Happy Mother’s Day!

9 05 2014

AreyoumymotherReading to your child is the greatest gift a child can receive. Make a special time to cuddle and laugh while sharing a book. My daughter, Kate, is having the best time with Will. She started reading with him when he was five months old. She says he loves books with pictures of babies and especially Peek-a-who? He anticipates seeing himself in a mirror at the end of the story.


Use this link for suggestions and downloadable book marks.

What is your favorite “mother” book? Mine is “Are You My Mother?”


Choices Chats Part II

3 03 2014

I couldn’t put everything in the earlier blog about Choices Chats.  I am ecstatic to see the regulars coming weekly and bringing a friend.  Sometimes kids just eat lunch and listen but they usually come with a book to present the following week.  I guess I never envisioned Choices Chats to be so popular.


We met with two new groups for the first time-7th and 8th grade.  Sixth grade breezed in and began chatting.  Several kids talked about books that were turned into movies (Ender’s Game and Lightning Thief).  Everyone agreed that the books were way better than the movies and they hoped that Divergent remains loyal to the book.  They are also excited about Lois Lowry’s The Giver film coming in August.  All three grades remarked on how much they enjoy discussing books they have independently selected and sharing with friends. Seventh grade was extremely excited about the Richard Paul Evans series:  Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25.   Here are the selections from OMS.hidden maximum Michael Vey son of neptune starwars stormchaser the cay titan

Choices Chats is here to stay!

3 03 2014

death mountain deathcatchers garfield Goosebups green berets hair in toothbrushChoices Chats has been regularly meeting Tuesdays with 5th graders at Two Mile Prairie (TMP) and Oakland Middle (OMS) on Wednesdays.  Oakland has three Chats going to serve 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  Attendance is going well with about 10-14 students in each group. Eighth grade is just starting out and while we only had 1 student last week, we anticipate more this week.  Here is an update on the books kids are independently selecting, reading and talking about.

TMP-5th Grade

Featured above are the books presented at Choices Chats at TMP.  The number of series books was interesting to me.  Kids said they like reading series because they provide more information to familiar settings and characters, such as Camp Half Blood in Titan’s Curse.  Several readers concurred they have read the Warriors series several times.  One student told another she wouldn’t have to purchase any of the Warriors series she couldn’t find.  He had the complete set, and she was welcome to use any of them.  Readers also cited that the first book in the series sets the stage for more adventures, and they liked meeting up with favorite characters again.  I was excited to see that several of the students were progressing through the series and presenting the next book each week.  Although I would like them to branch out a little but I know how I am when I get into a new mystery series.  It is like I am 11 years old and reading Nancy Drew again!

dewey emerald Every minute ranger 4 silver eyes titan warriors


13 02 2014

Choices Chats met for the first time after Children’s Choices Project had concluded.  Now, as requested by students, we are meeting weekly to present and discuss books completely selected by students.  This is totally voluntary and is a drop-in program although students must request a pass from their Language Arts teachers to be excused from the lunchroom. I thought you might find it interesting what students are independently selecting to read and present at Choices Chats.

Two Mile Prairie Fifth Graders

The Kind of Friends We Used to Be-Dowell                            Mockingjay-Collins

The Ruins of Gorlan #1 (Ranger’s Apprentice)-Flanagan      Big Nate-Peirce

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja #10 (Ranger’s Apprentice-Flanagan

A Rick Riordan book                                                                     Allegiant (Divergent Series)-Roth

Oakland Middle 6th Graders

Goosebumps-Don’t Scream-Stine                                             Remember Me-Pike

The Dead and the Buried-Harrington                                       Slide-Hathaway

Ender’s Game-Card

Oakland Middle 7th Graders

Friends With Boys-Hicks                                                              Games-Gorman

Tell-Tale Heart (graphic novel)-Poe                                          Uglies (The Uglies)-Westerfeld

The Long Way Home (The Homelanders)-KlavanPENTAX Imagecat-in-the-hat

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday and Read Across America is Monday, March 3.  Go to the NEA website: http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm  for loads of ideas on celebrating with your school, library and children. And don’t forget about readwritethink: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/calendar-activities/read-across-america-celebrates-20455.html

I organized a community event where readers came to every classroom at my school.  Guests were greeted at the door by students wearing Cat in the Hat hats and escorted to the library.  A light breakfast was served, and guest readers were given 2-3 pre-selected books, book marks for each child and a reading oath to share.  Each classroom sent two students to pick up their guest reader in the library and brought them to their classroom.  Student photographers roamed the building to record the event!  Teachers and students decorated a special “reading” chair for their guest reader and made a “reading” certificate for their guest.  Last of all each classroom wrote individual or a group thank-you note which I mailed.

Readers’ Oath by Debra Angstead, Missouri NEA

Students pledge to become life-long readers.  The guest reader led the students in reciting this after reading to them.

I promise to read

Each day and each night.

I know it’s the key

To growing up right.

I’ll read to myself,

I’ll read to a crowd.

It makes no difference

If silent or loud.

I’ll read at my desk

At home and at school,

On my bean bag or bed,

By the fire or pool.

Each book that I read

Puts smarts in my head,

Cause brains grow more thoughts

The more they are fed.

