Monday, September 7, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/7/2015 #IMWAYR

Where does time go? I am always amazed when time slips away from me and more than a month has gone by since I last blogged. I wish I knew what happened to August. It was filled with the getting ready for "back to school" craziness. I was setting up my classroom, conducting conferences with parents, and helping our new middle school teacher get settled. There are many positive things about working at a small school, but one of the unique responsibilities is having to wear a lot of hats.

Anyway, I have been reading over the last month. I am excited about choosing lots of good read alouds this year to share with my students. This week we will be talking about setting reading goals and making our lists of books we would like to read.  We also will begin a discussion of the different genres so they can think about making goals around different genres. I look forward to sharing my own reading goals and what I am reading with my students on a regular basis.  One of my goals this year is to make more of an effort to read more biographies.  I read a lot of nonfiction for grad school, but in my spare time I will always be a fiction lover.  However, I think reading more biographies will broaden my horizons as a reader. So if you have any recommendations of good biographies, I'd love suggestions.

I am going to link up with Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for #IMWAYR to share my latest reads.

Lady Almina and the Real Downtown Abbey

I just listened to the audio version of this book after a good friend recommended the book.  I love the show, and I love history.  This is basically the history of the Highclere Castle in biographic form following Lady Almina, who was lady of the castle around the time Downtown Abbey is set. It was a highly enjoyable read, and the audio version is well done. Lady Almina's husband was also an Egyptologist who was one of the ones who found the tomb of King Tutankhamen, so the history in general in the book was very interesting.

Serafina and the Black Cloak

A couple weeks ago I read Serafina and the Black Cloak.  I thought it was an interesting story with a mix of history, fantasy, and mystery.  With thinking a lot about genre as I was preparing my lessons for this week, it got me thinking that some of my favorite books are the ones the mix genres or the lines between them are blurred. I think this is a book many students might enjoy.  It almost made me think of Brandon Sanderson's The Rithmatist, but for a younger audience and with a female protagonist.

A Tale Dark and Grimm

I have been wanting to read this book for awhile and finally got around to picking it up at the library.  It is a fun read and would make for a great read aloud for 6th to 8th graders.  It would also make for a great selection for a lesson on voice. I love fractured fairy tales and books with a fun spin on fairy tales.  This book uses a lot of wit and humor to tell a different version of Grimm's fairy tales, but makes sure to ensure the tale is "dark and grim." Throughout the entire book, the narrator warns you that it is not safe for little kids and they should turn away. I am actually teaching a grades 5/6 split class this year and have some young fifth graders, so I'm not sure I would use it as a read aloud for this group of kids.  I may do a round of literature circles though using fractured fairy tale novels such as A Tale Dark and Grimm, The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories), and The Fairy Tale Detectives (Sister's Grimm series). There is also a new novel called Rump about Rumpelstiltskin. I need to read Rump and The Fairy Tale Detectives first though to see what I think. For my higher readers, I also could use Cinder because those books are at a higher level but still pretty clean and appropriate.

What have you been reading? Hopefully you found some time over this holiday weekend to relax and maybe get some reading in.


  1. Kids in the intermediate grades often love anything that makes them feel "grown up" - a book like "A Tale Dark and Grimm" that warns readers that it's not for "little kids" is so often right up their alley. ;)

    1. I think they will enjoy it. I am actually going to read the first part to my middle school and high school speech and debate classes to introduce the idea of voice.


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