Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Reading just for fun

The stress of testing week takes a toll on everybody these days... which is a great excuse to read library books just for fun! All my read-alouds this week were straight-up crowd pleasers, designed to remind us all why we love reading stories together.

The younger grades spent some time with my fiction author crush, Mo Willems. You may know him from the toddler favorite Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus. If you haven't discovered the genius and hilarity of Mo Willems's books in general and his Elephant & Piggie books in particular, drop by the library and prepared to laugh until you grab the nearest person and hand the book to them.

Elephants Cannot Dance! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh, Mo Willems, I love you so much. Please, please write prolifically for at least the next fifty years.

Turns out that reading E & P aloud as a class is a great way to practice expression and punctuation. You can take one character and the class can take the other. E & P are full of question marks and exclamation points! And could there be any better visual support for text than the characters' expressions?

Second and third graders heard a classic cause-and-effect story of a field trip gone awry on The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate The Wash.

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For every parent who's ever asked, "what did you do at school today" and every kid who's ever replied, "nothing... it was boring" -- this is the read-aloud for you. Written entirely in dialogue, this is the story of a class trip to the farm gone horribly wrong, as told by the world's most blase elementary schooler. Stephen Kellogg's detailed illustrations make the text even sillier -- make sure to take time to notice and show them.

Finally, the third through fifth graders heard a book that I predict will become a real classic... and likely also a feature film. The Dunderheads is Paul Fleischman's action-packed story of a villainous teacher and the students who defeat her and win back their treasure using their unique and underappreciated talents.

The Dunderheads The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A fabulous adventure and a wonderful read-aloud for older readers.

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