Thursday, June 30, 2016

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea Book Review

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea! Kids will love the illustrations and the humor as Narhwal and Jelly eat waffles, have dance parties, sing, and create stories about ninja waffles who battle angry robots.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Ben Clanton (Author, Illustrator)
Tundra Books
Children’s Fiction, Graphic Novel

Publication Date: October 4, 2016

In this early graphic novel, Narwhal meets Jelly and though opposites, the two become friends.  As friends they do normal things a narwhal and jellyfish would do: eat waffles, gather their own unique pod complete with narwhal "horns," have dance parties, sing, and create stories about ninja waffles who battle angry robots.

Kids will love the illustrations and the humor throughout Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea.

If you’re interested in reading Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon




*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.


Top 3 Influential Summer Reads for Elementary Teachers

With each summer comes great intentions of making a dent in my "To Read" stack - or if I'm being honest, it's more like multiple stacks with a ton of board books and Mo Willems from my 11 month old stacked on top of that.

So, if I can't read them all, how should I prioritize my summer reading?  I've decided to focus on just three influential books that will not only be useful for me but that I can share with my colleagues:

Helping Children Succeed

In a follow up to his How Children Succeed, Paul Tough discusses how we as parents, teachers, and/or policy makers can develop the best enviornemnt to help children suceeed. 


Helping Children Succeed - In a follow up to his How Children Succeed, Paul Tough discusses how we as parents, teachers, and/or policy makers can develop the best enviornemnt to help children suceeed.


Learn Like a Pirate

Geared more toward elementary teachers, Learn Like a Pirate focuses on building a collabroative classrooms that allows students to activly engage in tasks, lead, work together, and foster a community of learning.  

Geared more toward elementary teachers, Learn Like a Pirate focuses on building a collabroative classrooms that allows students to activly engage in tasks, lead, work together, and foster a community of learning.


Visible Learning for Literacy

Visible Learning for Literacy breaks down fifteen years of research to provide clear ideas on what works in literacy instruction.  It focuses on how and when to implement these best research-based practices to help students dive deeper into their learning. 

Visible Learning for Literacy breaks down fifteen years of research to provide clear ideas on what works in literacy instruction.  It focuses on how and when to implement these best research-based practices to help students dive deeper into their learning.




I know I said three, but...

Paper, Romance, Symbol, Valentine, Love, Book, Day, Old


I'm also hoping to squeeze in DIY Literacy, Who's Doing the Work?, and Ditch That Textbook... and a few others too!


What are you reading this summer?  Give some suggestions in the comments section below!

Top Influential Summer Reads for Elementary Teachers


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Fox Who Ate Books Book Review

The Fox Who Ate Books - Mr. Fox had a hunger for books.  He loves them so much he doesn't just read them, he eats them.  The Fox Who Ate Books

Franziska Bierman
Annick Press
Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: October 11, 2016

Mr. Fox loves reading and eating books - with salt and pepper of course. But this love of books causes him to do some crazy things like "borrow" library books and rob a bookstore to fill his huge appetite. Locked up in jail, Mr. Fox has no access to reading material. What will he eat? How will he survive?

The Fox Who Ate Books is a cute enough story (originally published in German) that plays on the idea of "devouring" books and developing a hunger for reading.

If you’re interested in reading The Fox Who Ate Books, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon




*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Quote of the Week



10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students


Students of all ages can use a little help with their handwriting.  In the age of tablets and smartphones, more time is spent with single finger (or thumb) dexterity rather than whole hand uses like coloring, cutting, and painting.  Holding a crayon, marker, or paintbrush (activities that are common precurosers for handwriting) just don't happen as often anymore.


10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - Here are ten ways to help your students (or your own kids) improve their handwriting.

So what can we do about it?  How can we help our students improve their handwriting?


Here are ten effective ways kids can work on their handwriting skills:



Get the Right Grip!

Learning a proper pencil grip is important.  If grip is a problem, try some of these ideas:

1.  Try a rubber band


10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - Rubberband grip
Check it out Here


2.  Make your own rainbow loom grip


10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - Make your own rainbow loom pencil grip!
Find Directions Here

3.  Use "The Claw"


10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - Use a "claw" for proper grip.
Find Them Here


4. Go for comfort with an ergonomic gripper


Find Them Here



Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice doesn't necessarily make perfect, but practice does make progress.  If your students are gripping correctly, then give them time for guided practice.  

