Monday, May 22, 2017

Feedback from Literacy in the 21st Century - Annual PERC Workshop

We had another successful workshop in April. We appreciate the feedback from our participants and it helps determine our agenda for the next workshop.  Here is what the exit slips revealed.


Do you have any ideas for topics or presenters for future PERC workshops?
·         Indigenous perspectives
·         Keeping the connection between school and public libraries – reading buddies program, schools identifying and helping to connect this to public library programming especially through the summer
·         How can schools / school libraries and public libraries support each other?
·         ILL’s and FILL
·         PLS (Public Library Services)
·         Information literacy (internet searching)
·         How to organize your library (Dewey; genre; colour code?)
·         How to “genre-fy”
·         Making effective book displays
·         Would love to hear Sally Bender speak again!
·         More authors! He was very interesting – love learning about writing process
·         Publisher? How does a book get published?
·         Other resources available to us – MB Ed. Lib. was great!
·         Makerspace lady was very informative as well!
·         Follet
·         Publishers
·         More authors – Carol Matas (Wpg)
·         I really enjoyed the Makerspace presentation and would love to learn more
·         More information about picture books and how to give book talks
·         Writer’s Workshop for Middle Years
·         Presenter that PERC had about 7 years ago with an emphasis on writing – Syd Korsunsky (from Winnipeg)
·         aSuggested speaker- Brenda Mutcher - Making a priority to visit the public library twice a year and to do a scavenger hunt within the library, and how she encourages the kids to read and belong to the summer reading program
·         Teachers encouraging students to visit public libraries throughout the year and teach kids that a public library is a “safe” place you can go if needed
·         Literacy strategies
·         Library specific Makerspaces


Other Comments:
·         Love “Sal’s Addiction”!
·         Love it when you do the book recommendations
·         Very good day – thank you!
·         I like hearing about what you guys are up to but don’t have the time to join committees.  Please keep keeping our schools in the loop J
·         Thanks so much for all your work in planning today’s session.  It has been packed with great content! Thanks! 
·         Only consideration might be to have session at a location that has wifi access for devices other than cell phones so we can check into resource online in networking time.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Young Adults' Choices List from ILA

What Is the Young Adults’ Choices List? The Young Adults’ Choices project began in 1986, funded by a special grant given to the International Literacy Association. Since 1987, the Young Adults' Choices project has developed an annual list of new books that will encourage adolescents to read. The books are selected by the readers themselves, so they are bound to be popular with middle and secondary school students. The reading list is a trusted source of book recommendations, used by adolescents, their parents, teachers, and librarians.

Find the book list here

What would you like to read? 

I am adding Canadian Teresa Toten's latest novel Beware That Girl to my To Be Read (TBR) list. The novel is compared to We Were Liars  and Gone Girl. The main character is considerd book smart, street-smart, and a masterful liar. 

One of my favourite books from this past several months is Ruta Sepetys' Salt to the Sea, an historical fiction novel set in WW II inspired by a true tragedy, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustoff.

Told from three characters' points of view, it is a story of courage, trust, and strength. Sepetys' novel is a great read for teens and adults.

I recently gave the book to a friend who really likes historical fiction as a birthday gift, but I asked for it to be returned to passed on to more readers. I definitely recommend it to my student readers!

If you have not read her other novel Between Shades of Gray, be sure to do so. It is also historical fiction about a Lithuanian girl who is forced to leave her country with her family. See the comment from The Washington Post reviewer:

"Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both."--The Washington Post



I bought Jeff Zentner`s The Serpent King this winter because I heard so much about it. I didn`t get a chance to read it before I offered it in the annual PERC book draw. 

This novel is also told from the point of view of three different characters. The small town setting appeals to me, and at least one of the characters can`t wait to escape, a not uncommon feeling for teens in rural areas.

Donalyn Miller reviewed it as, Òne of the best YA books I`ve read all year. Beautiful writing. Unforgettable characters.

Zentner has a new novel out in 2017, Goodbye Days, the story of one teen`s life after the death of his friends. Carver sent a text to his three friends and it was the last thing they saw before a horrible crash.

I predict Jeff Zentner will be a popular author to follow.

You will find many more great books on the Young Adults` Choices List. Check them out and leave a comment on ones you have read or may like to read.

You might also like to check out the Collaborating Teachers group on Goodreads. It is Manitoba teachers, librarians, and interested readers (like me!) who share the books we and our students are reading. Some may be on the ILA Choices Reading lists.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Choices Book Lists



I am finding many book lists in my emails, other blog posts, and on Twitter these days. I am always interested to see new lists and especially to see if I have read books on other people's lists! I will share some of these lists with you.

As the Provincial Co-ordinator for the International Literacy Association, I am very interested in the Choices lists they publish each year. There are three different lists. Check out this link and you will see that there are Children's Choices, Young Adults' Choices and Teachers' Choices. There are 30 books in the Young Adults' and Teachers' lists and 100 books in the Children's list. The lists are the suggestions of children, young adults and teachers, librarians and reading specialists!

I will highlight the Children's Choices in today's blog post. The lists provides details about the book including author, illustrator, publisher, and a quick synopsis of the book. A picture of the front cover of some of the titles is provided and a printable pdf file of all of the titles is also available. The book list is also divided into books for Beginning Readers, Young Readers, and Advanced Readers (categorized by age).

Book Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamilloBook Booked by Kwame AlexanderA few of the titles I have read included Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and Booked by Kwame Alexander.

I want to read Kevin Henkes' When Spring Comes and The Thank You Book by Mo Willems.

