This week I focused on "catching up" on my reading. I was starting to get nervous that I wouldn't reach my goal of 50 books this summer. Then I remembered that a big part of my goal (almost half) is picture books. And you'll see from the list below that I've gone from 5 books to almost 30, most of which are picture books. And of those many are 2021 Connecticut Nutmeg Nominees .
I truly love picture books. I love the stories, but most of all I LOVE the illustrations and pictures. They tell their own story, not separate from the words, but with the words. They add a layer that extends the reading. They open opportunities for discovery and discussion. If you have ever read a picture book to a child, you KNOW that their eyes dart from image to image as you read the words. They're not only HEARING the story, they're SEEING it. And that's powerful.
It's unfortunate that many children view picture books as "baby" books and that they're for "little kids". The vocabulary and context of picture book stories can be very complex. They can expose children to words they have never heard before. They explain concepts (in both word and picture) that can be complicated and hard to understand. Picture books are my go-to any time we need to introduce or discuss situations that are scary, hard, or complicated. They offer an easier way to open discussions.
Picture books also provide an opportunity to repeat the story over and over again (maybe not always a positive for the adult). Repetitive reading helps build a child's knowledge and helps with word recognition. Children will eventually begin to be able to read the story themselves and to the adult. Don't worry if it's memorized, that's the point. They will begin to put the words they hear and say together with the words they see. This builds vocabulary and phonetic awareness. They will also learn to "read the pictures", which is a great decoding skill.
Take every opportunity to share picture books with children. Read them often and make sure to TALK, not only about the story, but about the pictures. What do you see? What do you think? How do you know? And if you need any help finding good books, take a look at the ones on my list.
While I haven't' "reviewed" the books, I have put a star next to the ones I liked the most!
I've been reading, I promise! I'm just not always good about writing and reviewing them. Because of this I have struggled with book talks and posting online..
Here is my list:
Book 2: The Other Boy ** by M.G. Hennessey (YA, Realistic)
Book 3: Nat Enough by Maria Scrivan (Graphic Novel)
Book 4: The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya (YA, Realistic)
Book 5: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning ** by Jason Reynolds and Dr Ibram X Kendi (YA, Nonfiction)
Last year I discovered a new way to "talk" about the books I read. It combines technology with books; my favorite things! It's called Book Snaps; made famous on social media by Tamara Martin. Book Snaps involve taking a picture of your book (favorite page, the cover, an illustration) and then decorating the picture with words, clip art (Bitmojis!!), and your opinion.
Here are a few Snap Chats from the books I listed above..
Try making your own Book Snap and share with me!!
I read a lot of books. Most of the books I read are written for children and young adults. I read everything from picture books to graphic novels to the newest and latest by favorite authors. I LOVE many of the books. I read But, truth be told, there are many that I don't like.
The reasons I don't like a book varies It could be the characters, the plot, the illustrations and even the author.'s style. So, what do I do when I find a book I don't like. First, I try to read another 1-2 chapters. I have found that it may just be the part of the book I'm reading that I don't like. If I still don't like it, my second step is to skip to the end., Yes, I skip right to the last 2-3 chapters and finish the book. I have a compulsion to know how a book ends. Even one I didn't like reading. But it gives me closure and I can move on to my next book. One that I will most likely enjoy reading.
If you choose to stop reading a book, you first need to make sure you gave the book a chance. As I said, I read at least 1-2 more chapters in a book before deciding I really don't like it. Don't judge a book by the fist few pages. It takes time to really know a book, good or bad. And, when you decide you don't like a book you need to figure out WHY. Was it the characters? The genre? The plot? The author? Figuring out WHY you don't like a book will help you find books you DO like. And again, that's the purpose of reading for pleasure.
Reading for pleasure should be fun and bring us happiness. When we don't like a book and we continue to "push" through it, reading it becomes work. We begin to dread reading and then we may even stop. So, why do that when there are so many other books you can read?
Book number 1 is done. I Love You, Micheal Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted is a Grade 4-6 2021 Connecticut Nutmeg Book nominee
Mamie's story takes place in 1969 when the Apollo 11 team was heading to the moon. Mamie chooses Michael Collins as her favorite astronaut and begins to write letters to him. The letters form a diary, detailing her life from the everyday things to the relationships within her family and best friend Buster.
This is realistic fiction book first, but also a historical fiction book. There is information on the NASA space program and the Moon landing. There are also cultural references to the time period that include women (stay at home moms, working women), music (Rolling stones versus Beatles) and society expectations. All done to set the time and frame the world when Mamie was experiencing this story.
I enjoyed Mamie's story and wanted to know how everything turned out for her and her family. I also wanted to know if Michael Collins ever wrote back.
What is Reading? As I'm preparing for the Summer Reading program and making book lists for next year, I've been thinking a lot about this question.
At first it seems simple.. Reading is decoding. Deciphering letters that make up words that create sentences and then live in paragraphs. But, it's really much more than that.
My neighbor is going into first grade. I always ask him what he's reading. He tells me he doesn't like to read. Cue the gut-wrenching disappointment. So, instead of lecturing him on the importance of reading (he knows it's important), I ask him some questions What do you like to do? What are your favorite things? What is the best book you read/heard this year? And he answers, with so many things that my head spins.
My next step is to then conenct books to what he likes. He likes planets and rocket ships. I ask if he's read the Earth, Sun, and Moon books by Stacy McAnulty. He likes sports and paying outside. I ask if he's read Whoosh! bu Chris Barton. He likes dogs. I ask if he's read Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan or King and Kayla by Dori Hillestad Butler He actually gets a little excited when I tell him about the books. Side note: my mission is now to find him the "perfect" book.
Back to "what is reading"? Reading is more than decoding letters and words for meaning only. Reading is a connection of the reader to the written word. Reading can be about gaining new insight and knowledge and also about bringing past experiences to the text. Reading is interactive and brings about emotions, good, bad or umcomfortable. Reading is exciting. Reading is personal.
That's why I connect likes and favorites to books. Children learn to love reading by reading books they love. In school it's not always the case. We need to read to learn about different topics, including those we don't necessarily like. We need to learn to decode and comprehend text in various ways. We need to determine author message.. And so on. But when we can empower children to choose books they like based on their own personal reasons, for the pure enjoyment of connecting to the author's story, we empower them to learn to love reading. We need to do this as much as possible.
My wish is for every child (person) to find a book they love. The one they connect to on a persoanl level. The one that changes, moves, and excites them to read more. The one that creates the "movie" inside their head. That inspires their creativity and inquiry. To find the book that makes them realize that reading is more than decoding words.
Go find that "perfect" book and when you're done reading, find the next one!
(P.S.: all formats of books are reading and they serve different purposes in our lives. So read audiobooks, ebooks and print books. Just because your eyes aren't "decoding" doesn't mean you aren't reading. All books count!!)
I am a PK-6 grade Libary Media Specialist. I LOVE being a librarian, I LOVE reading (now) and I LOVE my students. I am also a wife, mom daughter, aunt and friend; all roles I enjoy thoroughly. I love to laugh try to find the humor in even the darkest moments.