Saturday, January 5, 2013

How do you decide which books to use?

Is it just me or are others focusing on text choices this weekend? 

I've known the power of books for a long time now and still marvel at the way a willing reader can connect with a well written text.  The other morning, I was sharing Max's Words with two little friends and of course it led to a discussion of our personal collections.  They recounted their collections (band aids, stickers, pencils, stuffed animals) and mine (books and those little red coffee stirrers).  To be honest, I do not collect those stirrers but there were quite a few in my car! 

So, I was certainly focusing on making "smart" text choices after a Friday afternoon call from the Scholastic representative about a "new" Common Core aligned text set.  We stayed late at school looking at the text sets "experts" say best meet the needs of our students.  We found classics and some not-before-known texts among the collection and appreciate the work of those in the publishing world who are working full-time to assure we have resources and frameworks to explore more complex texts more deeply.   

Then, last night, there was this wonderful link from Heather Rader over at Choice Literacy about books focusing on bullying.  As I expected, R. J  Palacio's  fabulous book about disfigurement and acceptance, Wonder,  was included along with many other new-to-me texts such as
My Secret Bully, Confessions of a Former Bully, Confessions,and Patricia Polacco’s new book Bully.  Heather also talked about using  Thank You, Mr. Falker,  and How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson and The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes! her well research list of books exploring complex issues with rich language was pretty compelling and made me "wonder" how I might include such a unit of study in my own realistic fiction.  Heater, a wise woman indeed, also links to many other people's links, such as the Children's Literature Network,

Then, thanks to a PLN Twitter reminder, I hopped over to the Nerdy Book Club and read Alyson Beecher's post about biographical picture books.  I knew some of the texts like Eleanor, Quiet No More by Doreen Rappaport but never thought of connecting it to  Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko to explain who Eleanor Roosevelt was!  yes I knew The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with Chimps by Jeanette Winter but never thought to pair it with  Marty McGuire by Kate Messner.

WonderComprehension Clubs Grade 2 Theme Set: Search & SurviveMax's WordsPinky and Rex and the Bully


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