Monday, June 28, 2021
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.28.21
Thursday, June 24, 2021
#road2reading - thoughts on decodable readers 6.24.21
- are sight word readers
- need decodable text
- read about 1-3 sentences on a page
- need supports to help them figure out unknown words
- want to put series together, just like you do for picture books and chapter books
- combine books into bins. Some ideas: books that make you LOL, friendship stories, animal characters, books about sports, outer space stories
- combine your decodable text stories with their counterpart picture books. A decodable text story about friendship can go with your picture books about the same topic.
- shelve them with the picture books
- put them together in an area together BUT please think about how this area is labeled. For a child with reading challenges, picking a book from the "easy readers" is degrading. Don't do this.
- put a sticker over the publisher label. The circular garage stickers work well. I use them for all of the books in my classroom library which makes it easier for me to reshelve books.
- If you're mixing books together whether they are decodable, leveled, or just a trade picture book, readers will see all of the books mixed together which sends the message that the level is not important.
Monday, June 21, 2021
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.21.21
Friday, June 11, 2021
Cover Reveal for Make Way for Fenway series - 6.11.21
VJC: Thank you for hosting us, Mrs. Knott! As you know, I’m a faithful reader of your blog. I love your passion for championing new books, especially chapter books and the #road2reading challenge.
JL-V: Thank you for inviting me to your blog. I look forward to sharing the new Fenway books with everyone.
MK: What was the idea behind these new stories, Victoria?
VJC: The core of the stories is Fenway and the squirrels. In each book, Fenway wants something and then blames the squirrels when things go wrong (spoiler alert: lots of things go wrong!). I had a lot of fun coming up with the different scenarios. Squirrels really can be sneaky!
MK: Victoria, how did you react when you heard that Joanne was chosen as the illustrator for this series?
VJC: I was over the moon! I follow her on Instagram and I love her work. I knew she’d bring a lively spirit to the characters and stories. I literally couldn’t wait to see what she’d come up with. And boy, her illustrations were definitely worth the wait!
MK: Joanne, what about this character and these stories captured your imagination?
JL-V: Victoria’s stories are hilarious, fun and fresh. I love that it was from a dog’s point of view which made it easy to fall in love with Fenway’s feisty temperament but cute personality. I’ve always wanted to illustrate a dog book and the day the publishers told me I would be the illustrator, it was like an early birthday gift for me.
MK: They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all know that people do - especially kids. What was the cover illustration process like, Joanne? How did you decide what to depict on these covers? How did you zero in on just the right images, feelings, and energy?
JL-V: I based the cover on the personality of a young puppy. Just like my kids at that age, he is innocent, carefree, very focused especially when he wants something yet unaware of all the havoc it may cause or the evil villains waiting for him around the corner.
MK: What was your favorite thing about illustrating Fenway, Joanne? Which parts of his personality can you most relate to?
JL-V: I love illustrating Fenway’s expressions especially when he is being overly dramatic. I can definitely relate to his wild imagination, persistence, and also fierce loyalty to those he loves. I also love illustrating the squirrels as well. They are a bunch of rambunctious rascals who keep Fenway on his toes which makes it very funny to illustrate.
MK: The Fenway and Hattie middle grade series is more than five years old. Victoria, I’m wondering what’s it like to see your characters illustrated after all that time?
VJC: It's hard to describe. When I was a kid, I distinctly remember reading chapter books and feeling that exhilaration whenever I came to an illustration. Those images were like magic to me. Seeing my own scenes come to life through Joanne’s art brings me right back to those feelings. Her illustrations make me fall in love with my own characters all over again.
MK: Joanne, how do you determine which bits of each chapter to illustrate? How do you imagine young readers reacting to the pictures?
JL-V: Together with the editor and art director, we share our ideas and thoughts from each chapter. Sometimes I have too many ideas from one scenario and will sketch them out and share them with the publisher. It helps to have another person look at them from a distance since I tend to get attached to the illustrations and want to do them all. There are different moments in the story where I would find myself laughing out loud or cheering Fenway on when he is feeling a little down or upset. These are the moments when I want to illustrate how I feel when I’m reading from Fenway’s point of view.
MK: What’s next for each of you?
VJC: I’m waiting for revision notes for Book 3 in this series (Coming Oct 2022), and I hope to finish writing the 4th book (Spring 2023) this summer.
JL-V: Currently I’m working out the sketches for Book 2 and have two more Fenway Books after. I really can’t wait to read Books 3 and 4 and see what’s in store. If they’re as good as the first two, it’s going to be a total blast illustrating them. I’m having such a great time with Fenway and his friends, I feel like I’m part of his life thanks to Victoria and Putnam Young Readers.