Thursday, June 27, 2019

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer, week 3 - 6.27.19

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This summer I'll be sharing chapter books that are perfect for a range of readers.  
Stop by every Thursday and find a round up of books you'll want to use with your readers!

This week I have books that take place at SCHOOL!  With a familiar setting, these books will for sure entice your readers.

Our Principal Breaks a Spell! by Stephanie Calmenson
Our Principal Breaks a Spell!
written by Stephanie Calmenson
illustrated by Aaron Blecha
This is part of the Simon and Schuster "Aladdin Quix" series.  This is the first book I've seen in the series and I'm interested in checking out more.  There are some positives and negatives I'm noticing.  

Good things:  

  • Short books (this one was 41 pages) with a singular plot featuring a problem and solution. 
  • Font is larger and chapters are short.  
  • There is a cast of characters featured at the beginning of the book with a brief character description.  When new characters are introduced, their names are printed in a bold font to alert the reader.  

Things I would change:  

  • Watch the vocabulary.  Some words are tricky and didn't need to be - another word would have fit.  For example, in a scene where everything is going crazy, the word "chaos" is used.  That's a hard word for kids who are mostly sight word readers to figure out.  There's a word list at the end that has words and definitions but this particular word wasn't even included.  
  • There are many words in bold throughout the text.  If a word is included in the word list at the end, it's in bold in the text.  When a new character is mentioned, their name is in bold.  When the author wants to emphasize some words, they are in bold.  Lots of bold....
  • The back of the book jacket says, "books that make reading fun for kids five to eight years old".  Why are ages mentioned?  What if a nine or ten year old want to pick this one up?  Let's just go ahead and put the level on while we're at it....

In this story, Roger (who is described as one of the smartest students in the school...) has the honor of being the principal's helper.  We find out he is supposed to help sweep the classroom but he really doesn't want to do that job.  In the principal's office Roger finds a packet of magic powder.  He decides to use it on the broom which then becomes something out of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice".  The broom sweeps all the rooms, hallways, bathrooms, etc of the school causing... chaos.  
At the end of the book are some discussion questions that could be used to further talk about the book.  They are not specific to the story so when using them, it won't make the reader feel like they are being tested!
I would like to read more books in this series.  I'm also interested in seeing the reaction of young readers to this series.
I would match kids who are ready for chapter books in 1st grade-2nd grade with this story.

Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs by Katherine Applegate
Roscoe Riley Rules: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs
series by Katherine Applegate
Mark this first book in the series as a perfect read aloud!  I was laughing out loud as I read it and I know after reading this first book, the rest of the books in the series will be checked out quickly.
Roscoe is a first grader and is a kid who always wants to do his best.  He also wants to have fun and is a curious kid.  Roscoe has a kind heart but sometimes he doesn't quite think through his actions.  Like in this first book.  He brings gonzo glue - permanent - to school.  And when his classmates are having trouble behaving before the big Open House performance, he decides to use the glue to "help out".  It's pretty funny what happens and I think kids will enjoy the fall out!
I think this series will appeal to readers in 1st-3rd grades.

Class Pet Squad by Dan Yaccarino
Class Pet Squad: Journey to the Center of Town
by Dan Yaccarino
This one reminded me just a little bit of Toy Story 3!  The Class Pet Squad consists of pets whose job is to keep the kids at school happy.  But they complete their missions in secret.  Get in and get it done!
In this book, young Ben has left his favorite stuffed animal at school - Sharkman - and he's even explained how he can't go to bed unless Sharkman and his other toys are lined up on his shelf.  It's after school and Max and the other Class Pet Squad members find out that Ben left his toy at school,  Because their mission is to do anything for the kids at school, they know it's up to them to bring Sharkman to Ben's house before bedtime.
What follows next is a bit of architecture and engineering.  Each Squad member has a specialty and they figure out what needs to be done to get the toy to Ben's house.  On their mission, they run into some wicked feline company and meet an unsurprising friend.
Quick chapters and illustrations on every page help keep readers engaged.  There are a lot of characters to keep track of and I did use the character list and description that is in the front of the book to help me until I was familiar with the story.
It seems like this is a series but I didn't see any future publications listed.
This story is a bit more advanced than the other two listed.  I think mature 2nd grade readers-4th grade will enjoy this one!

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers 
at the start of their independent reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

I'll be taking a mini blogging break next week to celebrate the 4th of July with family!  See you in 2 weeks!

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