Saturday, August 31, 2013

Back to School Reading

Hello All!

If you're back to school I hope it's been great!  If you're not - well enjoy it while you can!

I've been back since August 21st, and I can honestly say I have a great group!  I only have 16 students, and it's an even split between boys and girls.  Not only do I have a small group, I also have the more English proficient group - so it's honestly been a wonderfully smooth start to the new year!  Believe me, this is a first!  I've had some large and challenging groups in the past.

We've been busy teaching routines and procedures and the like.  However, my principal gave teachers permission to read, Read, READ!  He wants us to start the year by developing in our students a love for reading.  Which is pretty much my mission in life - I think I've found the perfect administration for my teaching beliefs!

All that to say, we've been really enjoying reading in our classroom!  I have some great books to share with you, and they are especially great for the bilingual or dual language classroom.

First, and foremost...our first chapter book read aloud!
I am so thankful for the day I discovered this book!  It is a wonderfully imaginative read - with beautiful, authentic Spanish language and amazing images to capture your students interest!  Los niños extraordinarios is a series of books by Victoria Perez Escriva.  In the first book, there is an epidemic of cavities, a vampire dentist, a giant, a house shaped like an apple, and more!  Every day my students rush to the carpet after lunch to listen, and groan emphatically when it's time to stop.  The book will take us less than two weeks to finish, and luckily the second and third are already available!  I was able to find this book at my local library, but it's available from Amazon for under $12 - which is a steal because it's a hardcover book with color pictures and will last forever!

We've also been reading some books to encourage students to become aware of their "inner voice".  I want my students to know that if you're reading you MUST also be thinking!  In my opinion, a great way for students to become aware of their innner voice is to read wordless books.  Wordless books can be incredibly rich in detail and challange the reader to make all kinds of inferences, connections, and syntetize their thoughts throughout.  By taking away the words of an author the students cannot help but become aware that EVERYTHING happening inside their head is their own, their thoughts, their inner voice!  It's really cool to see students become aware of just how much is going on inside their head while they read!

Here are two great wordless books we've read:
Chalk by Bill Thomson, is a wonderful read about kids who venture out on a rainy day and discover magic chalk that turns their drawings into reality.  My students were literally blown away by this book!
Flotsam by David Wiesner also captured my students from page 1 till...well actually they were still talking about it as they left for the weekend.  They wish their was a sequel and were trying to predict what would happen in a sequel.  

Students came to the carpet with a clipboard with 6 post-its and a pencil.  I modeled my thoughts through "think-alouds", and then challenged students to write their thoughts.  We then would stick their thoughts into the pages of the book.  

Because these books are wordless they can work so well in any classroom - bilingual, dual, monolingual, etc.  There are many more wordless books I plan on sharing with my students thoughout the year, and will share here too!

Have a great long weekend!  If you do happen to read any of these books (especially the series, Los ninos extraordinarios, please share!)

Mrs. Castro
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  1. Thanks for the recommendations! It's great you're able to read, read, read! Los niños series looks interesting, what grade are you teaching?
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  2. That's a great way to show them how we think when we read-wordless picture books!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I need to get a copy of one!


  3. I am so glad you are enjoying your new class and school! Those books look like good ones to check out!

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