Archive for March, 2015

The Sin Eater’s Daughter and other titles to peek at

Sin Eater's daughter From: Behold the Pretty Books! / January & February Book Haul.


Have you seen the Little Black Classics, published to celebrate 80 years of Penguin Books? I bought two: The Old Nurse’s Story (#39) by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Yellow Wall-Paper (#42) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and I’m sure I’ll be buying many more!

I actually meant to include this in my previous Behold! post but I completely forgot: I borrowed Friends With Boys from Debbie in January. We exchanged graphic novels and I loaned her Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. Faith Erin Hicks will be illustrating Rainbow Rowell’s upcoming graphic novel, so I’m quite looking forward to this! I am signed up toCaboodle, the rewards programme from National Book Tokens. I got to pick a free book and chose another classic I’ve not yet read: Oliver Twist. One for the 2015 Classics Challenge perhaps?

I attended the Scholastic Bloggers’ Brunch in January and got to hear about their wonderful upcoming books. They were kind enough to treat us to brunch, lovely authors and publishers as well as a few goodies. Seven Days, The Sin Eater’s Daughter (written by my awesome buddy Mel) and An Island of Our Own are three completely different but wonderful-sounding books.

Read the full blog entry here.

It’s that time again at @nlp_secure @MaxGivingBoise Come celebrate April at monthly First Friday Luncheon

“One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it’s making cold calls to strangers. Actually, it’s the people who already have strong trust relationships with you, who know you’re dedicated, smart, a team player, who can help you.” – Reid Hoffman

This event is FREE  and open to the public! Anyone can come: teachers, authors, children’s book sellers, parents, business owners, sales representatives, clergy, comunnity members.

First Friday Lunch!
HOST: NLP Secure and MaxGiving
WHEN: Friday, April 3rd from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
WHERE: NLP Secure & MaxGiving Headquarters 7225 W Franklin Rd. Boise, ID 83709

With MaxGiving you have everything you need to maximize donations and fundraising events. We are your MaxGiving Logocomplete one-stop solution for fundraising tools. Max Giving provides total event management, online auctions, event websites, event checkout express and even credit card processing. Nonprofit Organizations, churches, and schools can collect payments for tickets, table reservations or even merchandise, Max Giving has it all!

NLP Secure was formed in 1998 and serves almost every type of business in the USA and Canada.  We focus on partnering with financial institutions, software companies, and technology providers to elevate service and create technology for schools, nonprofits, medical, dental, legal practices, faith-based organizations, restaurants, retail, e-commerce, and government agencies of all sizes.

NLP Secure leads the marketplace with technological payment solutions and convenience integration.  Strategic business partnerships allow NLP to process over $1 billion worldwide. NLP utilizes innovative solutions including customized website payment portals, integrated POS systems, special event programs, and automated recurring payments to increase business revenue streams. NLP is committed to developing progressive technologies to help clients lead their industries in an ever-changing economic environment.

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Don’t miss this chance to meet the NLP Secure and MaxGiving team and mingle with some of the finest people in the Treasure Valley.

They can’t wait to see you there!

Study helps predict which kindergartners will have reading difficulties

For years teachers have seen students who were promising readers in the primary grades begin to experience challenges in third and fourth grades as reading materials became more difficult. University of Kansas researchers conducted a study with the goal of identifying how to better predict in kindergarten who might have reading difficulties in the future and to determine what extra instruction should include in order to help ensure their later success as readers.

The researchers worked with more than 350 Lawrence kindergartners to see whether they could predict which studedianenielsen100nts might have future reading difficulties. They also provided reading interventions focused on both aspects of learning to read words (phonics and letter identification) and comprehension (vocabulary and story understanding) with a group of students that showed some difficulties with language and reading-related assessments in kindergarten.

“It was a study that asked, ‘Can we identify in kindergarten what language and reading-related elements will predict children’s ability to read later on?’” said Diane Corcoran Nielsen, professor of education. “And the results emphasize the importance of talking to your children and reading to your children.”

See more at The University of Kansas website.

Recommended reading:

Locating and Correcting Reading Difficulties by Ward Cockrum and James L. Shanker is my favorite reading diagnosis and intervention handbook.