Dr (2)

I Love Reading Lunch and so do kids, principals, teachers, Lunch room supervisors, and parents!

5 02 2014

Reading Lunch

Reading Lunch is my favorite of all the reading promotional programming I have initiated in my school libraries.  I like it because it is FREE, promotes recreational reading, provides informal discussions, and kids, principals, teachers, and families love it!  I began Reading Lunch at Barnett Shoals Elementary in Athens, GA in 1992 and continued it at Coile Middle School also in Athens.  Reading Lunch was part of the Indian Paintbrush Elementary, Laramie, WY menu of Reading Promotional activities for three years until 2010.  Also Reading Lunch relieves the cafeteria of students sometimes twenty to thirty students.  So the noise level is reduced!!

What is Reading Lunch?

Reading Lunch is a voluntary four day per week session where students bring their lunches to the library and is read to by the librarian.  Students eat and listen while a high-quality and/or engaging novel is read for twenty minutes.  The librarian book talks four books for a semester’s reading lunch session.  Reading Lunch begins the second week of school.  A second set of four titles are book talked and read second semester.  Titles are carefully selected and cover a range of genres, award-winning titles, and series.  Book talks are meticulously prepared so students are begging to come to Reading Lunch.  Check out the Reading Lunch tab on this blog for a description of a reading lunch routine, rules, and some successful books and book talks that have been used!  I will continue to post one new book talk a week on this blog to get you started.

The article I used to help me get started with Reading Lunch: “Practically Speaking: Have a Story Lunch”, School Library Journal, October, 1986 p.120.

Sample Book Talk for Reading Lunch

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Moses “Mo” LoBeau has a mysterious life.  Eleven years ago, she was discovered floating on a raft downstream after a fierce hurricane blew through the tiny town of Tupelo Landing, NC.  Baby Mo was rescued from the rushing water by the Colonel. However, the Colonel is suffering from amnesia and has no memory of who he was or why he was at the creek when the hurricane struck.  The Colonel and his partner, Miss Lana, now own and operate the only café in town.  Mysteries seem to follow Mo.  Who was her mother and how did they become separated? Who is the Colonel and why did he develop amnesia?  Determined to find out, Mo puts messages in bottles and drops them in the creek for someone to help her find her “Upstream Mother”.  But searching for her mother is interrupted when local curmudgeon and tightwad, Mr. Jesse, is found murdered.  Mo’s best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, is a suspect since he stole Mr. Jesse’s boat.  Now Mo must use her detective skills to prove Dale is innocent but also discover who the murderer is before someone else dies?  To find out who murdered Mr. Jesse, who is the Colonel, and where is Mo’s mother, come and listen to:  Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

reading lunch2



Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, Newbery Honor Book

Winter Weather keeps us from chatting and Reading Lunch!

5 02 2014

Lunch Chats beginning soon!

Winter has kept us from meeting this week here in Missouri.  This is the third day of school cancellation due to ice and snow.  We will begin next week.  Look at all the ARCs I received from publishers at ALA MidWinter in Philly.  Combine these with the award-winners we have in our Children’s Choices collections, and we have lots of good reads to begin our chats.  I will keep you posted on what new titles kids are buzzing about on this blog.



A Wonderful MidWinter Experience and Resuming Book Chats!

1 02 2014

I made this mouse at a craft workshop hosted by DK.ALA MidWinter was one of the best conferences I have recently attended. There were loads of fun events from cooking on stage to learning about the latest books and technology to attending ALSC’s Media Awards.  The entire conference was constantly abuzz with activities.  I even made a stuffed mouse at a DK craft workshop!!Congratulations to all award-winning authors!  I have many new books to read after attending the MidWinter events.  Exhibitors were very generous with sharing ARCs, and I sent home 5 boxes.  The Post Office did an OUTSTANDING job of accommodating all of the attendees who needed to ship their “loot” home. All of the ARCs I sent home will be used in Book Chats which are resuming this week at an elementary school and a middle school.  Students will be able to keep any ARC books they want at the end of the school year.  Wes Moore, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates”, gave an outstanding talk and provided signed books for everyone.

Book Chats

Book Chats are resuming this week at Two Mile Prairie Elementary and Oakland Middle School.  These two schools are part of the Children’s Choices project.  Book Chats are voluntary book discussions at lunchtime and promote recreational reading and discussion skills.  Oakland Middle School is hosting 3 Book Chat sessions every Wednesday, a 6th grade session, a 7th grade session, and an 8th grade session.  I am proud to say that the students requested the Book Chats to continue on from the Choices Chats sessions which ran from October 2013 to January 2014.  I am bringing the ARCs from MidWinter Conference to supplement the school library collections.  Additionally I will create a reading suggestion list using the newest ALSC award winners, YALSA award winners and best book lists, and SLJ/Horn Book Best Book lists.  I will share this with you on Monday’s blog.

ghost of tupelo Handbook for dragon ophelia and the marvelous The boy on the wooden

Currently Reading!

Just finished The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, and I love Mo LoBeau and all the residents of Tupelo Landing.  Sheila Turnage, please keep writing about this loveable community and their rich collection of residents!

Starting The Boy on the Wooden Box today and I have Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and Handbook for Dragon Slayers (Schneider Family Book Award 2014) on my bedside table.


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