Category Archives: Readalouds

Talk at home about…Story Time and Beyond!

What images appear in your mind when you think of the library? I hope you see students like preschoolers gathered together listening to a wonderful story, building early literacy skills without even realizing it. Libraries are all about literacy, and it starts in the story square with our youngest students.IMG_5068

The library program also reaches beyond the story square. Here are some other images I’d like to think come to your mind when you think of the library. Picture this – K-2 students gathering together, listening to a good story, AND communicating with others around the world about it through Global Readaloud.Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 8.14.28 AM

Picture this – 3rd & 4th graders practicing information literacy skills with our Destiny Quest library catalog, getting ready to teach others how to use it.

Picture this – Students of all ages taking on a new design challenge in our creation station.IMG_5065IMG_5058

Picture this – 5th graders enjoying a read aloud at the end of the day that I knew would keep them on the edges of their seats and provide tons of opportunities for thoughtful classroom discussions. It not only has a great story, it contains excellent vocabulary, and even math and science connections. The book? Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sacher.

Picture this – 6th graders learning how to ask good questions about big ideas. Knowing how to ask good questions is the start of the inquiry process. Ask a 6th grader what the connection is between a traffic light and asking questions.

Picture this – 7th & 8th graders in the classroom using their information and digital literacy skills with the library’s Digital Reference databases to research the early 1900s. Oh and yes, they still visit the library to use paper books, as well. The best part of all this for me is that I have been here long enough now to see how my students grow and develop these various literacy skills, from preschool to 8th grade.

These are just a few snapshots of learning that have occurred over the past couple of weeks in our school, supported by the library program, in the story square, and beyond!


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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Books, Collaboration, Destiny Quest, Digital Literacy, InformationLiteracy, Kindergarten, Learning, Preschool, Readalouds, Research

Talk at home about…reading our way through the week!

We are just getting ready to begin our third week of school! We’ve already experimented with our new “Creation Station”, listened to Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award book talks, explored the library to find books that will inspire us, and read – LOTS! I’ve found a few books to read aloud as we think about the skills and habits of mind we need to support our learning and big dreams. Here are the titles we shared that prompted discussions about our hopes and dreams.IMG_4961 (1)

My Pen by Christopher Myers is a celebration of individuality and the power of our imaginations. My students worried at first about the black and white illustrations, then realized the words made the colors come to life in their minds. This is what I call a quiet yet powerful book. Some books get my students jumping out of their seats. Some, like this one, still their bodies as they really focus on what they author is trying to say.  This was the best story to read aloud as we are getting ready to implement a ‘Creation Station” maker space in our library!

What do You do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, ill. by Mae Besom encourages readers to think about the bravery it takes to have an idea and share it with the world. Ideas, once nurtured, can grow beyond just ourselves. My students particularly loved poring over the illustrations in this book, thinking critically about what they meant and how they related to the text and the author’s purpose. I can easily say this is one of the best books I have ever shared to get them thinking out loud about what they see and how it relates to each of them as individuals.

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner, ill. by Mark Siegel is the perfect book to share the joy of reading. It falls under the “why didn’t I think of that idea” category! It is simply brilliant. It takes readers through the steps of choosing a book that is just right, sharing it with a friend, and gives reminders about how to read the words and give voice to the characters. I loved reading it, and my students created a wave of bodies with outstretched arms afterwards. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on it!

These authors and illustrators have truly inspired us. I can’t wait to see where that inspiration takes us!






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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, Authors, Books, Booktalks, Elementary, Kindergarten, Readalouds, reading

Talk at home about…a great first week!

Ok, so it hasn’t officially been a full week yet, but we are certainly off and running! The library has been bustling with books leaving the shelves in the hands of teachers and students alike. I have enjoyed welcoming each face, and have also had the opportunity to be a part of classroom activities in preparation for some wonderful collaborations that are already in the works.

Here are some of the books I’ve already shared with our younger students. Each in it’s own way celebrates books, reading, new beginnings, and the stories that we each have to tell!

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A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

My Teacher is a Monster!…No, I am Not! by Peter Brown

Today we will be sharing booktalks! Can’t wait to see 6th graders this afternoon to talk about the new Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award. Kids’ choice is something to celebrate!

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 6th Grade, Books, Booktalks, DCF, Readalouds, reading

Talk at home about..the power of choice!

The big library news in the state of Vermont is about books, of course! All school year long, students have been listening to and reading our kids’ choice nominees. Not only have they been absorbing well written literature, they have also been creating new content of their own inspired by a wide range of stories.

