With summer break right around the corner, I was starting to compile my summer reading list when I came across an excellent blog post by Katherine Sokolowski called Top Ten Reasons it is Good if Your Teacher is a Reader. If you have not read it I highly suggest that you do. This blog was co-written by her class of fifth graders that were worried that they would not get a teacher that reads in sixth grade. They had such a great 5th grade year with a teacher that knew and appreciated good books. These students were aware that their school experience would be significantly different next year depending on what kind of reader their teacher would be.
Those students are so right. Teachers that love to read generally have more books available for their students; they are better able to match books to readers; they are more likely to allow students time during the day to read. These practices can change a student’s classroom experiences and overall attitude towards reading.
This blog was a good reminder for me as well. When I was a 4th grade teacher I read lots and lots of children’s books. I knew that when I was faced with a student that did not like to read, I would need to have lots of “books up my sleeve” to be able to recommend. It takes wide reading and a lot of patience sometimes, but I believe that there is a “just right book” out there for every kid. I also believe that just right book can turn a non-reader into a reader. Wide reading also helped me to know what the best new books for my avid readers were to keep them reading, and helped me incorporate the best literature into my mini-lessons and find just the right resource for the strategies and skills I wanted to teach. Once I left the classroom, however, my reading habits changed and I began to read more professional books, journals and some contemporary fiction for fun. While this kind of reading is also beneficial and enjoyable, that post by Katherine Sokolowski helped to remind me that it is still important to continue to keep up with children’s books when you are an educator.
And what better time to start my children’s book journey than summer? But it has been awhile and I felt a little bit out of the loop. Where do I begin? How do I find titles of good books to read so I can be a resource to students and teachers?
One place that I have found lots of great suggestions for children’s books are blogs! There are tons of great blogs that regularly review the newest and best children’s books. Some of the ones I have recently begun to follow are:
Nerdy Book Club
This blog has posts by lots of different authors so there are a wide variety of perspectives represented.
Teach Mentor Texts
This blog not only lists great children’s books, it also gives teaching and grade level suggestions as well.
The NonFiction Detectives
With such a big focus on non-fiction in the new Common Core standards, this blog is very helpful to teachers looking to expand their repertoire in this genre!
Kid Lit Frenzy
This blog lists books and which CCSS can be taught with those books.
Another place I found a great resource was Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project. Lists included on their site are Great Read Alouds, Books Students Want on the Shelves Now, Biography, Expository Nonfiction, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Multicultural, Mystery, Narrative Nonfiction and Social Issues.
Of course there are always the old stand-by lists such as
Finally, I have also come to find that GoodReads is a great place to find book recommendations in any genre you are looking for!
Recently, a small group of teachers around our district have started a Twitter book chat on children’s and young adult books. Last month, we read Hound Dog True by Linda Urban. On Thursday, June 6 at 9PM we will be chatting about the book The Fault in our Stars by John Green. We would love to have you join us at #iread
Summer is a great time to reflect, relax, rejuvenate and READ! And I hope that as you compile your summer reading list, you will consider adding some good children’s books to it. After all, every child deserves a teacher that reads.