The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 43


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years. I’m sure her colleague appreciated the information. That kind of interchange is repeated on this site daily. The site has over 20,000 followers. Kudus to Brett Whitmarsh, Elizabeth Silvis and Cathy Brophy at Heinemann who developed and support this site. Teachers can come to it for help in using the ideas in Serravallo’s books to grow their ability to effectively carry out workshop and guided reading in their classroom. The site is one additional resource that helps to make Serravallo’s books even more useful.

In light of all this I think you understand why I enthusiastically label this book as the “must have” professional book for 2017. You’ll have to excuse me now, I’m off to do a lesson on gathering in the writing process, and I think I know just the place to get some great ideas for my lesson.

For additional information, click here for Serravallo’s complete Podcast about the book:

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean

A Review by Frances R. Shipman STEAM Academy Impact Teacher

Imperial Beach, CA

Grade level appropriate for K-3

Independent Reading level is Second Grade

5 out of 5 Stars

Fiction (Character Development)

CCSS: W.1.1., L.1.1., L.1.2., SL.1.1.

Story Elements:

• Main theme: School

• Plot: Pete is unsure about his first day of school

Writer’s style: Casual, funny, and upbeat

Value of illustrations: James Deans’ cartoon character drawing of Pete the Cat lends to this character’s charm and casual style of teaching kids how to do school

Opinion: I love Pete the Cat because he teaches children what school and life is all about and the most important theme of this book and the rest of the Pete the Cat series is to teach kids not to worry because it’s all good.

It’s Pete the Cat’s first day of school and he is unsure of all the new things he is about to encounter. But Pete the Cat is wearing his famous school shoes which give him the courage to discover new places in the school house.

Pete the Cat is very popular in our first grade classroom and students loved this read aloud of Pete the Cat, Rocking in My School Shoes. I used this book to teach a lesson on opinion writing, where students wrote about their opinion of our school. This book was a perfect lead into our classroom discussion about our school and helped stimulate my students’ minds to provide reasons why they like school. I also like this book because it teaches students character development by teaching kids how to do school. The moral of this story is for students to try new things, such as school and to keep a good attitude because it will all eventually work out in the end. I think this is a great lesson for children and adults alike.

Spit and Sticks: A Chimney Full of Swifts by Marilyn Grohoske Evans; Illustrated by Nicole Gsel

A Review by Elizabeth Boxell

Read aloud level: K-2

Independent Reading Level: 2-3

Genre: Fiction, science trade book

Rating: 5 stars

The children’s book Spit and Sticks follows a family of chimney swift birds as they migrate to a home, hatch their babies, and eventually fly south again. While the text focuses on the birds, the illustrations include a parallel story of the family of the house as they welcome a new baby and have their lives progress as the birds’ do. This story would be a wonderful addition to any elementary classroom library. The illustrations are beautiful watercolors, the text is lively and engaging, and children are led to relate to the birds through the addition of the family. As a science trade book, this story is a great introduction to any animal unit, as it effortlessly leads children through the life cycle of the chimney swift, including details of basic needs such as swooping down to drink from a pond, eating “soggy fat flies and beetles,” and migrating south for the winter.

The last page of the text is purely information. It includes comprehensive information about the chimney swift bird species, as well as a “what you can do” section that encourages children to learnmore about chimney swifts, be aware of their habitats, and a website where they can learn more about the birds.

Although the reading level is geared toward lower elementary, this text would work well in an upper elementary classroom library. It can be used as a launching pad for a research project into animal life cycles, animal habitats, food chains, and even conservation. This book could also be when teaching several of the Next Generation Science Standards ranging from grades 2-8, as well as several of the current Missouri Learning Standards ranging in grades from K-6. As a lower elementary text, it works well to integrate science and literature and is a must for any school that has integrated their science curriculum into their reading instruction.