Wednesday, February 26, 2014

World Read Aloud Blogging Challenge #2

I'm participating in the World Read Aloud Day Blogging ChallengeHere's my 2nd entry: 

Week 2:  Adult & Child

I had a chance to talk to a couple of our 1st grade students this week :)

Q: I think everyone in the world should read...

Me: This is such a tough choice - I have so many favorites! But I do think everyone should read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  I think this is a perfect story.  The plot, the illustrations, the layout design - perfection! It is a classic. It won the Caldecott Medal in 1964. It has proven to have real lasting power.  I heart this book.


Shane:  I think everyone should read children's books especially Elephant and Piggy books.
Lila: I think the same as Shane. But everybody should read Pigeon books too.

Q:  If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be...

Me:  Eric Carle.  During the Global Read Aloud this school year, my classes and I had a chance to watch Eric Carle reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar via his website. He was charming! He was warm!  His eyes twinkled! We all loved him.

Shane:  My mom and Mrs. Elrick, my teacher.
Lila:  My mom and dad.

Q:  When I read aloud, my favorite person to impersonate is...

Me:  This would have to be Mo Willems. I know I do a poor job of attempting to be like Mo, but when he reads/tells one of his stories, well, there is nothing like it!  He becomes Pigeon.  He become Elephant.  He becomes Piggie.  His characters come to life.  They're BIGGER than life.  That's Mo.

Shane:  Elephant!
Lila:  Elephant too!  
Me:  Hmmmmm.... seems we have a theme here :)

Q:  The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf is...

Me:  Here's a pic of a few shelves from my home library:
Children's books, of course!
Shane:  I have about a millions books!  I have 26 books by R.L Stine   
Lila:  Fairy books.  I have a lot of them!

Q:  My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is....

Me:  I love sharing my favorite books and authors/illustrators with students, teachers and friends!  I love sharing my love of picture books and feel very lucky that is what I get to do everyday at work.  I also love hearing others read aloud.  To hear the "voice" of an author through different person, always entertaining and enlightening.  Reading aloud, either by me or listening to someone else, makes my heart sing.  As Kate DiCamillo, the  current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature says,  "stories connect us." 

Shane:  Finding out what the book is about.  Finding out what the surprise in the book is.
Lila:  I like when my dad changes his voice with the characters.

WRAD Blogging Challenge #3 coming soon!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Introducing.... World Read Aloud Day!

I'm so excited to announce that Memorial School will be participating in World Read Aloud Day! We will be incorporating WRAD into our Read Across America celebration throughout the week of March 3-7. What perfect timing to have two reasons to promote and celebrate literacy. According to LitWorld, a non-profit literacy organization fostering resilience, hope, and joy through the power of story:
World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.
As part of our participation, I have decided to take part in the WRAD Blog Challenge.  For four weeks, beginning today, I will be answering prompts along with many other bloggers who are participating in this global celebration of reading aloud. Thank you to library teacher extraordinaire, Matthew Winner for letting me know about this challenge.

Week 1: February 10 - 16

What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?

How fun to travel down memory lane for this purpose....  I have very clear memories of visiting our local public library in Fair Lawn, NJ.  It was always a highlight of the week for me.  I loved going into the small (at the time) building and finding the children's section.  I don't remember her name, but I have very warm memories of the children's librarian. She read us wonderful stories and helped us find great books to read. And, she was kind. I loved being surrounded by so many books and having the freedom to choose whatever I wanted. It was heaven to me.  Spending so many hours in the library and loving being there so much must have had a huge impact on me, because when I was in 6th grade and wrote my autobiography (which I came upon a few years ago!), I wrote that I wanted to be a children's librarian when I grew up.  Dreams do come true!

So, how will we be celebrating at Memorial School?  Dr. Quigley, our wonderful principal,
Michelle Callahan, our fabulous CSA Literacy Committee Chair, and I have been planning for the past month:  
  • decorations around the school
  • a kick-off assembly 
  • many community readers coming in to share their favorite picture books with our young students 
  • several Skype sessions planned with librarians and their students in Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts 
  • we'll end our week by having a wear Red and White Day and by having the Cat in the Hat welcome our students as they enter school on Friday, March 7.

Sound like fun?  You betcha!

For more information go to:  World Read Aloud Day

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

And the winner is......

January is a very exciting time in the world of children's books - it's the month the American Library Association announces the Youth Media Awards.  Because we love picture books at Memorial School, our students learned all about the Caldecott Medal.

The Caldecott Medal "shall be awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year. The award shall go to the artist, who must be a citizen or resident of the United States, whether or not he be the author of the text."

What a great award for our young students to learn about!  I shared previous winners with my classes. They now know to look for the gold and silver medals on the front covers of winning books and also to look for the Caldecott stickers on the spines of these special books in our library. We talked about some of the criteria the judges consider when making their decisions.

  • We looked closely at all parts of each book (front and back covers), end-papers, etc.
  • We discussed, do the illustrations tell a story?
  • We thought hard about whether the art was so special that the illustrator deserved to win.    
And then I decided to try something new - we would have our own Mock Caldecott right here at Memorial School! It was tough, but I narrowed the choices to three books:

We read all three stories and looked very closely at them as if we were Caldecott judges and then all the kindergarteners and first graders voted using a Google form on our library computers.

One of our students voting.
And, drum roll please, here are the winners of the Memorial School Mock Caldecott:

The Caldecott Medal (gold) goes to:  Journey by Aaron Becker
The Caldecott Honor (silver) goes to: The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

    The "real" Caldecott winners are:
All fabulous!  Locomotive by Brian Floca was awarded the Caldecott Medal.  The others, all stories without words, are Caldecott Honor books and are perfect to share with your children.  I highly recommend each of them!

This was such a fun and interesting unit.  I loved sharing some of my very favorite picture books with our young students.  I can't wait to do it again next year!
Memorial parents, it might be interesting to ask what your children thought of each of these books!