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May 8, 2015

Summer Reading: It's (Still) Not Just for Kids

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Last summer was the first year that I changed my focus of reading materials from professional books to children’s literature. I am so glad that I did. It was nice to sit on the beach, listen to the waves, pull out a book, and read for pleasure. Being able to "just read" was priceless! So much so that I decided that I would try it again. My book selections from 2014 were primarily based upon what my students were reading. This year, I decided that I would go with some books that may not be in the mainstream, but those that piqued my interest or were recommended.

    Rhonda’s 2015 Summer Reading List

    Fantasy

    Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    I am trying to build my fantasy repertoire. I enjoyed the Hunger Games. Catching Fire was my favorite out of the trilogy. Last summer my book choices were filled with female protagonists and heroines. I selected this book because it has a male as the protagonist and it is a series. Some of the units of study for reading workshop focused on characters across a series and this fit the bill. I am hoping that I will be able to hook some of my reluctant readers with a male lead in the fantasy genre.

    The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni

    The cover caught my eye for this one. Interesting covers grab the reader’s attention and this one had me curious. It has that "twilight zone” feel to it. The excerpt from the book blurb on the back of the book starts off like this, "When newly orphaned Jax Aubrey awakes to a world without people the day after his thirteenth birthday, he thinks it’s the apocalypse. But then the next day is a regular old Thursday.” What happens next? I guess I will just have to read the book to find out.

     

    Short Stories

    The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez

    I have used “Inside Out,” one of the short stories from this book, as a mentor text for reading workshop for the past couple of years. I was talking about short stories with one of my colleagues who mentioned that this was a really good book. Also, one of my students decided to try to use “Inside Out” as her text to create a fan fiction writing piece. She mentioned that she liked how the author wove Spanish throughout the story to give the reader a better sense of the character. My motivation for reading this book is to see what other stories can be used as mentor texts.

     

    First French Kiss by Adam Bagdasarian

    Again, this was a mentor text that was used in reading workshop. My class read the story, "My Side of the Story." It is hilarious and sad, all at the same time. My students really connected to the issue of dealing with a younger or older sibling and how that “looks and feels” in real life. The author gives the reader insight into his experiences growing up. And besides, with a title like First French Kiss, who could resist?

     

    Heartstring Tuggers

    Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

    This was on the reading list from my school for last summer. I had already chosen my list back then and it was complete. After hearing the conversation from teachers and students this past fall, I knew that Out of My Mind would be on my list for this summer. The main character, Melody, has a learning disability. This book speaks to her struggles and triumphs. I will have my tissues handy.

     

    Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

    This is a personal one for me. While the main storyline deals with the relationship between Lucy and her dad and moving to a new house, it also deals with a family who must deal with a loved one who suffers from dementia. I made a text connection as I had a family member who suffered from this illness. I am curious to see how the subject matter is told from the perspective of a child.

     

    Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

    As a literacy teacher, how could I not notice the play on words? I noticed it in the Arrow March Reading Club Flyer and it came highly recommended by a fellow literacy colleague, Kathy Gorka. We have a date to discuss the book over our summer morning walks.

     

     

     

    Pearls of Wisdom Keep a book recommendation list handy. This way you will never run out of books to read, share, or recommend!

    Check out Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge for your students. Help them meet the goal of reading over three hundred million minutes. Registration is open!

    I think my summer reading list is finished, but who knows? Is there another recommendation on the horizon? Do you have any favorite books that made you laugh, cry, or just shake your head? I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

     

    Last summer was the first year that I changed my focus of reading materials from professional books to children’s literature. I am so glad that I did. It was nice to sit on the beach, listen to the waves, pull out a book, and read for pleasure. Being able to "just read" was priceless! So much so that I decided that I would try it again. My book selections from 2014 were primarily based upon what my students were reading. This year, I decided that I would go with some books that may not be in the mainstream, but those that piqued my interest or were recommended.

    Rhonda’s 2015 Summer Reading List

    Fantasy

    Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    I am trying to build my fantasy repertoire. I enjoyed the Hunger Games. Catching Fire was my favorite out of the trilogy. Last summer my book choices were filled with female protagonists and heroines. I selected this book because it has a male as the protagonist and it is a series. Some of the units of study for reading workshop focused on characters across a series and this fit the bill. I am hoping that I will be able to hook some of my reluctant readers with a male lead in the fantasy genre.

    The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni

    The cover caught my eye for this one. Interesting covers grab the reader’s attention and this one had me curious. It has that "twilight zone” feel to it. The excerpt from the book blurb on the back of the book starts off like this, "When newly orphaned Jax Aubrey awakes to a world without people the day after his thirteenth birthday, he thinks it’s the apocalypse. But then the next day is a regular old Thursday.” What happens next? I guess I will just have to read the book to find out.

     

    Short Stories

    The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez

    I have used “Inside Out,” one of the short stories from this book, as a mentor text for reading workshop for the past couple of years. I was talking about short stories with one of my colleagues who mentioned that this was a really good book. Also, one of my students decided to try to use “Inside Out” as her text to create a fan fiction writing piece. She mentioned that she liked how the author wove Spanish throughout the story to give the reader a better sense of the character. My motivation for reading this book is to see what other stories can be used as mentor texts.

     

    First French Kiss by Adam Bagdasarian

    Again, this was a mentor text that was used in reading workshop. My class read the story, "My Side of the Story." It is hilarious and sad, all at the same time. My students really connected to the issue of dealing with a younger or older sibling and how that “looks and feels” in real life. The author gives the reader insight into his experiences growing up. And besides, with a title like First French Kiss, who could resist?

     

    Heartstring Tuggers

    Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

    This was on the reading list from my school for last summer. I had already chosen my list back then and it was complete. After hearing the conversation from teachers and students this past fall, I knew that Out of My Mind would be on my list for this summer. The main character, Melody, has a learning disability. This book speaks to her struggles and triumphs. I will have my tissues handy.

     

    Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

    This is a personal one for me. While the main storyline deals with the relationship between Lucy and her dad and moving to a new house, it also deals with a family who must deal with a loved one who suffers from dementia. I made a text connection as I had a family member who suffered from this illness. I am curious to see how the subject matter is told from the perspective of a child.

     

    Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

    As a literacy teacher, how could I not notice the play on words? I noticed it in the Arrow March Reading Club Flyer and it came highly recommended by a fellow literacy colleague, Kathy Gorka. We have a date to discuss the book over our summer morning walks.

     

     

     

    Pearls of Wisdom Keep a book recommendation list handy. This way you will never run out of books to read, share, or recommend!

    Check out Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge for your students. Help them meet the goal of reading over three hundred million minutes. Registration is open!

    I think my summer reading list is finished, but who knows? Is there another recommendation on the horizon? Do you have any favorite books that made you laugh, cry, or just shake your head? I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

     

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Susan Cheyney

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