I am away on vacation #3, so I have turned it over to a guest blogger. Today my friend Carla, who I met while getting my Masters is here to tell us all about some fun books she is using with one of her tutoring students! Carla is a Reading Specialist as well who is very knowledgeable about reading and all that goes with it! So, enjoy her post today!
Surprise, I'm not Andrea! Andrea invited me to talk today on her blog, and she's visiting my place over at Comprehension Connection. When we talked about doing a guest blog spot, right away, I asked if we could do it on Book Talk Thursday because I *love* talking books. After all, I am a reading specialist, and like librarians, we need to be pretty familiar with what kids like and what's worth reading.
Well, my pick for today's post is the series Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows. I first came across this series in Target I believe a few years ago. My daughter was in second or third grade, so this book was a good fit. She quickly zipped through the first three in no time, but at this point, only the first title was available. I knew it was a good choice for my daughter and those Junie B. Jones lovers I had in my classroom. These books are slightly more difficult than Junie, so they are the next step so to speak, and I do love to get my students into a good series.
Why read a series some may ask? Well, kids grow to love the characters, and a series provides a sense of comfort to struggling readers. They know what to expect from the books once they get into them since they're already aware of the character's names and traits, type of story, and how the author writes. Yet, there's always a new adventure. From the teacher perspective, I like that the books typically stay similar in reading level too. It's important to know your students ZPD and what's right for them. If you push students into books that are too difficult too fast, they work too hard to decode causing poor fluency and loss of comprehension. If they are reading on their own, the book should be at their independent level.
With Ivy and Bean, I have enjoyed talking about characterization with my students. The first book in particular provides a great model for character change. As the friendship evolves between Ivy and Bean, the reader sees there is more to the characters. Tracking character change is one of our comprehension skills, so perhaps you'd enjoy using the organizer below. With my tutoring student, I used blue and green plastic markers and as parts of the story demonstrated evidence of a character trait, my student covered the trait with the appropriate colored disk.
Another important comprehension skill that relates well to this book is making connections. The family dynamics between Nancy and Bean is very similar to the relationship some girls may have with their sisters. It gives them something to connect to. Bean's older sister, Nancy, rules the roost and keeps a close eye on Bean which really annoys her. All kids get annoyed at some point, so it might be fun to explore what annoys you and what tricks you might might play on your sibling.
My tutoring student loved this book this week, and it's one series you might try with your middle grade girls. Thanks for reading, and if you have a great book to talk about, don't forget Andrea's linky, Book Talk Thursday. Til next week, happy reading!