Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It is hard to believe that today is the last day of 2008. I cannot tell a lie it is ending wonderfully. I spent the morning with my friend Carol. We work and live within miles of each other, but it has taken months to actually get together. We spent hours talking about, well about everything. It was nice to see her. She asked “Are you making any resolutions?” The answer is NO! I look forward to the upcoming year. Thank you to all the fellow bloggers that inspire and teach me. Have a fantastic 2009.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging Young Boys in Active Literacy

Earlier this week my friend Barb gave me an article from the most recent IRA magazine about a new book called Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging Young Boys in Active Literacy by Debby Zambo and William G. Bronzo. The joy of technology is that I was able to down load the first chapter from the book. The first chapter is titled Nurturing Young Male Readers. I am not a researcher. I am a practitioner, so this information helps me work with my students.

What I really liked about this chapter is how it addresses capturing boys’ imaginations. Zambo and Bronzo talk about using picture books that have positive male characters (I argue that it must be true in novels and graphic novels too.) and how boys relate to the actions and emotions of the characters. This was very evident in my class this week when I brought out An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco. 25 of my 29 students heard this story last year in second grade. I heard many boys say “this is such a sad story!” When I asked do you want me to read something else the chorus of “NO” was very clear. I agree with the authors that “Thinking about how characters feel allows boys to step outside themselves in to someone else…”

While I read the chapter I thought of the Guys Read book club and how the boys reacted to all the books we have read. Their favorite books are the ones with positive role models (I guess Greg in Wimpy Kid is positive!). They take it outside to role playing their own version of Lightening Thief.

I often hear teachers and parents say “Boys only read non-fiction.” I find this not to be true. I have given the guys many non-fiction books as possible book club books and they have not chosen one. They want the characters.

As I read more of the book I know it will inspire me to post more of my thoughts.

39 Clues: One False Note

I finally finished 39 Clues: One False Note by Gordon Korman. It took me awhile because I was so tired every night. Thankfully it happened before the weekend because Ethan was about ready to just take it out of my bag. There is already a queue of boys waiting for their turn.

I have to admit they are a fun read. I really like how geography and history are embedded in the story. When do you think they will figure out they are learning while having fun finding clues? The only problem with finishing 39 Clues: One False Note now is that the next one is due out until March!