Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/26/2016

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
My reading is so disjointed but I'm just spread between too many books right now! I'm still reading The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett and then I started Wired For Story by Lisa Cron. They're all just so good and I don't have enough time!

Reviewed Last Week:
#TrueFriends Giveaway!
This week, I celebrated a remembering to feel over at Story Exploratory!
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
My plan is to keep reading: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett, and Wired For Story by Lisa Cron. I also have The Reader by Traci Chee...but I'm going to make myself wait until I finish these others! I will also be reading And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss with a 2nd grade class this week. So excited!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Friday, September 23, 2016

True Friends Giveaway! #TrueFriends

Today I'm celebrating four amazing middle grade books about friendship! Kirby Larson, Augusta Scattergood, Susan Hill Long, and Barbara O'Connor didn't just write four wonderful books, they're working together to celebrate friendship, writing, and reading.

Here are their #TrueFriends books!
AUDACITY JONES TO THE RESCUE by Kirby Larson 
from Scholastic in January 2016

MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG by Augusta Scattergood 
from Scholastic in August 2016

WISH by Barbara O'Connor 
from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in August 2016

THE MAGIC MIRROR by Susan Hill Long 
from Knopf in May 2016

To spread the message about #TrueFriends, each author created a video that talks about friendship in her book and includes a writing prompt about friendship. You can watch all the videos on the #TrueFriends YouTube Channel! And you can also find more resources in the #TrueFriends kit and even a sweet "Friend Catcher" template kids can make.

And if that wasn't awesome enough...there's more! 

It's a...

#TrueFriends giveaway!
Fifteen lucky librarians and teachers will receive a set of the four #TrueFriends books: AUDACITY JONES TO THE RESCUE, THE MAGIC MIRROR, MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, and WISH and four super lucky grand prize winners will receive the books and an opportunity to host one of the four authors for a Skype visit with their class, library, or school.

Head on over to enter the giveaway! You have until November 30th to enter!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/19/2016

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
My reading last week took a detour...but it was great. I finished rereading A Writer's Notebook by Ralph Fletcher and loved it even more than the first time. I also ended up starting The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. It's so beautiful so far! And I started The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett as a mentor text.

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to continue reading The Memory of Things and The Anatomical Shape of a Heart. I also got my copy of Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer and will be reading for a book study...and my ESL class text. Woo hoo!

This Week's Reviews:
#truefriends
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Friday, September 16, 2016

For The Love Of Mentor Texts - Jennifer Laffin

Welcome to another guest post in my series For The Love of Mentor Texts here at Teach Mentor Texts. I love to talk about the power of mentor texts to impact our writing but I'm thrilled to have friends share how they use mentor texts for a fresh perspective. Today I'm excited to share thoughts from Jennifer Laffin who blogs at A Sweet Writing Life. I hope you are as inspired by her ideas as I am!

Would you like to write a guest post for For The Love of Mentor Texts? Just let me know by filling out this simple form

*********************************

In the summer of 2011, I took part in the National Writing Project’s Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Those three weeks were heaven on earth for me as I wrote, researched, and learned about the best practices in teaching writing. I came to the Institute knowing very little about teaching writing, but I was like a sponge, ready to soak up any and all wise words.

I had to choose a Teacher Inquiry Project to research during the Institute. After mulling over hundreds of topics (literally hundreds because I knew very little about teaching writing), I decided to spend my time learning about using mentor texts in the writing classroom. Mentor texts combined two things I loved -- reading and writing.

That choice, to research how to use mentor texts in the writing classroom, was the best decision! It was the toehold I needed to launch me into this beautiful world of teaching writing. Before the Institute, I hadn’t even heard of using a mentor text in the writing classroom. Now, I can’t teach writing without one.

There are many reasons why mentor texts help make teaching writing easier, but here are a few of my favorites:


Mentor texts can be used for all phases of the writing process. They can spark an idea, help with revision, and show us how conventions make writing strong.


Mentor texts show us some cool writing tricks. Including the Power of Three (listing three details in a row), varying sentence length for effect, or varying your first line are just a few ways mentor texts can support student writers.


Mentor texts help us teach some writing elements that are difficult. For example, take character development. Many young writers create rather flat characters. However, after studying how an author develops a character, these writers can change their character into one that has life.


Mentor texts are a great way to teach conventions within the context of writing. Do you have students who don’t capitalize the letter “I” or the first word of a sentence? Are run on sentences running rampant because your writer forgot how to use a period? Is the writing missing paragraphs, making it very difficult to read and follow? Pull out a mentor text for a quick study of how the author used these conventions to make the writing easier for the reader.


Any book can be a mentor text. You don’t necessarily need a special title to get the job done. Read through your favorite picture book and point out some things you notice that your student writers could pull into their own writing. Soon, your students will do this on their own.


With a mentor text, you never have to teach writing alone again. Think of all those experts that are just waiting in your classroom library for their chance to help!


Don’t know where to start? The Writing Fix website has an amazing bibliography of mentor texts and lessons to accompany them.

If you aren’t already using mentor texts in your writing classroom, I hope you will give it a try!

A giant hug to Jennifer to stopping by to share her love of mentor texts!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Groovy Joe Review and Giveaway! #groovyjoe

Title: Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs 
Author: Eric Litwin   
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld 
Publisher: Scholastic - Orchard Books 
Publication Date: August 20th, 2016  
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Groovy Joe was living the dream.He had a spoon and tub of doggy ice cream.

And he started to sing:
Love my doggy ice cream! Love my doggy ice cream!

