Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why Teachers Need a Reading Community, Too!

As teachers, we want to our kids to feel connected to reading and books and each other. But 'ften we forget about ourselves. We neglect our own reading lives for the sake of others.

Until recently, I thought I was an avid reader. I'm always reading and share books with my students. I'm part of several book groups on Social Media including the #WeCantPutBooksDown crew and loyal follower of The Nerdy Book Club. Yet, my reading life was still missing something.

As I became part of my first book club since circa 2008, I realize now I was missing my tribe. I was alone out there reading and sharing books. But like Brain in Hatchet, I was sending out all my thoughts and ideas out into a dark woods. I'd get feedback and share but I wasn't part of something bigger, something better until #GetBooked.

Just look at all our buzz surrounding Kwame Alexander's upcoming novel Booked....

Although, I've been part of many reading groups and book clubs. I know these people are my tribe. I can't thank Stacey, Beth, Scott, Kristen, Jimmy, and Nicole for making my reading life a little a lot brighter! I've always loved reading but now I'm ECSTATIC about reading! I get pumped when I see Voxer messages or our #GetBooked tag on Twitter. I'm surrounded by so many great and wonderful readers. I fit in. I'm out of my reading rut.

Its hard to put into words the feeling you feel when we find a group of people that share your passion and love for reading. You feel like you fit in and that your ideas matter. I know as a teacher, I'm always putting my students first. This time, they suffered because I was not my best reader. I needed my tribe to find my voice.

Why do reading communities matter?

1. They give us an outlet for sharing and collaborating.

2. They create friendships and a support network for before, during, or after reading.

3. Reading communities help us make plans for what to read next and set a purpose for reading.

4. Provide you with some energy and renewed enthusiasm for reading.

5. Model real life reading habits and practices to your students.

6. You know you have a place to rant, rave, or cry depending on the novel.

7. Book talks and excitement surrounding reading.

8. Helps you find your voice. {Thank you Voxer!}

9. Communities make us feel connected to the books, each other & the world.

10. You feel like your thoughts and ideas matter. #AllYouNeedIsLove

Happy Reading, 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Historical Fiction Book Club {Freebies!}

Getting ready to start my historical fiction book clubs! I love getting students outside their comfort zone. Many students don't think they like historical fiction until they get some great books in their hands!

If you're thinking of starting your own book clubs, here are a few things that can help you get started on your own book club adventure! My teaching partner and I think that the "prep" is key. For this book club, we're focusing on the Civil Rights Movement. Since this time period deals with lots of tension, we send a letter home to the parents to let them know about what will be going on in our classroom and book clubs. We've also done a lot of work making this unit relevant to our students. We look for books that are current, well-written, and engaging!

If you're wanting to start book clubs, here's a peek at my Historical Fiction Unit.

{Click the image to snag a free copy}

During the first week of book club, we really try and focus on the time period. Getting students to become aware of the setting and the important events that took place during their time period. We keep track using different handouts and activities so that we can refer back to these as often as needed! 

How do you start a new reading unit?


Monday, February 1, 2016

Black History Must Haves!

Are you looking for some "new to you" picture books to incorporate into your upper elementary classroom? Two fantastic books that I use during the month of February are: Freedom on the Menu and Freedom Summer! I love to use these books to teach history, craft, and practice great {Common Core aligned} reading strategies.

What are some of your favorite books to read during Black History Month?
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