Thursday, May 31, 2012

Charlotte's Web

File:CharlotteWeb.pngIn the story Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White, follows the journey of a great pig.  Wilbur is a pig that when he is born he is the runt of the litter.  The farmer is about to kill him until his daughter Fern wants Wilbur to live.  Wilbur is very hyperactive, and really likes exploring new things.  Wilbur is then sold to Fern's Uncle.  After Wilbur becomes very lonely, he meets a spider named Charlotte.  After Wilbur is told that he is going to be eaten for Christmas dinner, he turns to Charlotte for some help.  They decide that if Wilbur becomes famous, then they won't kill him.  Find out what happens when Wilbur tries to not get butchered.

This is a story that any teacher could read in just about any grade.  I have heard of teachers that have used it as a read aloud during work time, or some teachers just have it in their classroom library.  That is how I got a hold of it.  It is a very good story that all of the students would really enjoy.  When I started my practicum, the teacher had just finished the story, and all of the students were listening from start to finish because they wanted to know what would happen next.  This is a very fast read, so it could be read either while the students are working on something, or if there is a time during the day where the class is starting to relax.  Something that is very nice about this book is that there is also a movie about it.  After the class is done reading the story, they could then watch the movie.  I highly recommend this book to every teacher. 

Friday, May 25, 2012



In the story The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, follows the adventure of a boy on a great adventure.  Percy Jackson is a twelve year old boy, diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, who has been expelled from six schools.  While he is on a class field trip, one of his teachers turns out to be one of the three furies, and attacks him.  In the middle of the night, his best friend tells him that the Furies are going to attack him, so Percy, his friend, and his mom leave.  Percy’s mother is taking him to Camp Half-Blood.  This is a camp for demigods.  When they get there  Percy’s mother is kidnapped by a minotaur.  While at the camp, Percy finds out that he is the son of Poseidon.  Zeus believes that Poseidon and Percy have stolen his lightning bolt, and so Percy must go on a quest to find it.  Find out what happens on Percy Jackson’s great adventure to find the missing lightning bolt. 
This is one of the books that all of the students in my class have told me how good the story was.  I had seen the movie, but I really wanted to read it.  This is one of those times where the book is way better than the movie.  This book could be used as either a read aloud or as an independent read.  There is a lot of references to Greek mythology, so this would be a great book to read if there is a unit on it.  There is also a great message in this story.  It is all about overcoming adversity, and so there is a lot of aspects that students could really relate to.  When the class is done reading the story, they could even watch the movie.  This would even be a good way to have a writing assignment.  Since the book and movie are so different, they could compare and contrast the two.  I highly recommend this book for every classroom.  

Artemis Fowl

In the story Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer, follows a twelve-year-old through a magical journey.  Artemis Fowl is the son of an Irish crime lord.  He believes that he has confirmed the existence of fairies.  Artemis tracks down a sprite and tries to find a Fairy Holy Book.  He is able to crack the code of the book by using one of his computers.  It also states the proper Ritual in which one buries an acorn to regain his or her powers. Apart from Artemis and his bodyguard, no humans are said to have seen the Book.  Artemis tries to find more information on the ritual, and watches Captain Holly Short as she tries to do the ritual.  He then kidnaps her, and asks for gold in exchange for her.  Find out what happens in the incredible journey of Artemis Fowl.

This is a great story to have in the classroom.  I could really see this book being used as either a read aloud or just to have in the classroom library for independent reading.  There is a lot of action, suspense, and magical elements.  There is something in the story that numerous students will enjoy.  This book is pretty long, so I don’t know if I would use it as a book club book.  Artemis Fowl is extremely descriptive, and once the students start reading the story, they won’t want to stop.  This book is part of a series, so if students enjoy the first book, they can read the second.  I highly recommend this story!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride



In the story Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride, by Pam Munoz Ryan, follows the lives of two heroic women.  The story starts off by two friends talking on the phone about going to a dinner party hat Eleanor's house.  It turns out that these two women are Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart.  The two women are going to have dinner and talk about what is going on in their lives.  The biggest topic of conversation is about what it is like to fly at night.  This leads to a suggestion that really sets the tone for the rest of the story. 

This is a really good story to have in the classroom if you are teaching about American heroes, Amelia Earhart, or Eleanor Roosevelt.  This book gives some brief details about what they are interested in, along with what they are most know for.  It will show a side to these women that most people wouldn't know from just reading history books.  What is kind of interesting is that their is even a recipe for one of Eleanor Roosevelt's favorite desserts in the back of the book.  The best part is really in the authors note.  In this section it goes into more detail about these two women, so if the students want to know more, then they can.  I recommend this story for the classroom library.

Hate That Cat



In the book Hate That Cat, by Sharon Creech, follows the journal entries of a creative young boy.  This story is about a boy named Jack, who is writing in his journal for school.  The book starts off with Jack explaining why his uncle doesn't believe what he write is poetry.  He then compares some of his own personal situations with poems that they are either reading or writing in the classroom.  With every single poet they learn about, Jack always asks if the poet is dead or not. At one point in the story, Jack starts going off on how much he hates cats which leads to a whole new situation.  Find out what happens when Jack thinks that he just hates cats.

