Summer Reading

Well, it is summer here in Georgia. While our summer break may be over at the end of July, I am pretty certain the temperatures will remain until the beginning of November. I love summer, but if you are like me you usually use a few of the days to get a little bit ahead. Typically, for me this means that I go in the first week or two of summer and get my classroom ready and I may read a few books. For me, if my room is ready to go, then I start to relax.

However, this summer is going to be slightly different. My principal conferences with each of us in March/April. During the conferences, she asks each of us about how we feel about our grade level. Well, when we met I told her I love third, but I'm willing to do whatever. If she needs me to move, move me, if she needs me to stay, I'll stay. I have to say, that is completely the opposite of who I was just a few years ago, but moving from first to third changed my perspective and thought process. So, I'm saying all of that to say I am on the move again - I am going to be teaching fourth grade next year! The best part is I will keep almost my entire class since most are looping with me. The worst part - packing and prepping a new room that won't be available until July. I know! I know! I've been quite spoiled with getting into my room quickly each year. I'm a creature of habit for sure! I'm used to setting up at the beginning of June.

All of this means a flip to my routine - I'll be reading first this summer instead of prepping my new room. So, are you curious about what I'm reading? Below are photos and the titles of each of the books are linked. You'll notice I'm not reading about math. That is because I will be teaching language arts, reading, and social studies. By the way, my links DO go to the Heinemann site and to Amazon, but they aren't affiliate links. They are just regular links.

by: Jennifer Serravallo
I started working on this book last year, but ran out of time to thoroughly read through it. I went through and flagged the main strategies I felt my kids would need before I did anything else. Hopefully, this year I will have more time to read through it. I also have The Writing Strategies Book, so I'm going to try to get to that one, too. Above, I included the link for Heinemann. My reasoning is if you buy the book through them, sometimes you can find coupons. Also, make sure you look on their site when you buy books. A lot of times you get a code in your book and it will allow you to access more resources.

by: Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell
I felt that this was set up similarly to The Reading Strategies book. Also, we all know who Fountas and Pinnell are - they are the Guided Reading gurus. The Literacy Quick Guide is not an overly thick book, but it tells you what to do for whole group, small group, and individuals in reading, writing, and phonics. Basically, it seems like it took the information that we are always trying to find and put it into one little book. Just from glancing through it, I love how it gives you little tips and suggestions. It would be perfect to use when you are trying to plan groups.

by: John Hattie
Two years ago, I had no idea who John Hattie was. Since then, I have bought multiple books by him. The thing I like most about John Hattie is he did a meta-analysis on over 200 things that tend to influence and effect student achievement. Basically, he took things like homework, retention, and teacher clarity, collected data, and then created scales to show you the effect those items have on students. For example, most of us believe that smaller class sizes are more effective, but his data shows it has a very low effect. Are you yelling at your computer screen about that yet? Here's his reasoning - teachers tend to not adjust their teaching. A teacher can have fifteen or thirty students, but they continue to teach the same way, so class size does not affect student learning.  At times, things may or may not apply to your classroom, but in a lot of cases it does. It is definitely a great book when you are trying to see what makes the most sense for your classroom. I feel like the book keeps me focused and from wasting time on things that may not work. If you get this book make sure you pick the K-5 one. The grades 6-12 and the K-12 books look almost identical. It's important to get the K-5 one because some data changes based off the grade level.

by: Kate Roberts
I love novels! I like the concept of sitting with my class and all of us having a copy of a chapter book and reading it together. However, I had never researched this, so I decided to read a book on it. This way, if I do novel studies, I am doing it in a way that will help my students grow.

by: Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan
True story - I was on the Heinemann site to buy A Novel Approach and saw this book. It wasn't published yet, but I knew it was a book I needed. I've read around half of the book already. The thing I like best about it is there are lots of photos explaining how to set up a solid classroom library or book room. It gives lots of tips and it even goes into a lot of detail explaining why you need to set up your classroom and book room in specific ways. It's an easy book to read and it gives a lot of great tips.

by: Leslie Blauman 
So, my state is no longer part of Common Core. However, I checked our state standards against Common Core and outside of teaching cursive, they really are the same standards. If you are like me, I can read a standard, but sometimes I'm not quite sure what they are wanting from my students. This book breaks it down so that you know where kids will get confused, what concepts to start with, and how to make sure kids understand the standard. If you don't teach language arts or you teach a lower grade, they have a math version of this and they have K-2 versions. I actually used the math one a good bit last year which is why I decided to grab the 3-5 language book.

Note - They have an updated version out called Your Literacy Standards Companion. It has a list of each state that opted out of Common Core and how the standards are different. I linked that version instead.

Now, a few little tips. One thing I have learned when reading is I keep different colored highlighters, a Sharpie, pens, and lots of Post It flags. For me, it helps me to quickly be able to find what I need if it is flagged. I tend to use a Sharpie to write on the flag so that I can see quickly what is flagged. Also, when I highlight and write notes in the books, it helps me to remember what I read or what I was thinking.

I hope everyone is having a great summer break! If you aren't there, hold on tight! It's coming! I'm sure when I'm heading back July 31, you will hopefully still have a few more weeks.

Have a great day!

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