Tag Archives: Books

And We’re Reading

Oh, how I love a class that loves to read!



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The North Star

First of all, many thanks to everyone who was able to make it to Back-to-School Night last night. It was such a pleasure getting to meet so many of you.

In the church last night, I mentioned a book called The North Star, by Peter H. Reynolds. I found a version of the book online that you can read:

Read The North Star

You’ll notice that you can choose to read it in English or Spanish, but you can also choose whether the main character is a boy or a girl. I think that’s just fabulous! The illustrations aren’t quite as detailed as the book, however, so if you’d like to get your own copy (which I highly recommend), you can find it here:

The North Star.

Enjoy the journey!

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How Fast Do You Read?

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

If you want to see how fast you read, click on the eReader above and take the timed test. After reading a selection from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, you’ll answer three comprehension questions and then receive your score. My favorite part is shown after the score page. That’s where you’ll discover how long it will take you, on average, to read such books as Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, or Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Of course, I was most interested in how long it would take me to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (five and a half hours).

How fast do you read?


**Special thanks to Lee Kolbert for sharing this on her blog: A GeekyMomma’s Blog**

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Literature Map

If you’re looking for something new to read, try this website:

You simply enter the name of your favorite author into a box like this:
And, after you click “continue”, you receive a “map” that looks like this:
Each name in the resulting map links to another Literature Map, so the odds that you’ll find something new to read are really good!

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How Many?!

I have just one question for my seventh grade lovelies…have you stopped by the seventh grade website today? Did you see……


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Ready or Not…

I Can Still See You!

No sense trying to hide, my friends. Whether we are ready or not, it is time to head back to school! And, yes, I do include myself in that we! Believe it or not, we teachers like our vacations away from school at least as much as you do. 🙂

If you haven’t already noticed it, I’ve added a page to this blog with a growing list of Student-Recommended Books. If you’re looking for something new to read before you return on Tuesday, that’s a great place to start. All of those books were recommended by your seventh grade classmates.

Speaking of books…here are the latest totals for my amazing Seventh Grade Reading Community:

Keep up the amazing work, my friends!!

As you are preparing to head back to school, here is something for you to think about: What do you expect from 2011? You have 363 days left to learn something new, do something great, change your life, change your world. What’s it going to be? Who will you be on December 31st, 2011? Will you be the same? Or will you be changed?

What’s it going to be?

I can’t wait to see all of you on Tuesday!!

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Let’s Try This Again

While we weren’t able to meet at the Walnut Creek Library last week, we did manage to have a great time sitting in the café at Barnes and Noble. Well, if you’re willing to try again, so am I!

So, come join me at the library this Wednesday, December 29th, after 10:30. I’ll be sitting in the teen section upstairs. Just look for the big purple couches.

Let’s have a conversation about what you’ve been reading!! I can’t wait!!

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Today’s Book List

As I lay in bed this morning wondering why I was awake at 5:00 a.m., I had to listen to this rather annoying battle. The battle was between my still-recovering body, wishing for a few more hours of sweet, non-cough-interrupting sleep, and my head that was looking forward to seeing my students at the most beautiful library in Northern California (one of them, anyway), anxious to get the day started!

Before you start making phone calls (“Hello, funny farm?”), keep in mind that I’ve been under the influence of cold medicine for several days. My thoughts are not always entirely my own.

No, seriously. Put the phone down.

Back to this morning…eventually my head won out and I got up and prepared for my day. Everything I needed was already in my backpack: laptop, iPod, notebook and pens, and, of course, my book. I was ready!

I just needed to wait for about four hours before I could leave. [sigh]

I share this description of my morning with you for one reason: So that you may better understand my dismay when I arrived at the library and, after paying my parking fee, discovered that the library was CLOSED! That’s right! CLOSED! “Due to budget cuts.” Budget cuts? Is that why they did NOT close the parking garage? Because they wanted some poor teacher to pay her $2 parking fee before discovering that the library was closed?! That was particularly irksome!

And then the disappointment set in. I was so looking forward to sitting on those lovely purple couches in the teen section with my kids, talking about our favorite books.

Alas, ’twas not to be.

Plan B was quickly put into action. And that’s “Plan B” for “Barnes and Noble.” My friend Karen and I walked with six seventh graders and one mom from the library into downtown Walnut Creek to take up residence in the cafe at Barnes and Noble.

As we walked into the store, Karen stopped us all and gave the kids their instructions. They were to go find a copy of their all-time favorite book and bring it to the cafe with them. “Just ONE, Taryn!”



She still showed up with two. Ok, I know how she felt. I was given the same instructions and didn’t know what to do! Just one? One in each genre? One for each decade of my life? I mean, seriously…one???

After we each picked our favorite book, we met in the cafe and sat there for almost two hours talking about nothing but books! What a wonderful way to spend a morning! Honestly, if you teach literature I highly recommend spending some time just listening to your students talk about what they’re reading; about what they love to read. Not only will you learn a lot about your students, you might also learn a good deal about what they need from you as their teacher. They don’t need someone to force-feed them the books that just happen to be in your classroom cupboard or that might be on somebody’s “Every Middle School Student Must Read These Books Before High School” list. That’s the quickest way to get them to stop reading! Or worse…hate reading!

Listen to them talk about the stories they love and then take a step back and let them share their books with each other. I watched in wonder one day as one student finished the book she was reading and then walked it over to another student who wanted to read the book. That student put down her own book, picked up the new book, and immediately started reading it. I watched as she carried the book with her around the classroom, reading as she went back and forth to her locker, packing her things at the end of the day. My students amaze me!

Back to today…

As we were talking about books, I started compiling a list of recommended books and thought I’d share them here. I know there may be a few that I missed, but this is definitely a good start to any reading list.

Student Recommendations

Teacher Recommendations

I’ve added the student recommendations here. I’ll update the list as my students make suggestions. Of course, please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. We do love books!!!


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Let’s Talk About Books!

Come join Mrs. Bailey and me at the Walnut Creek library Wednesday, December 22nd. We’ll be there after 10:30 and will stay at least until lunch. You can find us in the teen section upstairs, most likely. So, let’s talk about books…what you’ve been reading, what you’ll be reading, and get some ideas of what you can read next!

Walnut Creek Library


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One Hundred Books!

Congratulations to my Seventh Grade Lovelies!! As of this evening, you’ve read one hundred books!!! That’s…wait for it, wait for it…AWESOME!!! (and now I’ll wait while y’all imitate the teacher…)

One hundred books is a fantastic achievement in September, and I think that deserves something special. How about some extra silent reading time tomorrow?! Sound good?

I thought you’d agree! 🙂

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