Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Beach Blanket Bunny

Grabby Bunny and I wish you a happy/hoppy summer full of magical discoveries.  We can't wait to hear all about what you have read when we see you in September!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Explore and Roar This Summer at the Chicago Public Library!

Well!  What a treat to be visited by our new zookeeper-clad Northtown branch librarian, Ms. Mary Freuh.  She held a gathering for our primary students in our school library to excite and incite participation in the Chicago Public Library's Summer Reading Program, this year's theme being "Explore and Roar" in conjunction with the wonderful Lincoln Park Zoo.  Information and details are being distributed, and additional calendars of library events are available in the school office.  It seems this year's program involves a rather meaty booklet to fill out, with an emphasis on math and science (a la Common Core nonfiction focus).  But there is nothing wrong with letting your reader roam the library like a lion on the hunt for whatever looks delicious (please see the very salient article "Let My People Read" by one of my favorite educators Donalyn Miller for free-reading fortification, or my own hints for keeping those pages turning all summer long on my personal blog).  There has been quite a bit of parental concern expressed regarding the ethical implications of "Rahm's Readers" being plastered all over the materials, but I'm afraid that is something that will have to be taken up with the public library or the city or the ballot box, or you can opt to design your own summer reading rewards program via BookAdventure.  Though I always hope, at the end of the summer or the end of the day, children will discover that reading is its own reward!  At it's heart and in spite of any intrusions by special interests, I believe the CPL Summer Reading Program will do this.  Sign up your cuties today and support the public library while they support us!

Please check out the summer reading link on this website, look over my own private bookshelf,  or visit the popular Kidsreads website for suggestions and springboards, and of course, please read aloud across the grade levels and do not hesitate to let me know if you need any special assistance or guidance.  Special thanks to Ms. Freuh for working with me to get some of our bookworms their very own and very first public library cards!  Upon distribution, I am officially verklempt.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Divergent Book Club

Thank you to the middle-schoolers who participated in our fun Divergent lunchtime discussion group, featuring the dystopian novel that is the hottest thing since The Hunger Games!  Some of the questions that inspired the most conversation, taken from the HarperCollins discussion guide:

What faction do you think you would have been born into, given your family and its values? Which faction would you select at your Choosing Ceremony? Why? How would you feel about making a decision that would determine your life’s course at the age of sixteen? 

During initiation, is it selfish of Tris to crave victory, or is it brave? Do Tris’s
friends have a right to be jealous when she’s ranked above them? If you were Tris, would you forgive them for their reactions?

Tris says about Candor, “It must require bravery to be honest all the  time” (p. 62). Do you agree? Which do you think is a braver faction, Dauntless or Candor? Would you like to live in a society like Candor, where everyone tells the truth no matter how hard it is to hear?

It was a delight to hear the lively banter, but better yet was seeing our older bookworms emerging as reading butterflies, finding friends with shared interests and enthusiasm.  Sorry, dystopians...there is hope for our society after all.