Top 10 Books For Girls: Ages 12+

A book is a device to ignite the-5

A great book is one of the most important things for promoting a lifelong love of learning. I don’t like defining books as ‘girls’ or ‘boys’ books. Books are universal and shouldn’t be restricted by gender stereotypes. This being said there are some books that I regard highly for their depiction of strong female characters and the challenges they overcome. In a world where women are so often depicted as weak and in need of being saved by a knight in shining armour, I think it is important for girls to read books where these norms are shifted. So this Story Sunday I’ll be featuring some of my favourite books for Girls ages 12+.

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1. The Immortals Quartet

This whole list could be Tamora Pierce books. She expertly writes strong female characters as they navigate complex worlds of war, magic, and mystery. In The Immortals quartet we follow Daine, a girl with ‘wild magic’- the ability to communicate with animals. As the realm of Tortall enters war with strange creatures her gifts will be more needed than ever. This series is great for any student that loves animals, magic, or adventure stories.

2. Juniper

A princess, magic, medieval times, an intimidating godmother, and a throne to save. This book, as well as others that follow this series by Monica Furlong are sure to entice any reader.

3. The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor

This is a wonderful series that I pick up to re-read as an adult. A translation of an ancient text this bardic tale is a magical story to fall into. It follows the epic journey of good and evil, light and dark, and an unassuming girl who is the key to it all.

4. Chanda’s Wars

After her mother dies of AIDS Chanda is responsible for her brother and sister. When they are kidnapped by a rebel group as child soldiers, Chanda must do everything she can to save them. Though at times difficult and emotional, this book is a story of strength and the importance of family.

5. Terrier

This journal format is perfect for the reluctant reader. The first book of a series of three, Terrier follows Beka Cooper as she trains to become a guard for the Lord Provost of Tortall. As children from the poor families disappear, mystery and murder approach, and Beka’s strength and cunning take centre stage of this story.

6. Uglies

Enter a world where everybody is altered to be beautiful- but at what cost? This futuristic series (Uglies, Pretties, Specials) about adventure, corruption, and the price of beauty is sure to appeal to students.

7. Protector Of The Small Quartet

This series is another Tamora Pierce book, and one of my favourites. The series follows Kel as she works through prejudice, danger, and war to prove that she can become a lady knight.

8. Out of My Mind

Trapped in her own mind without the ability to speak or write Melody can only watch the world around her. But when she is given a laptop- everything changes, for both better and worse. This book is a great discussion about ability, disability, and the people behind the labels.

9. The Green Glass Sea

Living with her scientist father in New Mexico in 1943 on a base where something mysterious is being constructed, Dewy is having trouble fitting in…

10. A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)

What is a tesseract? A wrinkle in time of course. This beautiful book follows Meg as she explores time, mystery, and family.

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Story Sundays are about exploring the conversation surrounding how a love of reading can be fostered in children, and how this passion can be ignited in the classroom.

  • Do you have any great strategies for encouraging a love of reading in your classroom?
  • What are you reading in your classroom right now?
  • What activities do you use to engage students with a story?
  • What books have personally inspired you as a teacher?
  • How do you make reading exciting for your students?

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them when you link up this Story Sunday.

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Story Sunday: Reading With Audiobooks

Story Sunday Audiobooks

There’s something wonderful about being read out loud to- its the reason bedtime stories have been around for so long. But there’s not always someone around to guide read-aloud time. A great independent reading strategy is to have students follow along with an audiobook. This allows them to develop their reading skills while being able to ‘play the movie’ of the story in their heads. Audiobooks are not a substitute for reading, but they can be a way to engage readers with their stories. Have students read a paragraph or sentence before listening to it back via the audiobook. For this to be effective students should be able to pause and play the device themselves so that they can read at their own pace.

Story Sunday Stories

If you’re looking for a specific book the best place to find it is likely iTunes or Amazon. But its always worth a search to see if you can find it for free first! Here are a few sites you might want to explore:

Libivox: This source has a variety of public domain books. If you’re looking for classics like Anne of Green Gables, or working on the pronunciation of Shakespeare works- this is the place to go.