Hate That Cat is a follow up story of Love That Dog.  This is a story that really needs to be used in just about any classroom.  I have spoken to teachers that read it while her class is writing their journal entries.  It can be used to introduce journals, poetry, creative writing, or just about anything.  What is nice about it is that it is a very quick read, that anyone can enjoy.  In my 3rd grade classroom, there were several students that had read it, and the librarian said that it is very popular with the older grades as well.  Students will read it because it appears easier than other stories, but they end up enjoying the story's humor.  Something that is really nice about this story is that it has a lot of different poetry used throughout the story.  The kids will be able to hear Jack's interpretations of the poems, but there are also parts of the poems in the story.  In the very back of the book, there is every single poem that is talked about.  The students can read the full length poems.  All I can say is that if you read this story, you have to read Love That Dog as well.  You can't go wrong with having this story in the classroom.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh, Say Can You Say?



In the children's book Oh Say Can You Say?, by Dr. Seuss, is a book full of fun tongue twisters.  This book gives several different situations that look at the lives of several different characters.  It talks about Bed Spreaders, Bread Spreaders, and several other characters.  Each page has several different rhymes that makes the story really fun to read. 

This is a story that would be a really fun book to have in the classroom.  It is a really fun read aloud book for the younger kids, but it is still a pretty easy read.  In this story, it is a typical Dr. Seuss story that all the kids will enjoy reading.  This is one that I just read with my reading buddy.  He really had fun reading it, but it was pretty difficult for him.  There are several made up words that the students may struggle with.  We ended up reading it together, and it really seemed to help.  This is one of those books that it is really impossible to check the students for reading comprehension.  There are so many random ideas throughout the story, that it is very hard to follow.  Something that my reading buddy really enjoyed was the all of the fun pictures.  Dr. Seuss has a lot of fun pictures that have very bright colors.  It really catches the attention of the readers.  Overall, I think that it would be a great idea to have this story in the classroom.   

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key



 The story Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, by Jack Gantos, is a story about a boy that suffers from ADHD.  This story starts off with with a boy named Joey talking about how he is a very wired kid.  He just can't sit still. He can't pay attention, he can't follow the rules, and he can't even help it.  Joey has had ADHD ever since he was born.  This is a problem that both his grandmother and father both have had.  He seems to always get into some trouble.  This happens when he is wreaking havoc on class trips, or if he is swallowing the key to his house.  Some of his behaviors are so off the wall, that his teacher is threatening to send him to special ed.  With Joey, he is a really good kid, but no matter how hard he works, bad things always happen.  Find out what happens in this great story.   

This is a great story that should be read in the classroom.  There are always students that will find a way to relate to Joey in some way.  The book is well written, and there are several students who would really like to hear the story.  Some of the students could even could read this story on their own.  The message that is great in this story is that every student is different, but being different is really a good thing.  Students that suffer from ADHD or any other problems, will find that they have someone to relate to.  There are people out there that go through the same things that they do.  I highly recommend this book.    

Thursday, May 3, 2012

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon



In the children's book There's No Such Thing as a Dragon, by Jack Kent, is about a boy who has an adventure with his pet dragon.  This story is about a boy named Billy who finds a dragon in his bedroom.  Every time that he ignores the dragon, it grows a little bit more.  He does this because there is no such thing as dragons.  The dragon does all that he can to get a little bit of attention, but he is always ignored.  At one point, he is the same size of the house, but the family still won't acknowledge that he is there.  You will have to read the story to find out what happens with a growing dragon. 

This book is a very simple book that Vale Elementary School's library has listed at an upper third grade level, but it is still a pretty easy read.  I read this story with my reading buddy, who is at a low reading level, and he really enjoyed the story.  There were a few hidden meaning in the story that went over his head, but he still liked it.  There is a hidden meaning that if you ignore something that is manageable, it will grow and grown until it is nearly too big to control.  This would really have to be a book to have in a classroom library for the lower level readers.  The vocabulary is simple, but if there are students that struggle reading, this would be a great book to start with.  What studenets will like are the pictures.  They really look like the comics that some kids like reading in the news paper.  This is just a fun story that lower level kids will really want to read.

The Phantom Tollbooth



In the children's book The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, is about a boy who learns to appreciate the ordinary things in life after he embarks on a wondrous journey.  The story is about a boy named Milo that is in a really bad funk.  There isn't anything that interest him.  After he returned from school, he found a giant toy tollbooth that is inside a package.  Once he put the tollbooth, he took a ride in his toy car through the booth.  When he does this, that is when the true adventure begins.  While he is there, he travels to many different lands.  He goo through the land of words, Dictionpolis, and Digitopolis, the land of numbers.  He meets several different strange characters along the way.  Find out if he is able to find out if he can find something that is interesting to him.

This is a great adventure story that would be enjoyed by several students of any grade third through sixth.  With the younger grades, it would probably have to be a read aloud, but some of the older students could read it independently.  Something that I really enjoyed about this book is the theme is all about education.  The boy is bored in the story, but he travels to a land with a city of words and numbers.  Every little thing in this story has something related to learning.  When students read this story, they will really enjoy the pictures.  The story has a few black and white drawings, that will really keep the students interested.  Each one depicts the characters in a quirky light.  I really enjoyed reading this story.