September 2011


Reading with Mojo, our school therapy dog.
 Reading News:   2011 was a summer of renovations and additions both for people and places.  Hopewell Elementary officially opened this August, and contains a marvelous new library. We are pleased to welcome Mrs. Beth Campbell as the new Teacher-Librarian/ELP instructor.  We also have a new reading specialist at Hopewell, Mrs. Sarah Wiese.
     At Cody Elementary, we have another new face. Mrs. Carolyn Halverson is now our Teacher-Librarian/ELP instructor. A warm welcome to her, also.
    The Riverdale Heights is undergoing some big changes in the library. A wall was removed to increase our space. New windows and carpeting were installed, and more shelving is on the way. A large whiteboard and ceiling mounted projector are also in the works, along with furniture for casual reading. When completed, the library should be much more efficient and comfortable for our users.

Tim Green

 Featured Author:
Tim Green

     As a boy, Tim had two dreams: playing in the NFL and becoming a best-selling author. Both of those dreams have come true. After studying writing in college, Tim was drafted by the NFL Atlanta Falcons where he was a top defensive player for eight years. When he retired from football, Tim had already published his first book.
    Tim began a series of best-selling novels for kids set in a world of sports taken from his own experiences as an athlete and a coach.  Tim lives with his wife Illyssa, their five kids, and two dogs in upstate New York where he continues to write as well as coach kids in football, baseball, soccer, and wrestling. Among his books are Baseball Great (on the 2011-12 Iowa Children's Choice list), Football Hero, The Big Time, Football Champ, Best of the Best, Rivals, and several other popular titles. His most recent book is Deep Zone, which was released in August.

 Book Reviews:    


Katie Woo: No More Teasing  by Fran Manushkin

Roddy Rogers, a mean boy at school, always teases Katie Woo. He calls her names and makes ugly faces at her. It makes Katie sad and mad. She was so unhappy she didn't want to go to school anymore. How can she make the bully stop teasing her? With a little luck, Katie finds an idea that just might work.

Gooney Bird is So Absurd  by Lois Lowry

Feisty 2nd grader Gooney Bird Greene’s brain will need to be warm in January because Mrs. Pidgeon is teaching her class about poetry. Who knew there could be so many different ways to write a poem? The students soon find that writing good poetry takes a lot of hard work and creative thinking. Just when things are going well the kids get some terrible news, and Gooney Bird will need all the inspiration her brain can muster.



I Survived : Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis

The horror of Hurricane Katrina is brought vividly to life in this fictional account of the storm of the century. Barry's family tries to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina hits their home in New Orleans. But when Barry's little sister gets terribly sick, they're forced to stay home and wait out the storm. But overnight the levees break, and Barry's world is literally torn apart. He's swept away by the floodwaters, away from his family. Can he survive -- alone?

Monster Squad: They Came From Planet Q  by Laura Dower

Strange things are happening in the town of Riddle. All the silverware is missing! Fillings are falling out! The metal recycling machines are always empty! Could it have to do with the UFO Lindsey spotted through her camera lens? They must have come from Planet Q. But between the crafty Monster Squad and Lindsey's photography skills, those metal heads will surely be stopped.


The Throne of Fire  by Rick Riordan

Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. And now their most threatening enemy yet—the chaos snake Apophis—is rising. If they do not prevent him from breaking free in a few days' time, the world will come to an end. The 2nd book of the best-selling
Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan.  His other popular series, Heroes of Olympus, continues in October with the release of Son of Neptune.



Ghost Dog Secrets  by Peg Kehret

Each day, Rusty feeds a dog that's left chained in the frigid weather with no shelter and no food or water. When he realizes that the dog's been injured, Rusty and his friend Andrew unchain the dog and take it. Are they stealing, or are they rescuing a dog in need? With the dog living in their secret hideout, the boys face multiple challenges, including a mysterious ghost dog that tries to lead them to a startling secret, Andrew's snoopy sister, and the escalating threats of the dog's abusive owner.




Put Reading First: Helping Your Child Learn to Read

This book brings the findings of evidence-based reading research to those with an interest in helping all people learn to read well. The booklet, which is based on the findings of the National Reading Panel, describes activities that parents can do with their children to improve reading skills.  (Barnes & Noble)

 Reading Tips:    Websites:

Primary tips:  Understanding what is being read is important at all levels and it is no different for young children.  On this link you will find several tips on developing comprehension skills with your child.  One that is very interesting is Jennifer’s Tips for Parents- Encouraging Questioning.  It gives ways you can encourage questioning with your child, activities to work on questioning and it gives books that lead to questions naturally for children..

This Family Education website offers a variety of fifteen minute activities that parents and their children can engage in at home to enhance reading skills in their children. There is also much information on the School Resources for Parents page related to particular grade levels and subjects in school.


Vocabulary development is essential to good comprehension when we read.  This video provides several games parents can play with their young children to work on word acquisition at an early age.

Intermediate tips:  This is a great video that shows how our children will pretend to be reading when really they are not.  Parents need to get involved in students’ reading even as they get older.  The video also discusses the comprehension strategies (Summarizing, Visualizing, Questioning, Connecting, Synthesizing, Determining Importance, and Inferring) that our district teaches. The video serves as a good overview for parents plus a way for you to check in on your child’s reading.


 Reading Fluency is also a key to a child’s reading success.  The rate the student reads at, the expression he/she uses, and the student’s phrasing are all part of fluency.  In this youtube video you will see four ways to improve reading fluency.  Though the video is geared towards teachers, these activities can easily be done at home with your child.