CCS Students in grades K-4 chose The World’s Greatest Lion by Ralph Helfer; illustrated by Ted Lewin as their pick to win the Red Clover Book Award. Thousands of other students across the state of Vermont agreed with them! The Red Clover Award exposes students in these grades each year to 10 quality picture books. The beauty of the program is that each student has a voice. This year, 2nd grade teachers and I worked together to incorporate that power of voice into students’ writing, using the Red Clover books as a springboard.

Students wrote persuasive pieces nominating the book they thought should win the award. They shared their writing on their classroom blogs, and got lots of authentic practice in keyboarding, navigating a digital platform, editing, and sharing effective comments with each other. We were then able to add other layers to their classroom KidBlog posts, including  book talks created during library times! Here are a couple of examples of book talks created using the StoryKit app:

Lemonade in Winter  by Emily Jenkins & G. Brian Karas

Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Steven Salerno

The World’s Greatest Lion by Ralph Helfer; illustrated by Ted Lewin

Students in grades 4-8 voted for their favorite Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award book, also! Each year, students choose their favorites from among 30 amazing nominees. The thing I love the most about the DCF books is that they provide my students with an opportunity to try something new, and to perhaps walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit. They can explore different times and a variety of  life experiences through the eyes of the characters.

CCS students varied slightly from the majority of children their age from across the state. Our school favorite for the award was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. The state-wide winner, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, came in a very close second. Only one vote separated the two. It was a tough choice, but the important thing for me is that there is even a choice to be had for my students. I think it is a powerful thing for them to know that they have a voice, and it matters.

We are now preparing for our annual DCF celebration next week. Students get the opportunity to come together, chat about the books, and get a sneak peek at next years’ list!

Follow the links to read more about the Red Clover Book Award and the DCF Book Award!



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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Collaboration, DCF, Kindergarten, Readalouds, reading, Red Clover, Writing

Talk at home about…Children First!

School library programs everywhere aim to provide all children with access to quality learning resources and provide them with the skills they need to navigate those resources. One of the ways we do this is by giving students a variety of experiences to interact with quality literature.

photoYesterday, library classes participated in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, a national campaign aimed at supporting literacy and early childhood education. We joined millions of other Americans in reading the book Otis by Loren Long. We read, listened, practiced our visual literacy and comprehension skills, and generally shared in a little Otis the Tractor love. Click here to learn more about this literacy campaign and it’s impacts on early childhood education. Here is Loren Long speaking about the campaign:

Here’s to putting our children first!

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Filed under 1st Grade, Books, Kindergarten, Preschool, Readalouds, reading

Talk at home about…Red Clover & DCF Books!

Each year, K-8 students may participate in the Red Clover (K-4) or Dorothy Canfield Fisher (4-8) Kids’ Choice Reading in the new chairs!Programs. Both programs expose students to a wide variety of quality literature chosen by dedicated teams of teachers and librarians. Students are able to vote for their favorite titles by the end of the school year. In addition, students learn to try new things with a spirit of exploration!

K-4 students share the Red Clovers during library times. The books help me teach and reinforce key literacy skills. Sharing takes the form of readalouds, movement activities, even blogging! Click here to visit the Red Clover site to learn more about the program and see the books your children will be sharing this Fall.

4th-8th graders listen to and watch book talks for the DCF nominees. They may participate in discussion groups and keep us busy making sure multiple copies of the books get into their eager hands! Click here to visit the DCF site. Watch trailers for this year’s nominees! We encourage you to read along with your child. The most meaningful discussions happen with you!

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Books, Booktalks, DCF, Kindergarten, Readalouds, reading, Red Clover

Talk at home about…The First Day of School!

Wow! Our first day of school flew by in a flurry of activity. Our whole school assembly was treated to a readaloud by Mr. Marino and Ms. Boutaugh. This a CCS tradition that I just love.Their choice for this year was “Only One You” by Linda Kranz. This book encourages each and every one of us to find our own way in the world. It reminds us to be brave, to be creative, to just be who we are. What a wonderful message to heaClick for more information on this titler on the first day of school. To read more about the power of picture books, no matter what your age, click here.

2nd, 3rd and 6th graders kept us on our toes with readalouds, exploration, and booktalks. We have delivered hundreds (yes, hundreds) of books to classBook Huddleroom teachers. We can’t wait till tomorrow! Here is a great picture of what I refer to as a “book huddle”. 6th graders couldn’t wait to get their hands on the new Dorothy Canfield Fisher books after watching booktrailers and listening to some readaloud hooks! Curious about these books yourself? Click here to visit my YouTube playlist.

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Filed under 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 6th Grade, Books, Middle School, Readalouds