Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Thank you Jen and Kellee for hosting this weekly!  To see what others are reading and recommending, be sure to check out their blog Teach Mentor Texts :)

This week, I read a mixture of children's books and professional books. Here are my favorites from this week:

A Quick Guide to Reaching Struggling Writers by Colleen Cruz for grades K-5 (part of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Workshop Help Desk Series).
This book is short, but jam-packed with ideas we can put to use right away in our classrooms to help all writers.  In this book, you will find strategies to help students who say, "I'm not a good writer," "My hand hurts," "I don't know how to spell," "I don't have anything to write about," and the famous line "I'm done."

Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know by Ralph Fletcher
I love all of Ralph Fletcher's books so needless to say, I was very excited to get my hands on his new book, Guy-Write!  This book is full of strategies from various authors and for all different genres.  Although this book is geared toward boy writers, the strategies can be used by all writers in our classrooms and during our instruction too in mini lessons, conferences, and small groups.  I already tabbed parts in the book that I want to refer to in my instruction in writing workshop.  Some of the parts I marked focus on: zooming in on important parts, describing the setting, showing emotions rather than telling, the importance of using a writer's notebook, revising, and editing.  I also marked the interviews with Jarrett Krosoczka and Jon Scieszka since students love their books and will be eager to hear about their point of view on writing!

Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg
This book has been in my TBR for about a week, after reading such great reviews about it on Twitter and blogs I follow.  On Saturday, I read a tweet by Susan Dee (@Literacydocent) about how much she loved Laugh with the Moon, so I told her I was moving it to the top of my TBR stack.  I have to admit that it didn't stay at the top of my TBR stack for long because I couldn't resist picking it up to find out how good it really was.  I read it in one sitting on Saturday and couldn't put it down once I started it!  Thank you Susan for tweeting about how much you loved it!

Laugh with the Moon is a beautifully written story about a 13 year old girl, Clare, who lives in Massachusetts in the present day with smart boards, cell phones, and state testing.  She dreads having to travel to the jungles of Africa for 9 weeks with her father, who is a doctor, so he can treat people living in the villages. She hates leaving her friends during the school year and leaving her house where her memories are of her mother. After giving her father the silent treatment and pouting, her beliefs and mindset begin to transform through her experiences with the people living in Malawi.  This is a powerful and important book that raises our level of global awareness of life in other countries and parts of our world.  In the author's note, Shana Burg describes her own visit to Malawi and how that helped inspire this story.  The author's note also gives more information about life, schools, and health in Malawi which is devastating, but inspiring at the same time knowing this important story is going to reach so many people.  Thank you Shana Burg for bringing this story into our lives and increasing our awareness.

Happy Reading! :)


  1. Laugh With The Moon sounds really good!

  2. Glad to hear that Laugh With The Moon is living up to the blogger/Twitter love. I look forward to reading it!


  3. I'm excited for Guy Write and Laugh With the Moon! They both look great. I don't know if I have them both on my to check. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I just finished Guy-Write today! It definitely needs to be in every writing classroom for boys to get their hands on!

  5. Melanie
    The two books on teaching writing sound really great.

  6. I definitely have to get my hands on both of those professional books. I didn't know about the top one- thank you for introducing me to it.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  7. Thanks for all these. I didn't know about that first one either. I have recently read about Laugh With The Moon & the Malawi, so will be sure to look for it.

  8. Thanks for such a kind review, Melanie. I'm touched!