Another great idea that I got from Beth Newingham is Mystery Reader. It is a great, non-threatening (for both parent, as well as the teacher) way to involve parents in your classroom. It would really work at any grade level and would work just as well if there was multiple grade levels in the building that do it. I used it with my fourth grade classroom, but think my first grade teaching friends would really like this idea as well. Parents sign-up for a slot (about 20 minutes) to come in and share a favorite book with the class. The week leading up to their visit, the teacher reads one clue that points to the reader’s identity.  I had it set up to e-mail a reminder to the parent a week and a half out, reminding them of their appointment and asking them to e-mail their clues. Clues usually started general (I’ve always had a pet), to more specific as the week wore on.

There are so many benefits to this project, I can’t even name them all. Kids loved guessing who was coming and it was always amazing to kids if there was a Mystery Reader who stumped them all. We had aunts, grandparents, the school principal, guidance counselor, special education teachers, etc. as well as parents over the year.  It really helped build the classroom community as students found out their were similarities (or differences) not only between them, but between their parents. Parents LOVED having a genuine, authentic experience in the classroom. Some would bring their favorite childhood book, their children’s favorite childhood book, a book that related to what we were studying, or one related to their profession. 

Things I had planned on doing a little differently this year, was incorporating Franki Sibberson’s suggestion of having parents bring their “stack” of current reads. Cookbooks, magazines, book club books, how-to manuals-all great ways to help students see that reading if for life and include so many different things!

Click the link to see Beth Newingham’s Invite and personalize it for your use. If you still aren’t sure it will be the best thing since sliced bread, try it once a month, once a quarter, have other staff members be the mystery readers during their planning period. Mystery Readers-it does a classroom good!

Mystery Reader Invite