It’s Monday-What Are You Reading 7/29/13

Here we are with another chance to share wonderful books with each other thanks to Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts and Sheila over at Book Journey who both sponsor this great meme each week for young adult/children and adult respectively!


I haven’t participated in this since 7/15/13 so these books are for the last 2 weeks!

Professional Books:

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every ChildWho Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age

The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical ReadersReading Ladders: Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be

Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator

Picture Books:

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary NightNight Is Coming

Cloudy With a Chance of MeatballsThe Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween: A Safety Guide for Scaredies

Upper grade books:

SidekickedRump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

Young adult books:

Cryer's CrossBefore I Die

Elementary books:


Talk about some EXCELLENT and AWESOME books!

Yes, I was at the beach for 4 days so I was able to get lots of reading in there. 🙂

My reviews for all of these books are on my goodreads page which you can go to HERE.

I am CURRENTLY reading R5 in the Classroom and about to start Book Love.

R5 in Your Classroom: A Gui...Book Love: Developing Depth...

Trying to get in all the PD books I can before school starts because then I’ll be like a crazy lady! 🙂

An Ordinary Toad’s Extraordinary Night Book Review

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night

An Ordinary Toad’s Extraordinary Night by Joanne McGonagle.

I received this one from Joanne to read and review. However, I’m NOT being paid for this review, and it reflects my honest opinion. 🙂

You can find more information about her at The Tiniest Tiger.

Goodreads Summary:

An Ordinary Toad’s Extraordinary Night is the story of a young toad named Andrew, pondering whether his life would be more interesting had he been hatched a frog.
Andrew embarks on his first solo hop to ask his grandpa some questions about what it means to be an amphibian. The story is blended with factual information that compares and contrasts the similarities and differences among toads and frogs.
A young reader’s curiosity will be piqued as they consider the unique attributes of the individual creatures that make up a species, perhaps sparking the light of conversation in their hearts and minds.

My Thoughts:

The illustrations in this book were almost magical in their beauty. 

This would be a GREAT mentor text for my 6th graders when we study:

Theme of loving yourself, being unique
Collecting delicious words for our writing

I love how the story itself is on scroll paper. That added a special touch.

Andrew, the toad and main character, was also portrayed as a sensitive one. Not just concerning his feelings but also the feelings of others, even the frog bullies.

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. And did I mention how gorgeous the illustrations were??

5 of  5 stars

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares For Halloween Review

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween: A Safety Guide for Scaredies

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt.

I was able to read this one from Net Galley. Thanks Net Galley!! 🙂

Goodread Summary:

From costume ideas to trick-or-treating strategies, Scaredy Squirrel helps readers plan for the spookiest night of the year! Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween is the second in a series of nutty safety guides featuring everyone’s favorite worrywart.

My Thoughts:

How in the world have I missed reading the Scaredy Squirrel books????????? Oh. My. Word. This one was beyond cute!

A FABULOUS picture book with awesome vocabulary guaranteed to hook your most reluctant readers in the classroom!

5 of 5 stars

Word Nerds Book Study

Word Nerds

Sabra over at Teaching With a Touch of Twang has been hosting a book study on Word Nerds by Brenda Overturf, Leslie H. Montgomery, and Margot Holmes Smith. I read this book in ONE sitting. Could not put it down! The ideas and strategies are so practical and doable in the classroom. However, keep in mind that if you’re not already devoting part of your day to vocabulary instruction, you will need to carve out a chunk of time to begin. 🙂

You can read about it, and I think even preview it online, or buy a copy at Stenhouse. Here’s a little description of the book:

Word Nerds

Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary

Brenda J. Overturf, Leslie H. Montgomery, Margot Holmes Smith

Word Nerds takes you inside classrooms at a high-poverty urban school and shows how two teachers implement creative, flexible vocabulary instruction that improves their students’ word knowledge and confidence, enhances classroom community, and increases achievement.

Here’s a study guide:

And here’s a video of 2 of the authors being interviewed:–201062181.html

My goodreads summary:

Now this is an AWESOME book about strategic vocabulary instruction. Not only does it offer strategies for teaching vocabulary, but it also gives you a 5 day plan and 10 day plan that you could follow if you wanted. Another practical PD book that I’m in love with.

Now let’s get started with my thinking on CHAPTER 7!! 🙂

Chapter 7-Spreading Vocabulary Wings

This chapter begins with the study of morphology which includes root words and affixes. This is an important part of the Common Core State Standards. The authors of this book call their activity-“Crystal Ball Words”. It’s an awesome activity that begins with 1 word and ends with about 41 words!!!!!!!!!! Wowza! Talk about expanding vocabulary! 🙂 Here’s the example from the book:


They also talk about how explicitly teaching vocabulary not only adds vocabulary to a child’s knowledge bank, but it teaches them about the world as they make connections and inferences when reading texts.

I LOVE the “talk like rascals” activity where the teachers wrote “pirate talk” sentences on index cards, and the students had to work in groups to change them into “rascal talk” sentences that are more sophisticated. One example was:

“me cut rock with me tool”-pirate talk

“My chisel blazes through the rock like a swift runner”-rascal talk created by students

And of course they ended with a pirate vocabulary celebration!!!

Some books they mentioned as ones to extend vocabulary were 13 Words, Frindle, and The Boy Who Loved Words.

I just have to say that I’m in love with this practical book and all of the strategies and ideas they provide. I absolutely LOVE their Crystal Ball Words activity, and the “rascal talk” activity is great as well.

I’ve already devoted a small bulletin board in my 6th grade classroom to our EXPLICIT VOCABLUARY INSTRUCTION that is going to take place everyday!!!!!!!!!!!

Can’t wait to begin SPREADING OUR VOCABULARY WINGS!!!!!!!!! 🙂