Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

On Mondays, Jen Vincent and Kellee Moye host What Are You Reading? on their blog, If you are ever in need of a book recommendation, this is a guaranteed place to find some!

Over the week, I read a few great books. One of my favorites was Hey Little Ant by Philip Hoose and Hannah Hoose. This book was published in 1998 and was a Reading Rainbow selection that I had never heard of until it was mentioned by a favorite website of mine, I bought it for our kindergarten teachers and then read about it again in Non-Fiction Mentor Texts by Lynne Dorfman and Rose Capelli (another book I read over the last two weeks). If you haven't read Hey Little Ant, I highly recommend it for young children, as well as older students. Perspective and empathy are important themes in this book and it could serve as a launchpad to much more serious conversations about other people's lives-- I can envision Hey Little Ant inspiring conversations about not only animal rights, but also decision-making, peer pressure, human rights and social awareness.

I also read Hold Fast by Blue Baillet which would actually work well with Hey Little Ant, since it is another book with strong messages about empathy, perspective, and social awareness. While I did not find Hold Fast to be as compelling as some other books I have read, I am glad that I read it and I think that it's important for educators and students alike to read about and learn about life in homeless shelters.

Non-Fiction Mentor Texts by Lynne Dorfman and Rose Capelli is now extremely tagged and noted. We have launched opinion writing units in several grades this year. Since these are new units, we do not have extensive lists of mentor texts or samples of student writing and this book provides both. It also provides great teaching tips and lesson formats for other types of informational writing. I have already read a few chapters multiple times and I am not returning this book to my shelf any time soon.

Also, I have to add that we are re-writing our sixth grade social studies curriculum and I have been reading every exemplar that I can find. The resources and the generosity of districts are overwhelming as every time I search, I find new materials to read and digest that have helped me plan and prepare for upcoming meetings where we will develop our units. Some of my favorites have been from the Greece Central School District,, Discovery Education, and National Geographic, but really, these resources represent just the tip of the iceberg.

Happy reading,


  1. You must be extra busy with the re-write of the curriculum, Melanie. I have the Dorfman poetry book, but not the non-fiction-thanks for the reminder, and about the little ant book-sounds good! Thanks for all the recommendations!

  2. I will definitely have to look into that non-fiction mentor text book. TThanks, too for the Social Studies information - we are tweaking ours, so these would be excellent resources to tap into.

  3. Hold Fast just came in for me at the library so I plan to get to it soon. I am very curious about this title. Have heard much but the topic is what draws me. I LOVE Hey Little Ant! Such a great title. Think I should read it aloud again soon!

    1. Hi Carrie, I loved Hold Fast and it is a class favorite in my classroom too! I wrote about it a few months ago on blog - here's the link:
      Enjoy it! :)

  4. Hi there Melanie, the book cover of Hey, Little Ant looks really cute! Would love to find that one. I own several Blue Balliett books but haven't had a chance to read them yet. Enjoy the rest of your reading week!