Advising a Reader

Last week, I was assigned a reader, read surveys, and searched for the perfect books for my young, but brilliant reader! Ah, this assignment I enjoyed. In the end, I wrote a letter to this dear child whom I have never met with five recommendations. My thoughts as the project progressed follow:

As I read through the information about my reader, I began wondering more about her. I am wondering about where she lives and with whom she lives, who she relates to at school and what her fashion choices might be, when she was introduced to books and when she started reading independently. My mind wonders because to select perfect books, she and I need a relationship. Research and data continue to support philosophies that encourage building relationships with students. School teachers acknowledge that these relationships build communities of respect, engagement, and learning. Creating a list of books for students only begins with a reading inventory, but is ultimately improved with the compassion and empathy resulting from relationship.

Heidi’s survey implies that she belongs to a family of readers. In addition to reading several minutes a week for pleasure, she owns several books and a library card. She lists several books from the same series and author, J.K. Rowling. I first recognize this task’s level of difficulty.  This gifted author uses exceptional language and remarkable creativity. Her books range from lexile levels of 880 to 1030. The Lexile.com website compares these numbers to correspond with average fifth to seventh grade students. Rowling’s Harry Potter books overflow with fantasy, magic, and action, but with an excess of 304 pages, Harry Potter requires the reading stamina of a higher thinking student. From this information I derive the belief that Heidi belongs to a family of readers who indulge in reading together.

Students with reading support at home bask in literacy sunshine! They possess the scaffolding necessary to navigate through more difficult text. Therefore, as I stumble through choices in literature appropriate for Heidi, I rely on the giftedness of stamina, higher-level thinking, and her family of readers to decipher which literature would be best suited for this eight-year old adept reader.

Hi Heidi, October 10, 2015
My name is Ms. Murk. I teach 3rd grade at a school in northern Illinois. Because I love reading so much, I enjoy teaching literacy more than other subjects. Lately, some of my favorite books have been picture books that send a message of kindness, hope, and friendship. Perhaps, you have heard of some books written by Eve Bunting, Philip C.and Erin E. Stead, and Paul A. and Peter H. Reynolds. Their words and illustrations draw me into the characters and their problems. Other novel favorites written by Megan McDonald, Kate DiCamillo, and Lynda Mullaly-Hunt hold my interest because I connect to the characters and find myself laughing.

Now, just because I enjoy realistic non-fiction doesn’t mean that it’s all I read! Some days I spend time reading non-fiction books to learn about animals, cooking, or current events. Learning about new things allows me the opportunity to talk to more people, and I like talking.Currently, I take classes at Illinois State University, and Mrs. Ball teaches me. Last week, she showed me the survey you completed about reading. You sound lake a very talented reader. Not very many of my students have read Harry Potter’s series or The Kingdom Keepers. We are not the same type of reader, but I appreciate your interests! You are going to teach me what I need to learn!

When Mrs. Ball asked me to choose some books that you might like to read, I was excited to look at books that would challenge a 3rd grader and challenge me to new genres. Each book that I chose hosts elements of fantasy, history, and art. In addition, a few may introduce you to some mythological characters and open a world of new experiences.

Rick Riordan’s creativity and language challenge boys and girls to learn more about mythology. While I chose his Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels for you, he does have a selection of graphic novels that engage readers with language, illustrations, and action! He has extended his talents beyond Percy. So, I included another of student favorites, The Maze of Bones. This book is just the beginning of a thrilling series, The 39 Clues.You have already read Roald Dahl, but I had to include my all-time favorite, The BFG. Dahl perfectly captures the personalities of a friendly giant and a frightened, but tough little girl. Together, their dialogue captures a reader’s attention and leads to joyful giggles.As you have already read, Wonderstruck, I chose another beautifully illustrated book by Brian Selznick, The Houdini Box. This book connects fact with fiction beautifully.Obviously, your love for Hermione and Ron clearly will bring you back to the Harry Potter series. I wasn’t going to include a book that you will return to on your own, but I did include the story of JK Rowling. Her fascinating story may inspire you to be the next author of the decade!

Finally, I want you to know that I searched through many titles and made sure that Wild Rose Elementary Library holds these books. I wish you  experiences with great characters and a lifetime of reading.

Sincerely,

Ms. Murk

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