Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Favorite Publishers for Nonfiction

We got an unexpected surprise last week at my school. Money for the literacy closet ! So excited ! I get to purchase books and not have to pay for them ! It's this bookworm's dream !

Several years ago, I coordinated a huge Title 1 Grant for a school that has many students with multiple needs, as well as students with limited experiences and our main focus was nonfiction. I learned about what teachers loved and have used it to sculpt my buying experiences since then.

So here are a few of my favorites :

Red Rocket Readers-- a fairly new publisher of nonfiction and fiction. They add to their titles each year. I love to teach with them because of their engaging topics, clear layouts, and kid appeal. They have an intro blurb in the front with possible areas to focus on. In the back, there is a list of high frequency words which teachers can copy and use with small groups.

In addition, they publish running records and other extension materials on their webpage.


Some of my favorite titles : Dogs at Work, The Chocolate Factory, and Max the Monkey.

National Geographic---another teacher favorite for primary and intermediate readers. With it's variety of layouts, appealing photos, and well developed texts, this publisher is a must for focusing on nonfiction text features !


The Theme Sets with 4 texts of varying Guided Reading Levels all on one topic are loved by intermediate teachers. They are stored in an easy travel case to take to the classroom. Topics such as  American Revolution, Rocks and Minerals, Volcanoes and more can be found in these sets.

The sets for younger students are amazing as well and begin at Level B.  From I Can Breathe Underwater to Fossils..... your students will want to read these over and over again !

Benchmark Education--another favorite for reaching those upper intermediate readers who are reading at a different level than their peers. They have topic sets from The Constitution to Space which have 2 texts- same cover- 2 different guided reading levels. A possibility would be one text at a K and another at a P focusing on the same topic and have the same cover.  In addition, a teacher's guide with lesson plans and suggested activities is included as well.

In addition this publisher provides sets designed to support the English Language Learners,  Reader's Theater with fun topics and ones that relate to science and social studies, and more. I really like their Genre Workshops with different types of literature- Fables, Pour Quoi Tales, and others. It also comes in 2 different Guided Reading Levels in the same bundle.


Wishing you a wonderful evening ! Hope you find some new nonfiction favorites !

Friday, November 22, 2013

Welcome to the Gift of Reading Blog Hop-- Stop # 9

Welcome to Ms. D's Literacy Lab. You have arrived at  

At each blog stop, you will be gathering Reading Gifts and Freebies.  In each post you will find a picture of a snowman with a letter on it. Collect all of the letters to solve the mystery quote to enter the giveaway. Record all of the letters on your recording sheet and follow each blog along the way so that you can enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

The hop is set up as a loop, so you may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning you may go to A Day In The Life of A Title I Teacher's blog.  This is also where you will go after you finish the hop to enter the giveaway!!

    Open the world of books for a child...and open the door to the future ! I fully believe that the "gift" of reading starts when we are young and continues through the rest of our lifetime. Whether it is a child snuggled on a parent's lap, a preschooler laughing at the funny part of a well-loved book, a student tucked in bed with a flashlight with a book that he/she can't put down or more....learning to read is such a gift.
     I have been reminded of this gift in the past week when first graders are having too much fun decoding alien (nonsense) words in a short "a" bingo game. Meanwhile, second graders are making animal noises with "The Great Race". My biggest surprise was when third graders did not want to go to recess because learning to read closed syllables was way too much fun !
     My "gift" to you is a glittery one for the youngest bunch of readers. Letter identification is one of the first steps towards learning to read. Once children are able to identify and name letters, they can begin learning the sounds that they make and then can begin assembling and reading words. When teaching letter identification, include activities that help children recognize both uppercase and lowercase letters, as recognition of both sets of letters is necessary for literacy development.  Letter naming is a strong predictor of later reading success.                                                                                                                It is a glittery "Mittens and More Mittens" Alphabet Match where students match uppercase and lowercase letters on matching cards.
In addition, there is an "I Can... chart" for a center as well as an extension worksheet for informal assessment. 
                               Click link below :

My secret letter is...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoyed your gift and learned something new. If you would like to be the first to know about new post, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image below. 
Don't stop now! Hop on over to Conversations in Literacy to pick up another amazing reading gift! Happy Holidays

If you get lost along the way, download the Hop Map here to easily pick back up where you left off! 

Ms. D.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Text to Accompany " A Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes

October 23, 2013

This afternoon, I was reading The Girl with 500 Middle Names by Margaret Haddix with several young girls in 5th grade. This book would make an excellent companion to A Hundred Dresses or Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.

Many students, particularly girls, are nervous about the transition from elementary to middle school. In our American culture, the cliches of who is in and who is out begin to appear rapidly in 4th and 5th grade. It can be very surprising and hurtful when friends change their minds about friendship or decide who they will be friends with based on what a friend wears, has or does.

This well-crafted chapter book written at a Guided Reading Level N or O addresses the concepts of being the new student in a school, having a parent who is on disability, and a mother working diligently to become an entrepreneur.

It is easy to have Text to Self Connections with your students while reading this one. Today, I shared how in 5th grade I moved from Alabama to Texas. When I arrived in Texas to enter 6th grade, I was taller than most of the boys. In addition, I had bright red hair and often the boys would tease me by telling me, "My hair was on fire !". Finally, the most fashionable jeans were Gloria Vanderbilt which I did not own. By sharing a bit of myself, my hope is that students can realize that even though transitions to middle school can be tricky.... they will make it and find their own place !

What are some of your favorite books to share with your students ?

It's no mystery...we have a lot of fun in store for you...