5.  Handwriting Practice Packs


10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - Print Handwriting Practice Pack
Check it out Here

10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - Cursive Handwriting Practice Pack
Check it out Here

10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - D'Nealian Handwriting Practice Pack
Check it out Here


6. Let your lines be your guide


10 Effective Handwriting Tips For Your Students - Highlighted lined paper
Find it Here




Have some fun!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Toad (The Disgusting Critters Series) Book Review

The Toad (The Disgusting Critters Series) - A fun and informative read with great illustrations.  Kids who want to laugh and learn a little more about toads will love this book!The Toad 
(The Disgusting Critters Series)

Elise Gravel
Tundra Books
Children's Book, Non-Fiction

Publication Date: July 5, 2016

The Toad is an amusing yet informative picture book about toads and is part of the Disgusting Critters Series.  High contrast illustrations paired with interesting font choices draw the reader in as they learn and chuckle about toads.

What do toads eat? How do they breathe? Can they grow moustaches? All of that and more is answered in The Toad.

If you’re interested in reading The Toad, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon



*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.



The Business of Writing for Children Book Review

The Business of Writing for Children - A great book to help you break into the children's book market!The Business of Writing for Children

Aaron Shepard
Shepard Publications
Nonfiction, Reference

Publication Date: March 1, 2000 (Updated January 2015)



Have you always wanted to write a children's book? Do you already have a few drafts sitting in a desk drawer or on your computer?

Award winning children's author Aaron Shepard will help you edit, publish, and market those stories with his now updated The Business of Writing for Children.

Shepard dispels myths of children's writing and takes you through some of the basics of crafting a story, formatting, submitting, querying, publishing, and marketing while also giving specific tips and examples along the way.

The Business of Writing for Children is a great resource for any writer hoping to break into the children's book market.

If you’re interested in reading The Business of Writing for Children, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon



*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Quote of the Week

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.

A Squiggly Story Book Review

A Squiggly Story - A Great book for teaching an early writing process for students who can't spell whole words yet!A Squiggly Story

Andrew Larsen (Author)
Mike Lowery (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press
Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: September 6, 2016


How do you write a story if you don't know how to write words? With a little advice from his big sister, a boy sets out to do just that - write a story even if he doesn't know how to spell whole words.

Within this boy's experience crafting his squiggly story, Larsen takes us through the writing process, and reminds us that, "It's your story. You're the boss."

Teachers can utilize this book as a useful entry point for beginning writers who may be hesitant to put pencil (or crayon) to paper.

If you’re interested in reading A Squiggly Story, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon



*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.



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The Day I Became a Bird Book Review

The Day I Became a BirdThe Day I Became a Bird

Ingrid Chabbert (Author)
Guridi (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press
Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: September 6, 2016


The Day I Became a Bird is about a boy who falls in love with a girl who loves birds. What is a boy to do when the girl he loves only notices birds?  Make a bird costume of course!

The Day I Became a Bird is a unique story with simple, yet intriguing illustrations. While not my personal favorite, I know several children who will cherish this book.

If you’re interested in reading The Day I Became a Bird, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon.




*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Inside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home Book Review

Inside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home

Inside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home

Claire Eamer (Author)
Marie-Eve Tremblay (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press
Children’s Non-Fiction

Publication Date: September 6, 2016


Germaphobes beware! This informational and entertaining look at microbiomes will make you laugh, and it will make you squirm a bit too.  With colorful and humorous illustrations from Marie-Eve Tremblay, Claire Eamer delves into the world of microbes – what they are, how they work, and what we know (and don’t know) about them. 

Inside Your Insides is a great read for any budding scientist who wants to learn more about the world of microbes that help make up our bodies and our lives.

If you’re interested in reading Inside Your Insides, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon




*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.

Armstrong Book Review

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the MoonArmstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon

Torben Kuhlmann (Author, Illustrator)
North South Books Inc.
Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: September 1, 2016


If a mouse can fly across the Atlantic, why not to the moon? With strong, detailed illustrations Torben Kuhlmann crafts another great mouse adventure. If you enjoyed Lindbergh, then you'll love Armstrong!


Kuhlmann takes you on a visual journey of planning and perseverance. Can a mouse really overcome so many obstacles and fly to the moon?


If you’re interested in reading Armstrong, you can purchase a copy here on Amazon




*A copy of this book was provided free of charge for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Is Here Giveaway!




Summer is (almost) here!  And here at iHeartLiteracy, we are celebrating by giving away five $10.00 TPT Gift Cards!


Good luck and have a great summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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