May 2011

Reading News:  

Dori Butler Visits PV Elementaries
Thanks to our generous PTAs, Dori Hillestad Butler visited all 4 elementaries this April. She described her writing process, the publishing process and the "behind the scenes" world of writing. Since her visit, her book,
The Case of the Lost Boy (Buddy Files #1)
, has won
The Edgar Award (Awarded by the Mystery Writers of America for distinguished work in the mystery genre). Congratulations, Dori!

 Featured Author:


Michael Buckley

Michael Buckley was born in Akron, Ohio. Before attending Ohio University, he was a stand-up comic among other things. After graduating, he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman.  He has also developed programming for Discovery Networks and Klasky Csupo (producers of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats). Michael Buckley is the author of The Sisters Grimm series and NERDS (National Espionage Rescue and Defense Society). NERDS is on the Iowa Children’s Choice Award for 2011-2012.  The Sisters Grimm series is about to become a movie. See Michael’s interview on Today:

Author's Website

 Book Reviews:    



Chalk by Bill Thomson

What would you draw if you had a magic piece of chalk knowing that the drawing would come to life? This wordless picture book tells the story of three children and what happens when they use the magical chalk to help their imaginations come to life. A little imagination can be a powerful thing! This book is on the list of 2011-2012 Goldfinch Award nominees.

Author's Website




Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective: The Big Swat by David Biedrzycki

Just in time for baseball season, this new book in the Ace Lacewing series revolves around a stolen baseball bat that could cost the Motham City Stinkbugs a trip to the playoffs. But Ace and his pal, Xerces, are on the case. Is the Roach brothers? Or maybe Hoppi Leafhopper? Only Ace can follow the trail to the solution. Using vivid colors and hidden jokes throughout the illustrations, this is sure to be a hit with baseball fans young and old.

Author's Website




Confessions of a former bully by Trudy Ludwig

Looking for a book that explains bullying from the bully’s point of view? Well here it is. Katie finds herself in the principal’s office facing angry parents because she has been bullying a friend. But what is a bully, anyway? The principal assigns her to “make up for the hurt she caused when she bullied other kids.” That’s when she decides to write this book. With the help of her guidance counselor, Katie writes about the reasons people bully and the ways to help others when it is happening. A great book to spark discussion with your kids!

Author's Website



Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Winner of the Theodor Geisel Award for 2011, this is three short stories about 2 friends who are very different. Their adventures include a trip to the Andes, amazingly bright socks and a new pet fish. But the real story is their friendship.

Here's Bink and Gollie's Website



Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

Doug Swieteck’s life is out of control. It’s 1968. His father has lost his job and is making them move away from the only neighborhood he’s ever known. One older brother is a soldier in Vietnam and the other brother is a bully and a suspect in a series of local break-ins. Doug just wants to find a place where he can feel safe. Then he meets Lil Spicer, just the kind of friend that can help him over the rough spots. But should Doug tell Lil his most dangerous secret?

Listen to this Interview with Gary Schmidt




The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Kate, Michael, and Emma have passed from one orphanage to another in the ten years since their parents disappeared. In their latest move to the dreary Cambridge Falls, they discover a mysterious book. Michael places a photo in the book and suddenly the children are transported to a town under the control of an evil witch.  With lots of humor, wizards, dwarves and hidden treasures, this fantasy, the first in a projected series, will keep readers on the edge of their seat until the cliff-hanging conclusion.

Watch the booktrailer




Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys: How to engage Boys in Reading in Ways that Will Change Their Lives

For use with boys k - 8, this book is filled with  a wide range of must-read titles organized by interest, age, and development. Perfect for finding the best book for that reluctant reader. The author includes tips on how to extend the books through conversation, advice on how to set routines, environment and structures to encourage reading widely and passionately. Finally, ready-to-use lessons align with themes and topics of special interest to boys that will motivate and inspire them to read more.

Pam Allyn is the Executive Director of LitLife and LitWorld

 Reading Tips:    Websites:

Primary tip: Summer Reading Top Ten

1. See reading everywhere: Show how important reading is in everyday life by asking them to read the recipe while you make something together or read signs as you go about your day.

2. Lead by example: Let your child see you reading. For  younger readers, go ahead and read together with you reading a page and them reading the next.

3. Create a book-of-the-month for your child: Send them a book anonymously once a month. Kids love getting mail and will see it as a present instead of a chore. This is a great way for grandparents to get involved.

4. Read the book, then see the movie: Use the excitement of an upcoming movie to get them to read the book. Then see the movie and discuss the differences. This can be done with videos as well.

5. Give TV a timeout: According to a US Department of Education study, the average kindergarten student has spent more than 5,000 hours watching television. Cutting down on TV time will create more time for your child to tune into reading.

6.Bring books while you hit the highway: Books are terrific because they are portable and don't need any batteries or wires. Audio books are also great for getting kids to see the value in the great stories found in books.

7. Have a bookshare: get a group of kids and adults to read a book of their choice and then get together and have everyone share their book and what they liked about it.

8. Learn, listen and discuss: Asking good questions shows interest and helps the child read for meaning. Instead of "Did you like the book?", use open ended questions like "Which character did you like the best and why?" or "How would you describe the book to someone who didn't read it?"

9. Involve the child in choosing appropriate materials: Taking ownership increases motivation, so find books or magazines based on their hobbies and interests. Make sure the material is at a reading level that is challenging, but not frustrating.

10. Make it FUN; Kids like doing things that they enjoy and are good at. The more they read, the better they will get and the more they will want to read.


Check out our Gotta Keep Reading Video here


Keen Readers:
Keen readers is an information hub for parents and mentors of reluctant readers.

This website, created by children's book authors, offers great suggestions for reading as well as links to other great sites and some downloadable activities.

Where words come alive, this interactive website includes free ebook downloads, videos, games to help younger students with letter identification and much more. Take a look!

Reading Lists
Sponsored by Reading is Fundamental, this website has put together titles for students to read by grade level or by age. Lots of great suggestions.

Nonfiction Summer Reading
The goals of TextProducts is to bring beginning and struggling readers to high levels of literacy through a variety of strategies and tools, particularly the texts used for reading instruction. This website offers 7 weeks of Nonfiction reading along with comprehension questions to help your students practice.

Literacy Toolbox - Summer Reading Challenge

Literacy Toolbox is a blog written by a former elementary school teacher who is still passionate about literacy. She updates this blog frequently with tips on how to "raise a reader".


 Intermediate tip

The most important tip that we can give you to help your students continue to improve in reading is to read every day during the summer. Here is a list of great summer activities that include reading.