Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

One of my favorite Monday morning routines has become checking out the links at to find out what other bloggers are recommending to read. I have many saved pages that I return to whenever I am at the library or bookstore. Feel free to join with your book recommendations.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about some of the how-to books I have been reading to use as mentor texts during our writing academy this summer. I found another one! How to Negotiate Everything by Lisa Lutz is a hilarious mentor text that could be used at many levels. I shared it with our kindergarten teachers who loved it because the pictures offer so many opportunities for inference and it is packed full of persuasive language. Since they are teaching an opinion unit, these teachers were going to use it as a read-aloud to develop a chart for how to convince people of your opinion. I hadn't thought about it as a mentor for opinion writing, but it works for that as well. This book has many teaching opportunities and laugh out loud moments and I can't wait to see how the children respond to it this summer from second right up to sixth grade.

One of our teachers who attended the Book Expo lent me Patricia Polacco's new book, The Blessing Cup, which is available for pre-order on Amazon. I love how Patricia celebrates special objects that
 have rich histories and stories; The Blessing Cup is another beautiful celebration of family history told by way of the importance of the cup that is passed down from generation to generation. I have read many of Patricia's books several times and there are certain pages that always reduce me to tears. Without being a plot-spoiler, there is a page that got blurry for me and I suspect that I will continue to well up whenever I read this particular page. Once again, Patricia has created a story full of memorable characters and moments. Enjoy!

Finally, I can't say enough about the new Units of Study that have finally come out from Teachers College. This week, I have read Writing Reviews by Lucy Calkins, Elizabeth Dunford, and Celena Dangler Larkey, which is the first-grade opinion writing resource. I also read Changing the World by Lucy Calkins and Kelly Boland Hohne which is the third-grade opinion writing resource. If you are not familiar with the set-up of these new books, they outline about 20 sessions of writing workshop per unit, with explicit ideas for mini-lessons, conferences, small groups, mid-workshop interruptions, and shares. Veteran writing teachers, as well as new teachers will find an incredible amount to learn, as all of the books are not only aligned to the Common Core, but also committed to the philosophy that young writers need audience and purpose, as well as tools for independence and repertoire. The comments throughout all of the books are so passionately full of respect for the struggles that all writers face and authentic practices for encouragement. Each grade level has its own set of books, worth every penny!

Enjoy the week,


  1. Those Units of Study do look good, Melanie. I've purchased several of the little Workshop Help desk/Firsthand books and find them also good to use. My latest is "Informational Writing"-Heinemann. Thanks for that latest "How-To". I will look for it, too!

  2. It's amazing that Polacco continues to write and create marvelous auditions to her already significant body of work. And Units of Study is on the way to me....can't wait!

  3. I didn't know Patricia Polacco had a new book coming out. Our third grade reads Polacco's books for an author study, and I know they'll be excited to see this new title. On another note, our budget passed! Now I can order our Units of Study!

  4. Oh you have totally hooked me on this Polacco title. Thank you for the review! This looks especially lovely. I love books that feature intergenerational relationships and celebration of tradition.