What do you wnat to read?




Book The Thank You Book (an Elephant And Piggie Book) by Mo Willems








Book When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Books for Teaching Empathy for Middle Years

My colleague and friend, Amanda Rheault, shared a list of books to teach empathy she makes available to her grade six students at Carman Elementary School.

The list is from TeachThought and you can find the list here with lovely covers to make them easy to identify and a brief description of the book. I know you will have read many of them! But I am excited because there are many that I have not read. I am going to get started on some of them beginning with The Boy on the Wooden Box,  a memoir by Leon Leyson, because Amanda recommended it.

Book The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler's List by Leon Leyson
This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s list child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow.


The list would be a great link to share with your students. I can see a Math lesson as the students survey the class to determine what they have read and then preparing spreadsheets and charts to showcase the results.  I would be curious to know which of the books has been read by the most students.

Amanda used the empathy theme for a book of the month study. Students completed their weekly check-in questions (character development, conflict, predictions,etc). Then they took the place of the main character in the book. They explained what they would have done/felt/said in the place of the main character. They then re-wrote the back cover and recreated the book cover to fit themselves into the picture and write up. 

Thank you Amanda for sharing your learning with us.

Literacy in the 21st Century Book Draws

Participants are always happy to choose a book from our table to take home from the workshop. Check out the books available this year.

Book Optimists Die First by Susin NielsenBook The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Title Author
Because of Mr. Terupt Rob Buyea MG
Viola Desmond Jody Nyasha Warner PB
A Child of Books Oliver Jeffers PB
Darkest Dark Chris  PB
I Am Not a Number Jenny Kay Dupuis PB
Blackthorn Key Kevin Sands MG
Be Light Like a Bird Monika Schroder MG, YA
Short Holly Goldberg Sloan MG, YA
Last Shot David Skuy MG, YA
Holding Up the Universe Jennifer Niven YA
Optimists Die 1st Susin Nielsen YA
When I Was the Greatest Jason Reynolds YA
Carve the Mark Veronica Roth YA
Girl in Pieces Kathleen Glasgow YAYA
Maybe a Fox Kathi Appelt & Allison McGhee MG
Elijah of Buxton Cristopher Paul Curtis MG
Moose Goose Animals on the  Geraldo Valerio PB
Minrs Kevin Sylvester MG
The Night Gardener Jonathan Auxier MG, YA
Dog Man Unleashed Dav Pilkey MG
We were Liars e. lockhart YA
Dumplin Julie Murphy YA
Inquisitors Tale Adam Gidwitz MG
PAX Sarah Pennypacker MG
Word of Mouse James Paterson MG
Towers Falling Jewel Parker Rhodes MG, YA
When We Were Alone David A. Robertson PB
Little Boy from Jamaica Pearlene and Devon Clunis  PB
Missing Melanie Florence YA
Dog Man Unleashed Dav Pilkey MG
Holding Up the Universe Jennifer Niven YA
Missing Nimama Melanie Florence PB
Since You've Been Gone Morgan Matson YA
Happy Dreamer Peter Reynolds PB
Du Iz Tak Carson Ellis PB
Funny Bones Duncan Tonatiuh PB
Pancho Rabbit Duncan Tonatiuh PB
Flying Lessons & Other Stories Ellen Oh MG, YA
Weekends with Max and Dad Linda Urban EY, MG
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary Laura Shovan MG 
The Hate You Give Angie Thomas YA
The Serpent King Jeff Zentner YA
The Girl Who Drank the Moon Kelly Barnhill MG

Book When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson   Book Viola Desmond Wont Be Budged by Jody Nyasha Warner

Literacy in the 21st Century


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Let's Share our Canadian Authors and Books with the Global Read Aloud

Have you participated in the Global Read Aloud? GRA was created in 2010 on the premise of one book to connect the world. Classes connect with other classrooms to read the same book at the same time and to talk about their reading, to do similar assignments, and to learn more about where they live. Some teachers prefer to connect with just one other classroom, others prefer to connect with many classrooms. I have noticed that many connections last throughout the year. You can find out more about GRA on their website here. You can also find GRA on Facebook.

You will find the book choices from 2016 on the website. GRA chooses an author study for picture books and Lauren Castillo, an illustrator, was selected. She is well-known as an illustrator, but is also author of Nana in the City.


At the middle grades you could choose between Roald Dahl's The BFG or PAX by Sarah Pennypacker (illustrated by Canadian Jon Klassen).

At the high school level the choices were All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely or Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt. There is also a French version of GRA here.

You might even consider participating in the next event in the fall of 2017.  At this time, books are being suggested for the various levels and Pernille Ripp has asked for more suggestions from non-American authors and for more diversity.

The purpose of my blog post today is to ask for your help. Let's share our Canadian voice to the Global Read Aloud. Submit your ideas for your favourite Canadian authors or books here.

Who would you suggest? Please add suggestions to the comments section. I am sure we will find more great Canadian authors and illustrators by posting our ideas.  Be sure to make your suggestions to GRA#17 as well using the link just above.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Marie Louise Gay - Stella and Sam and so much more
Melanie Watt - Chester and Scaredy Squirrel plus her recent Bug in a Vacuum

Deborah Ellis - What book would you choose?
Kenneth Oppel - The Nest
Eric Walters - Choose a book
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch - Making Bombs for Hitler or Stolen Child






Who are your favourite Canadian authors and favourite Canadian books?




Join GRA#17 and connect your class to others. Learn about their area and discover similarities and differences.