Tales From A 4th Grade Teacher

It's All Good……

What I read on my summer vacation….. July 28, 2011

Filed under: Reading — mrsbarker @ 4:16 pm

 I am just going to say it….I “heart” reading!! I have always been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, when I got in trouble, my parents could not punish me by sending me to my room because I would just curl up with a book..some punishment huh? I actually looked for reasons to get in trouble….

As a teacher, I read all year long…mostly to my students and with my students. And while I enjoy that a lot…there is nothing like reading for my own pleasure, rather than to torture my students. Seriously, I love to read. Once Spring Break has come and gone, I start hoarding books to read over the summer. I usually spend the first full day of my summer break scouring the public library for books and make a list of what I am planning on reading. 

Thanks to the internet and other blogs, I am at no loss for book ideas, and I usually have a running list. I hoard coupon codes for Barnes and Noble, and stockpile Amazon.com giftcards from my Swagbucks earnings.

So what am I reading this summer, you ask? Well here is the list of what I have read (and in some cases re-read) this summer….

1. Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins.  These are great books. I would love to use them as a novel unit in my classroom but the reality is, my 4th graders just are not ready for this kind of literature. Plus I think some of the themes in the book are beyond their maturity level. That said, each year I have 2 or 3 students who are reading above a 6th grade level, so after some parent discussion, I might recommend these for them  I was captivated by the stories and maybe if I read some excerpts or find a way to work them into a readers/writers workshop, I can plant a seed and my students may pick them up in a few years.

2. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.  I am a sucker for books that win awards and this one won the 2011 Newberry Book award. It took me a few days to get into it, but once i did, I could not put it down. It reminded me of two books I read last year to my class – Because of Winn Dixie and How to Steal a Dog. The main character Abilene is one I warmed up to…and the kind of kid I think my students can relate to, even though the story takes place during the Great Depression.  

3-4. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. I had the best of intentions and a mother-son bonding experience in mind when I set out with the goal of reading and in some cases re-reading the Harry Potter series with my 10-year-old son this summer. My motivations were purely selfish..I wanted to spark his interest in reading. It kills me that he would rather so a million other things instead of picking up a book. I am coming to terms with it but it is tough because of my own love of reading (see gushing remarks above)….well he abandoned our little project halfway thru The Sorcerer’s Stone but I managed to finish it and The Chamber of Secrets. I had read them both before but lost my motivation to keep going when another book caught my interest….

5. The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan.  I loved the Percy Jackson series (again, another hope that my 10-year-old would fall in love with reading once he read these books) so when this book came out I was so excited. It is full of great storytelling in Riordan’s classic style..this time taking on Egyptian mythology. Great characters and lots of twists and turns. I have the 2nd book in the series…The Throne of Fire. Just need to eek out some time to read it. Maybe next week on our road trip…..

6. The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  ALl the teacher blogs are abuzz about this book and several bloggers are doing a book study of it. I ordered it in June when I heard about the book study, thumbed through it, and stuck it in my “To Read” stack. One day I was chatting with a fellow teacher about Reading and Readers Workshops and she mentioned that she had read the book, loved it and was excited to try it out this fall in her classroom. That is all it took, I picked it up, highlighter in hand and went to work. Lots of great ideas, specially for my struggling readers , and I have even tried a few things out on my 10-year-old (unbeknownst to him…the jury is still out on whether it has worked but I’ll keep you posted.

That’s it….what I have read this summer. I know it doesn;t sound like much (at least to me) for 6 weeks of summer…but I also read about 2 dozen blogs each day and that is a bit time consuming (and would explain why I have been a slacker at posting to this blog).

PS- Wanted to mention a new website I heard about for buying books…cheap. It is called Bookcloseouts.com. Check it out…just bought 15 books for $18 plus shipping….a few new titles for my classroom. I’ll shop for me a bit later on….

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