Beginning and experienced teachers alike find the assessment resources and tools they need to document a child’s strengths and areas of need–and get effective instructional strategies to teach skills that are missing. The book is organized around the sub-skills of reading–phonemic awareness and letter recognition, decoding skills of sight words, phonics, structural analysis, use of context clues, and dictionary use–and fits well with most major reading programs currently in use.

Ready-to-use lesson ideas and assessments are available and each presents a definition of the reading skill covered, followed by a section on assessing the skill, a section on teaching the skill, and a section on how the skill might impact English Language Learners.

Using this text, teachers should be able to define each of the sub-skills; know how to observe the development of the skill; do quick assessments of the skill where appropriate; and do in-depth assessments when needed. 15 Appendices give teachers access to material to supplement their instruction of the subskills of reading. The teacher can find lists of books appropriate for providing instruction to emergent readers, lists of basic sight words in sentences, phonograms and words that contain the phonogram, lists of prefixes and suffixes, and more in the Appendices.

Assessments pulled into the chapters covering the appropriate sub-skill are among the book’s resources, along with coverage of different levels of assessment–observation, quick, and in-depth; teaching ideas in each major sub-skills reading chapter; and checklists for keeping track of the sub-skill development of each student.

Passing Down Artistic and Musical Heritage

Young People's Pavilion

618r9zjOJWL._SL500_AA300_While children’s books are an art in and of themselves, when art and music are the topic, creative sharing experiences abound. Such texts give children a point of reference for understanding the role of the fine and performing arts in their own lives. Books in this category help develop children’s imagination, pique their curiosity, and enhance student confidence in their ability to connect with various genres, making them say: “I can be an artist or musician too.”

Here are a few of my favorite books for young readers that accomplish the above goals:

Magic Trash, Jane Shapiro (Author), Vanessa Newton (Illustrator):

Internationally acclaimed artist Tyree Guyton grew up on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, Michigan. When he was a boy he collected bits and pieces—trash—to create his own fun. Eventually Tyree left Heidelberg Street to find his way in the world, but his mind often traveled back home. When he did…

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Teaching with James and the Giant Peach

513aKCqvUyLJames and the Giant Peach is a popular children’s novel written in 1961 by British author Roald Dahl. The original first edition published by Alfred Knopf featured illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. However, there have been various reillustrated versions of it over the years, done by Michael Simeon for the first British edition, Emma Chichester Clark, Lane Smith and Quentin Blake. It was adapted into a film of the same name in 1996. The plot centres on a young English orphan boy who enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure with six magically-altered garden bugs he meets. Roald Dahl was originally going to write about a giant cherry, but changed it to James and the Giant Peach because a peach is “prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry.”

Because of the story’s occasional macabre and potentially frightening content, it has become a regular target of the censors and is No. 56 on the American Library Association’s top 100 list of most frequently challenged books.

A little magic can take you a long way.

After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

Publisher’s Weekly said that Lane Smith trades stinky cheese for fantastic fruit with his black-and-white illustrations for Roald Dahl’s classic 1961 novel, James and the Giant Peach. The reissue is timed to coincide with the release of the Disney animated motion picture based on Smith’s suitably subversive visual interpretation.

“The classic children’s book by Roald Dahl ( Knopf, 1961) receives royal treatment in this terrific audiobook production, according to School Library Journal. “James Henry Trotter, a poor orphan, is being raised by two horrible aunts. Magic crystals change his humdrum existence, and soon he is off on a great adventure on a giant peach with new friends who are, to say the least, unique. There are sharks, seagulls, and irate cloud people to add interest along the way and, of course, Dahl’s irreverent poetry. The story has always been a crowd-pleaser, and Jeremy Irons does more than read the story-he performs it. Each character has a unique voice, aptly suiting each personality, and Irons tells the story with humor and energy. Fans of Dahl will not be disappointed in this briskly paced tale that is a delight from beginning to end.”

Roald Dahl’s site has James and The Giant Peach lesson plans:


James and the Giant Peach was the first of Roald Dahl’s well-known children’s stories that he completed. It was first published in 1961, and tells the story of James Henry Trotter and his horrible aunts – and how some magic beans, a peach tree and a collection of interesting insects conspire to change his life.

