Here's another incredible book by Flying Eye Books. Each spring, our first graders are engaged in a project based study on birds--so I'm always on the lookout for great new bird books. Beautiful Birds is a stunningly illustrated introduction to the world's most beautiful birds. The playful rhyming couplets on each page add a touch of humor. The art work is gorgeous enough to hang on your wall.
This graphic novel just arrived at my house, and I haven't had a chance to devour it yet, but I can already tell I'm going to love it. It's about a grandmother telling her granddaughter the story of how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.
I was so excited to see this book on a recent Nerdy Book Club post on historical fiction. When my son was in third grade, his class studied ancient China and one of the things they learned about were the terra-cotta soldiers. He made his own soldier out of clay, and it is still sitting in my kitchen today as a paper weight. He is excited to read this action-packed "Indiana Jones" style of adventure over spring break next week. I also love that it's written by a mother-son team.
I picked this up at our local book store a few years back, and was just reminded of it in a class I'm taking called Essential Word Study for the Classroom. We're talking a lot about how our brain rearranges itself (recycles it's circuitry) in order to learn to read. Our brains are hard-wired for speech acquisition, but not for reading. Considerable research shows us that letter/sound conversion radically transforms every child's brain and the way in which it processes speech sounds. This process must be taught explicitly and does not develop spontaneously. Research shows that reading performance is best when children are directly taught the mapping of letters onto speech sounds. Students with the best skills in decoding single words and pseudo-words also perform best on sentence and text comprehension. (Dehaene) I find this all incredibly fascinating as it directly supports and guides my teaching!
I absolutely love these books for my early readers. As a reading specialist working with kiddos who need lot's of decoding practice with each new skill, I am always on the lookout for high quality, engaging, and reliable decodable texts that follow a similar scope and sequence of skills that I teach. This series is awesome! The stories are engaging, the pictures are simple and don't take the focus away from the student's work with the text, and the best part--my students love them.
Happy spring, happy Monday, and happy reading! What are you all reading?