Sunday, January 4, 2015
It's Monday! Here's What I'm Reading...
Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsburg at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What are You Reading? weekly on their blogs. To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs.
While a lot of my reading time was dedicated to reading the work of my writing group, as well as rereading and revising my own work, vacation offered enough time to also read some wonderful new books.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm reminds me of a contemporary Tuck Everlasting, and that is a huge compliment. With humor, memorable characters, and a fast-moving plot, Jennifer Holm imparts a powerful message about immortality and the importance of learning for the sake of learning, while weaving in lots of scientific information.
Nest by Esther Ehrlich is a beautifully written story, but warning: it is agonizingly sad! The main character, Naomi, has more to deal with than any eleven year-old should have, ever! Set on Cape Cod in the 1970's, she has to deal with a mother with a serious disease and ensuing depression, religious discrimination, an over-analyzing father, and a struggling older sister. There are infinite passages throughout this book that serve as mentors for establishing plot, tension, character turning points, and inner turmoil. Just be prepared for some vivid memories of life in the 70's and some incredible tear-jerking scenes!
Grammar instruction remains at the forefront of some of my work for this year, and I highly recommend Grammar Matters by Lynne R. Dorfman and Diane Dougherty. This book is full of explicit teaching points, specific references to mentor texts, connections to standards, examples of student work, and anecdotes from model classrooms. Furthermore, the teaching points and lessons are written in workshop format and structured within specific units for specific grades. With extensive appendices, this is an incredible resource for aligning workshop instruction with the Language Standards of the Common Core.