5 Books I Read to My Students This Week

So, this amazing thing is happening with these read alouds that I’ve promised myself (and my students) that I’m doing every single day. When finished, I place them in the front of my room … and my kids are reading them … a lot! We are 8 books into my new venture and I’m thrilled at the number of amazing words my students have heard, great mentor text they’ve seen, and the connections they are making already. They love this part of our day!

So … here are the five books I read aloud to my students this week:

the dark#1 The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Sure, my kids have all heard of The Series of Unfortunate Events and many have already watched the series on Netflix. I told them I’m holding off on that until I read all of the books. But they didn’t know that there are several more Lemony Snicket books available in our very own Media Center!

After reading about the Creepy Underwear last week and unsettled Jasper when it comes to the dark, my kids were expecting something a little more ominous than what they found in this book. In this book, Laszlo isn’t really a fan of the dark, but he learns that the dark isn’t all that bad and scary. The most interesting thing that my kids took away from this book was how the dark was an actual character who interacted with the little boy, Laszlo. They didn’t realize that something so abstract as dark could be used in that role.


13 words#2 13 Words by Lemony Snicket

This is another unusual book that gives kids exposure to a different type of text format. This book’s story is structured around 13 unique words. The story builds bit-by-bit and creates a world where these unique words/ideas all fit together in a way that just works. It’s silly. It’s odd. And it’s fun.

After reading this, I wrote 13 strange words on the board and some of my extremely motivated writers are working on their own version of 13 Words to see if they can build a cohesive world like in the original book.


batman#3 Batman’s Dark Secret by Kelley Puckett

Ok, who doesn’t like some superhero adventures once in a while?

This book starts with the child, Bruce Wayne, and briefly describes how he gained his courage & motivation to fight evil in the world. As a kid, he was faced with a monster in a dark cave and had a choice to make. He found the power to say, “No!” and to stand strong, which inspired him to do more to help others. It’s short, beautifully illustrated, and reminds children that even though they are young, they can still be brave.


trouper#4 Trouper by Meg Kearney

Watching all of the posts from the animal shelters that have worked tirelessly to help the displaced animals from the hurricanes made me think of this story. Trouper is a homeless dog that gets picked up by animal control and brought to the shelter. He watches the other dogs get adopted one-by-one, but he remains. That is until a young boy sees something special in him and brings him home. He learns what it means to be a part of a family, to have food, and a soft bed. And even though he only leaves three footprints in the snow, he’s still worthy of love.


Escape-From-Mr-Lemoncellos-Library-Book-Front-Cover-Artwork-Art-Work-Lemoncello-Chris-Grabenstein-Nickelodeon-Nick-Press#5 Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein.

No, I didn’t read this whole book to my class this week. Instead, I totally hooked them because once we return from break, we’re starting this as yet another read aloud. This is partly because I love this book and it’s so much fun, but also in preparation for a Skype chat we’ll get to do with the author later in the year (cross your fingers & toes for us).

So, to get the kids really excited, we read the first chapter in class and I left them on a cliffhanger before a week long break. Bwahahaha!


Three Books I Read to My Students This Week

IMG_8631I recently saw this meme floating around on Facebook and it struck a chord…this is so me! I was that kid in school who had a book in her lap and would sneak glances down to read because my book was far more exciting than anything I thought my teacher had to say. And I definitely stay up late reading as an adult.

And then I got to thinking about my own students. One thing that hasn’t required a lot of practice is independent reading. My kids love to read! (tough problem, right?) I realized just how often I have to tell my kids to put their book away because we have to move on. Of all the things you don’t want to tell students … that’s it.

And then I thought some more about my students and realized that one of the few times it feels that I have their complete and undivided attention is when I’m reading aloud. They love stories! That means that I need to read aloud more to my students. I love it; they love it; and there are so many lessons that can come through a read aloud.

So, I made a promise to myself that I will read aloud more to my students. Every day. I’m going to go beyond just what the county has told me to read to them. Each day I hope to read aloud a different book to my students. It won’t be a grandiose lesson. In fact, some days it will just be a read aloud. Other days they will have something to reflect on.

My teacher brain is constantly going. So, what looks like a simple read aloud is actually a small part of a much larger plan. We’ll refer back to these picture books constantly throughout the year. One day we might touch on character development during our reading lesson; a week later we might refer back to that same text to see great examples of voice in writing.

But I can’t use these books as teaching tools & building blocks in learning until I’ve read them to my students and they have a growing “book bank” from which to pull ideas, connections, and even vocabulary.

We give our students multiple strategies to help them be successful in math, but sometimes we forget to expand their exposure to text. We spend a lot of time digging deep with one text over the course of a week or even a few weeks if it’s a novel study. There’s real merit in that. But we can’t forget the small sips from an engaging read aloud and the value of that daily exposure.


This week was short due to inclement weather, so I was able to read aloud three picture books to my students on top of the county curriculum requirement. Check out the books below for ideas for your students or children at home.

creepy carrotsCreepy Carrots! Words by Aaron Reynolds & Pictures by Peter Brown

Jasper the rabbit has been munching on carrots from Crackenhopper Field a little too long. One day he gets the spooks when he thinks that the carrots are out to get him. Are the carrots actually out to get Jasper or do they have their own plan? We actually read this book twice because my kids loved it so much. They spent time reflecting on who they thought won by the end (Jasper or the carrots) by having the best plan.

Check out the book video for this book!


creepy underwearCreepy Pair of Underwear! Words by Aaron Reynolds & Pictures by Peter Brown

Jasper the rabbit is back! In this book, he decides that he’s a big boy rabbit and ready for creepy underwear. Well, things don’t go as planned when he notices them glowing at night, which is a bit too creepy for Jasper. He tries to get rid of the creepy underwear, but they keep coming back! How will he get out of this predicament?

My kids constantly sneak this book off the shelf so they can read it independently. Both of these books about Jasper are great fall reads.

Check out the book video for this book!


cordeliaCordelia by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt

This is a powerful book with a female protagonist who learns to believe in herself and to soar as high as she wants to go despite those who say she can’t. This is a story of learning to be your own hero, to stand strong, and to reach for your dreams. My kids took away a powerful message that it doesn’t matter what other people think.