Lit2go: This site lets you search classic audiobooks by grade level. Remember that the classic fairy tales are not the Disney versions your students are used to (you might want to preview them first).

Storynory: I’m not a huge fan of Storynory’s original audio stories for kids, but I do love the section they have on Myths & World Stories. Check out fairy tales from around the world, or Greek and Norse myths!

Online Audio Stories: For short poems and rhymes for younger children this is a great resource.

Youtube: Never underestimate the power of a quick Youtube search. From Robert Munsch to The Hunger Games there are a variety of free audiobooks available. (To avoid advertisements you can use a Youtube to Mp3 converter to download the file).

Have you used audiobooks with your students before? Let me know in the comments below!

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I’d love to have you link up. Learn more about Story Sunday and find out how here.

Finding Time For Free Reading In The Classroom

A book is a device to ignite the-4The Greatest Gift Is A Passion For Reading

A student’s confidence, skill, and passion for reading must be built with practice. Unfortunately many students do not read at home. The only way to guarantee that students are reading regularly is to make time in the classroom setting. But with increasing constraints in the classroom it can seem like there is less time everyday for student free reading time. Here are a few ideas to help you find time in the day where you can encourage students to read.

For these ideas to work students must have their books easily accessible. You might choose to give students the responsibility for bringing their book with them, or you might prefer having a ‘book basket’ with a variety of choices to pass out to students at opportune times.

Uniquely Portable Magic

1. School Assemblies: Instead of struggling to manage student behaviour as they wait in boredom for an assembly to start, pass out books and have them silently read.

2. Morning Work: Many teachers use morning work in the first 5-10 minutes of the day to help students settle in and complete attendance. Turn this time into an opportunity for individual reading.

3. Bus: Do you have a long bus ride for a field trip coming up? Give students the option of reading.

4. Early Finishers: Replace a chorus of “I’m done, what should I do now?” with a routine where students who have finished an activity read silently as they wait for the rest of the class to be done.

5. Lines: There are many times we find ourselves waiting in lines. Waiting to go out for recess, waiting for a special event, waiting in a bathroom line. When students make it a habit to carry a book with them these moments are no longer wasted time, but rather opportunities to accrue reading time.

6. Lunch: Though most students likely won’t want to read while they eat, this can be a time to sneak in some promotion. Play an audio book in the background, or watch a video of an interview with an author. Some students might listen in and become interested in reading the book themselves.

7. Use Reading As A Reward: While reading in itself might not entice students, taking silent reading outdoors can be a great change of scenery. Reward students at the end of the day with the chance to read outside before the bell rings.

When do you squeeze in reading time with your class? I’d love to have you link up this Story Sunday, or comment below.

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SALE-2

(link back using this button in your post)

Story Sundays are about exploring the conversation surrounding how a love of reading can be fostered in children, and how this passion can be ignited in the classroom.

  • Do you have any great strategies for encouraging a love of reading in your classroom?
  • What are you reading in your classroom right now?
  • What activities do you use to engage students with a story?
  • What books have personally inspired you as a teacher?
  • How do you make reading exciting for your students?

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them when you link up during Story Sunday.

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A reminder that I also have a Spring Giveaway happening at the moment. Head on over and enter here.

Spring Giveaway

Spring Has Sprung! {A Giveaway}

Spring is finally here! Goodbye snow and hello sunshine and tulips. Its the perfect time to try a fresh classroom strategy, switch up your classroom layout, or spring clean the depths of your desk drawer. I’m celebrating the change of season with a giveaway!

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Check out these fun patterned tapes! My favourite way to use these is to label containers, decorate important dates in a planner, or as flags at the top of ‘teacher pencils’ to make sure they are returned to you. These bright patterns are perfect for spring.

patterned tape giveaway lifelong learning

Spring Writing Prompts: These 10 fun spring themed writing prompts are the perfect writing practice surrounding the season of rain, mud-pies, and growing flowers.

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Spring Observation Journal: This spring observation journal is a great way for students to practice writing about their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and observations while engaging with the changes in the environment that occur during spring.