Eric Litwin, author of the bestselling and beloved Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, and bestselling artist Tom Lichtenheld, illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, have created a captivating new canine character who will groove his way into readers' hearts and have them grooving and giggling all the while. In his debut adventure, Groovy Joe faces three roaring dinosaurs hungry for his doggy ice cream! Oh no! But Joe knows just what to do and soon enough he has them all sharing while moving and singing along.

What I Think: Having a puppy who turns one on Thursday, loves good treats, and her best friends is only part of the reason why I'm excited about Groovy Joe. Groovy Joe has a great attitude and is excited about his doggy ice cream...and even excited about sharing with his friends. As a mentor text this book is offers a great opportunity for young readers and writers to think about sharing. They can write their own story about sharing something they love or write about at time when they shared something or someone shared with them. And sharing is caring so it's a great topic to write about!
    Also in terms of a mentor text, this book offers an opportunity to talk to students about repetition and for them to think about including this in their own writing. Especially with young readers, this is is a great format to use when creating their own books or a shared class book even. You could even use each child as a character eating his or her favorite treat when a friend walks in and he or she shares with their peer. How cute would that be? Let me tell you: super cute!
     Finally, Groovy Joe is full of rhyme. Have students recognize the words that rhyme in the text and see if they can come up with their own rhymes! I have a friend who responds, "Living the dream!" whenever you ask him how he is. Maybe kids can up with their own catch phrases to share and celebrate.
Snatch of Text:  
"Groovy Joe was living the dream.
He had a spoon and a tub of ice cream."
Writing Prompt: Write about a time when you shared with someone or someone shared with you and how you felt. Write a story about sharing your favorite treat with a friend or friends...or maybe dinosaurs!?
Book Trailer:
Additional Resources: Visit the website to hear free downloadable musical performances of this rocking story in English and Spanish. While you’re there, check out “The Groovy Dance,” Joe’s very own disco doggy dance track!”

Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs is the first book in a series about the fun-lovin’ and guitar-strummin’ pup. The next Joe story, Disco Party Bow Wow, will be out in the fall of 2017!

A great big, groovy thank you to Scholastic for 
sending me this title to share and is also for 
providing a prize pack for one lucky Teach Mentor Texts reader! 
Be sure to enter!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/12/2016

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I'm a little sad because we gave up on Matilda. Wah wah. My kids just aren't into it right now. But that's okay. They're checking books out of their school libraries now...so that means football and Minecraft books and that's okay. We did spend time pouring over Aaron Becker's books this week and my kids were entranced. Love it! I read for my ESL class and started Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young and am enjoying it. AND I'm rereading Ralph Fletcher's A Writer's Notebook...it's such a gem of a book. If you haven't read it and write or teach writing, it's perfection.

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm looking forward to reading more of Hundred Percent and rereading A Writer's Notebook and we're starting a book study at the middle school of Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer.

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dear Dragon Review and Blog Tour

Title: Dear Dragon
Author: Josh Funk   
Illustrator: Rodolfo Montalvo 
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.

George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face? 
What I Think: Connecting with others through letter writing is such an awesome experience. I love the twist Josh incorporate into Dear Dragon. Can you imagine finding out your pen pal is a dragon?! This book is a great opportunity to discuss letter writing and to have students think about what they might share about their day with a friend. This is also a great opportunity to start a discussion about communication in general. We have so many ways to communicate now! Have students make a list of all the different ways and what makes each unique. Then think about which mode of communication might work better for some instances than others. To take this to another level, think about how information can be mistaken through written communicate. There are so many intricacies of language...but with social media now, with emojis and text speak and having to read between the lines. There are so many advantages and disadvantages to discuss when it comes to being as connected as we are (or can be) these days.
Book Trailer:


I'm so excited to have Josh Funk here today 

to give some advice to any reluctant writers out there! 



Josh Funk’s Advice for Reluctant Writers


For all of you reluctant writers out there, let’s unravel what ‘writing’ really is.


Writing is creating.


Every book starts with someone writing. But it’s not just books. Movies, television shows - they all start with someone writing the story. Even video games, many of the best ones have great stories, compelling characters, conflicts with villains, and so on.


“That doesn’t help me when I’m staring at a blank page, Josh,” you say. Well, you’re right. But what do stories, especially the best stories, do? They make you feel. They evoke emotions. Maybe they make you laugh or cry? Get excited or scared? Make you think or see the world differently? Or maybe they just entertain you for a little while.


Even the dictionary definition of ‘write’ means ‘to express or communicate’ (in writing). So how about this, my reluctant writer friend?


Make someone feel.


Pick an emotion. Any emotion. Whatever you’re feeling right now. Or whatever you want to feel. Or whatever you want someone else to feel.


Write something that will make your friends laugh.


Write something to gross people out.


Write about someone you love.


Write about something that excites you.


Write the saddest thing you can think of (without being mean, of course).


And if words aren’t for you, then draw a picture to make people feel. Or draw and write.


Or maybe write a letter. In Dear Dragon, both George and Blaise aren’t terribly excited about their assigned pen pal project … but they do it anyway. And (spoiler alert), it turns out that they become great friends!


Oh, and also, don’t worry about spelling. Real authors don’t worry about spelling. That’s what spell-check and editors are for.

About The Author: ​​Josh Funk is the author of Dear Dragon (Viking/Penguin) and other picture books. Josh is a board member of The Writers' Loft in Sherborn, MA and the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences. Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes picture book manuscripts. Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________. Find out more at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on twitter @joshfunkbooks.


A big thanks to Josh for sharing his thoughts on writing with us!

You can visit the other stops on the Dear Dragon blog tour!
LibLaura5 – September 5
Teach Mentor Texts - September 7
As They Grow Up – September 8
Emily’s Reading Room – September 9

Reederama – September 10

What do you want to write about today?