The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier

I recently came across this modern twist on The Little Red Hen and instantly fell in love with it.

Brenda Maier’s version tells the story of Ruby, a plucky little girl who designs an awesome fort (She Shed?) much to the dismay of her three older brothers who were always “too busy” to help her out. I love this version not only because it shows that girls can be engineers, but also because it emphasizes the grit needed to engage with the design process from start to finish.

The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier would be a perfect read aloud for 2nd and 3rd graders, especially during a STEM/STEAM unit of study.

If you’re looking for materials to support a book study for this title, click here to go to my TpT page!

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila

TpT for Schools

Teachers, I want to make sure you know about TpT for Schools!

Educators like you already turn to TpT to get resources to meet the needs of all types of learners — and now your school can support you in purchasing these resources! TpT for Schools is an easy, centralized way for your administrator to use school funds to buy the resources you need from TpT.

Learn more here about how your administrator can sign up: bit.ly/tpt4schools

Louisiana's Way Home

I remember 8 years ago when I finished reading Kate DiCamillo’s masterpiece, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I was in a cafe in Union Square, NYC. As I read the last chapter, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. 

It was a beautiful moment.

Today, I had a similar experience. Sitting in a cafe in Montclair, NJ, I just finished Ms. DiCamillo’s latest book, Louisiana’s Way Home. Tears race down my face as a heaviness sits in my heart. But I feel hope. Just like with Edward Tulane, I feel hope. 

Louisiana’s Way Home picks up two years after Raymie Nightingale, a book that Ms. DiCamillo published in 2016. Louisiana Elefante has been woken up in the middle of the night by her grandmother, who insists that they must leave Florida immediately to escape the family curse. (This book stands on its own, even if you haven’t read Raymie Nightingale.) What follows is a “long and tragic story full of dark alleys and twists and turns and many unexpected happenings…and also curses. There are curses in the story.” Through all of this, Louisiana has to fight to remember that “perhaps what matters when all is said and done is not who puts us down but who picks us up.”

Kate DiCamillo is a gifted writer. She can weave deep, sad stories by arranging and rearranging various combinations of twenty-six letters. 

Readers young and old, if you have never picked up one of Kate DiCamillo’s books, you must do yourself a favor and add that to your to-do list. Read one. Read them all. It doesn’t matter, as long as you experience the gift that is Kate DiCamillo.

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Appropriate for grades 4-6.

Publisher: Candlewick

Release Date: October 2, 2018

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds

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Nerdy Birdy Tweets is a timely tale of two friends whose bond is tested by technology. This is a perfect read aloud for 2nd and 3rd graders!

After Nerdy Birdy becomes addicted to Tweetster, he posts a not-so-flattering picture of his best friend, Vulture, eating quite messily. He soon learns that posting something online without permission is a HUGE mistake.

Will Nerdy Birdy repair his friendship with Vulture and learn the difference between online "friends" and a real friend? You'll have to read to find out!

(And if you're looking for a Book Study to go along with Nerdy Birdy Tweets, head on over to my TpT shop!)

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila :) 

Anyone Else a Fan of Notice & Note?

It goes without saying that teachers want their students to be attentive and analytical readers of text. But how does one actually go about teaching students the process of getting there?

Enter Notice & Note. 


Notice & Note has quickly become a teacher favorite, thanks to the super effective close reading techniques outlined in the book, Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading, written by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. Essentially, there are six signposts that serve as signals for readers to closely examine literature through a rigorous, analytical lens.

I have created several Notice & Note resources to help my students organize their thinking around this instructional approach, including Signpost Mini-Books, Sticky Notes, and Graphic Organizers.

Any of These Products Could Be Used:

♥ as high-level text-dependent questions during Close Reading lessons

♥ as comprehension checkpoints during Guided Reading, Reading Workshop, Independent Reading, Read Alouds, and Shared Reading

♥ as part of an Interactive Notebook or Reading Response Journal

♥ for homework assignments during a novel study or independent reading


I have also developed several Notice & Note Novel Studies designed to give teachers a detailed roadmap for navigating the various novels with the six Notice and Note Signposts. The signposts are listed along with a "Think-Aloud" teacher script/note, presented in two formats: 

♥ comprehensive notices and notes organized BY CHAPTER; useful when focusing on all six signposts at once

♥ comprehensive notices and notes organized BY SIGNPOST; useful when targeting one signpost at a time 

I have witnessed first hand how useful the Notice & Note model is for students tackling noteworthy texts with a critical eye. I hope you find these resources useful!

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila :) 

NEW FAVORITE BOOK ALERT!

There’s a common worldview that difficult feelings - like sadness - are meant to be repressed and hidden from the world. This leads to people suffering privately or bottling up emotions until they explode.

Luckily, highly-engaging books like Ira Crumbs Feels the Feelings teach children (especially boys!) that it’s ok to feel sad sometimes.

Ira and Malcolm are besties who have difficulty deciding whether to play hide-and-seek or tag. When others hear the word “tag,” they come running and swoop Malcolm off his feet, leaving Ira all alone.

Now Ira’s body is doing strange things, telling Ira that he is S to the A to the D: SAD.

People try to cheer him up but he just wants to feel his feelings!

Apparently, Malcolm was missing his bestie and comes back to find Ira feeling pretty sad. When he inquires about his friend’s sadness (as good friends ought to do), he doesn’t try to change Ira’s feelings but chooses to empathize with him instead.

All-in-all, Ira Crumbs Feels the Feelings has ME feeling all the feelings…especially love! 

Great read aloud for grades K-2.

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila :) 

I received this book from the publisher, Owl Kids, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.