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Spring Observation Journal Cover Page

Spring Observation Journal

How are you celebrating spring? Let me know in the comments.

If you’d like to nab these spring goodies enter using the rafflecopter below.

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Story Sunday: Increasing Confidence In Struggling Readers

1To start off this week’s Story Sunday I would like to explore the idea of reading confidence.

For struggling readers there is often a great deal of self-judgment surrounding the difficulties they experience- and it can make them hate reading. In order to develop a love of reading it has to be an enjoyable process in which readers are confident in their abilities. So how can you help struggling readers build their confidence?

A book is a device to ignite the (2)

Book choice: There is something very fulfilling about finishing the last page of a book. Readers should choose manageable books, and teachers can help facilitate these choices. This doesn’t mean forcing students into overly simple books that they will not be interested in, if a student is passionate about struggling through a difficult book that they find interesting you can encourage them to persevere and support them through the process. Regardless of the reading level there are interesting books to be found, and all books that we suggest to students should be something we would be willing to read ourselves. Ultimately the decision over what book to read should be left up to the student- only they know what stories or ideas they will truly enjoy or would like to explore. However, you can suggest book choices that you think would be a good fit for both a student’s reading level and interest. For instance: the book series Horrible Harry is often a good choice to increase reading confidence as there are several stories contained within the book. Students can feel a sense of accomplishment for finishing each story, rather than the whole book. For older readers try a book of short stories: Boy’s Own is a great short story collection for boys and girls alike, and Chicken Soup for the Soul books are engaging, with a variety of story lengths and difficulties, and have been popular for years.

Don’t Overanalyze: So now a child has read a story, and their feeling pretty good about it. The problem now is that this fragile confidence could be shattered with a simple question. “So what did you think of this part?” Asking children to regurgitate what they read or analyze it early on could be a blow to their confidence if they are still processing the story. Let them bring it up instead. Ask them “did you like the book?” and let them lead any conversations from there.

Track Data But Don’t Compare: It can be very satisfying for a student to track their reading with data. You can record the number of books, pages, or chapters that they’ve read. The biggest problem that comes with tracking data is if students compare their data to others. I am personally opposed to class tracking systems that are displayed within the classroom. Students who have not read as much as others feel ashamed and less intelligent than their peers, it will decrease their confidence and make them further resistant to reading.

Read Along: Ask many people why they like reading and they will say its because they can see a movie playing in their head, its entertaining, and an interesting story! When you have a struggling reader this likely isn’t their experience. Instead they are focused on one word at at time and they don’t get to see the story in this way. Following along with an audio tape, or reading a passage and then listening to it, can give students the experience of picturing the story, while also developing their reading skills.

Yellow Overlay: You might have heard about using yellow plastic translucent overlays to help dyslexic students ground words on the page. This trick isn’t just for dyslexic students, it can help students transitioning to reading longer passages of text.

Space: The most valuable thing you can give a struggling reader is the time, space, and encouragement to read at their own pace and in an atmosphere in which they are comfortable. A quiet corner without distractions or a comfy cushion might be enough to help a reader sink into a story. If you have silent reading time in your classroom be sure to read a bit as well to model the habit for your students and demonstrate how it can be an enjoyable pastime.  It can take a while for students to sink into the reading mindset, so give ample time for free reading whenever possible.

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Peer Recommendations: Students might be Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 1.58.46 PMmore open to trying a new book, or be more interested in a story if it has been recommended by a peer. Have students discuss the books they are reading with one another, or rate them on something like this Class Book Chat form (which you can download for free here).

How do you increase confidence in struggling readers in your classroom or with your child? I’d love to have you link up, or to hear from you in the comments below.

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Story Sunday 2
(link back using this button in your post)

Story Sundays are about exploring the conversation surrounding how a love of reading can be fostered in children, and how this passion can be ignited in the classroom.

  • Do you have any great strategies for encouraging a love of reading in your classroom?
  • What are you reading in your classroom right now?
  • What activities do you use to engage students with a story?
  • What books have personally inspired you as a teacher?
  • How do you make reading exciting for your students?
  • What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them when you link up during Story Sunday. 
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