5 … I mean, 4 Books I Read to My Students

Yup. That heading is correct … I only read 4 books to my kids last week. This is because we got snow; I repeat…SNOW! Friday was a day of chaos, excitement, and panic trying to figure out how everyone was going home since school let out early because of the snowstorm. I guess that’s a pretty good reason to miss a day. I ended up with a total of 8 inches of snow, which is a rare occurrence in Georgia. It sure did make this Maine girl super happy!

The four books that I read aloud this week came from my school’s Media Center. My kids were so excited to learn that they were the first class in the building to read these stories because I stole…I mean borrowed them from the new release cart. Maybe one of them will strike a chord with you and you’ll be able to share with your students or children.

IMG_9774We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio

Two years ago I read Wonder and fell in love with the sweet story. I tried to read it aloud to my third graders because I thought every child needed to hear that story. And I still stick to that. But it totally flopped with my students and we never finished it. That’s ok…they got to hear it in fifth grade and many of them read it independently. It was a difficult book to read aloud and keep the attention of third graders.

Lucky for me, there’s this great picture book that my third graders loved. It’s a simpler version of the novel but the message is just as strong. My students are all familiar with Wonder the novel and many have already seen the movie. The #choosekind movement is nothing new to them, but it’s always a good reminder. This read aloud did just that…remind us that everyone matters.

This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations by Amy Krouse RosenthalIMG_9773

I was thrilled to introduce my students to Amy Krouse Rosenthal through this book. We love reading books that play around with text and show us how there are no boundaries or limits to what one can do with words when it comes to story telling. This book inspired my students to start a page in their own writer’s notebook where they began to jot down their own life equations.

IMG_9772Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

This is the cutest book! Even my toughest boys couldn’t help but “Awe!!!!” over little Kelp the unicorn who was born in the sea and lived with narwhals. The illustration of Kelp in his swimmies is so cute! One day Kelp notices a creature that looks like him and discovers “land narwhals”. Ok, not really, Kelp…they’re unicorns and so are you. He has to make a decision to either stay with the sea unicorns or live with the land narwhals. My students loved what he came up with in the end.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark PettIMG_9771

Beatrice is a little girl who NEVER makes mistakes…ever! Life is perfect for her until one day when she makes her first mistake. At first she doesn’t know how to handle it. Then she finds her way and realizes that life is more fun when it’s messy. My students loved this book and the reminder that if we’re not failing and making mistakes, then we’re not really learning and living.

Happy reading!

5 Books I Read to My Students …

My blog has been quiet lately, as there never seems to be enough hours in the day for it. However, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about my reading instruction and how to make it better and more efficient. I’ve immersed myself in the works of Donalyn Miller, Jen Serravallo, Mary Howard, Kylene Beers, Jan Richardson, and Lester Laminack. Their books, and daily social media posts, inspire me to be better. There comes a time in every educator’s career when they have to decide on which side of the line they stand when it comes to instruction. I’m at that point with mine. Stay tuned to hear about some of my changes.

In the meantime, one thing that I will not give up is reading to my students on a daily basis. I will fight for this opportunity.

So, here goes … 5 books I read to my students this week. Maybe you’ll find something that will work in your classroom.

IMG_9735A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert

This one has been around for a while, but it lends itself so well to our social studies standards about productive resources. It’s a sweet story about a little girl who needs a new coat. She and her mother barter various items over the course of a year to get the new coat made. It gives a lot of perspective for just how much work and resources are needed to make an item. Anna has such appreciation & joy for her new coat when it’s finally finished.



Encounter by Jane YolenIMG_9734

My colleagues introduced me to this title for our standards about European explorers. This is a wonderful book about Christopher Columbus’s landing in San Salvador from a Taino boy’s perspective. He tries to warn his people about the newcomers who only appear to be interested in what they can take from his people. My class had a great discussion about perspective and inference after reading this text.


IMG_9731Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena

This is a book that I borrowed from my child’s personal library to share with my students. It’s about a little boy, CJ, who travels on the city bus with his grandma to the soup kitchen where they volunteer their time. CJ questions his grandma frequently about the things they don’t have. She gives him perspective and gently helps him to see and appreciate the simple beauties around them.


Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions by David A. AdlerIMG_9733

Who says a read aloud can’t be done during math? The author uses the premise of a 3-D monster movie to help teach measurement concepts for perimeter, area, and volume. The pictures are silly and this book is a lot of fun!


IMG_9732My Weird School Fast Facts: Explorers, Presidents, and Toilets by Dan Gutman

My students LOVE the My Weird School series! Finding this non-fiction text with familiar characters and humor was like striking gold for my kiddos. We only read the first chapter that related to Christopher Columbus & the Native Americans, and then I made it available in my classroom library. This book is a fun and goofy way to learn about parts of American history.