It’s those awful aunts that have inspired this lesson plan, which invites students to have some fun with similes as they invent a new relative for James.

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.


James and the Giant Peach is the story of a young boy who escapes an abusive home in a magical peach. Along the way, he makes new friends, and discovers the joys of freedom and friendship, which had previously been alien ideas to him.

At the opening of the novel, James is living with his two terrible aunts after an accident at the zoo claimed the lives of both his parents. Upon moving in with his aunts, James’ life of abuse begins immediately. His aunts treat him terribly, forcing him to work all day long, denying him any friends or schooling, and calling him names. James is terribly surprised then, when he finds a mysterious old man hiding in the bushes. The man gives James a bag full of magic beans and warns him to be very careful with them as they are extremely powerful. While he is running back to his house, James trips and spills the beans in his Aunts’ garden. The beans immediately burrow their way into the ground and produce a massive peach at the top of the peach tree. When no one is around, James sneaks up to the peach and finds a magical tunnel there. He climbs inside and is greeted by a host of giant insects, including a Grasshopper, a Ladybug, a Spider, and a Centipede. Through the course of their journey, these insects become James’ closest friends.

This is a Common Core Standards aligned literature unit to be used with James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. This is a complete novel study that includes many individual products bundled together to offer you extensive savings! This unit also includes additional writing activities, teacher plans, and CCSS alignment that you cannot find in the individual components. This complete novel study is by far your best value!

This unit from the Teachers Pay Teachers site is designed to be used with some student/instructor interaction, but can easily be used as an independent study for the student. It is written for the 3-5th grade reading level.


This unit works great in a one-on-one setting for home school or for a teacher to use as a resource in the classroom for a small group or entire class. The unit is designed so that you can start teaching immediately with little to no preparation on your part. Great time saver!

This unit contains:
Teacher Packet containing:
•Detailed daily lesson plans
•Answer keys

Student Packet containing:
•Spelling list
Vocabulary activities for 52 words.
Comprehension questions for every chapter.
•Extension activities that correlate with the book. **Only available in this complete Novel Study Product!

An Assessment Packet that contains:
•Vocabulary quiz
•A comprehension quiz in both a short answer and multiple choice format
•Writing assessment

An End of the Book Activity Packet that can be used with any book.

A Story Elements Interactive Notebook Activity Packet that can be used with any book.

Common Core Standards Alignment for grades 3-5. This is included at the end of the unit so if you do not need it you can easily discard without changing the unit itself. To see how this is set up please see the free preview for the CCSS checklist in its entirety.

Teaching With the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.


Discussion questions from Multnomah County Library

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don’t want to know what happens!

  1. This book has many humorous moments. Which part of the book did you find the funniest? Why?
  2. How do the illustrations add interest to the story?
  3. What do you think of Greg’s friendship with Rowley?
  4. If you could pick one adjective to describe Greg, what would it be?
  5. Do you think that Greg really is a wimpy kid? Why or why not?
  6. Describe Greg’s relationship with his brothers. How is your relationship with your siblings the same or different?
  7. How is popularity measured in your school? By the clothes you wear? How good you are at sports? How smart you are?
  8. How is your middle school experience similar to Greg’s? How is it different?
  9. Have you ever kept a journal? In what ways did it help you to write down events in your life?
  10. Predict Greg’s future! Imagine what Greg will be like when he’s 35. What kind of job will he have?

Teachers can also use the movie:


A live-action adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s best-selling illustrated novel, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” chronicles the adventures of skinny “middle child” Greg Heffley over the course of a school year, as told through his diary and hand-drawn cartoons. Determined not to remain on the lowest rung of the social ladder during his first year of middle school, the hapless Greg takes several stabs at becoming popular – including betraying his seemingly uncool best friend – but when his efforts backfire spectacularly, he realizes that keeping a low profile may not be such a bad idea after all. As Greg says, “One day I’ll be rich and famous, but for now I’m stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons.” Zachary Gordon as Kinney’s wise-cracking hero, Greg Heffley. Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn play Greg’s quirky parents.




    Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    Common. Core State  Standards … and the. NCTE/IRA. English Language … for connecting the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series to related texts by embedding.


Lesson Plan from State Library of Louisiana


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