#Road2Reading Challenge: What am I reading?

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 reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Each week, Michele Knott and I post about new early readers and transitional chapter books. 

Recently, I went into one of my local indie bookstores searching for some new early readers. You would think this would be an easy task. If I was looking for a picture book, transitional chapter book, graphic novel or middle grade novel, I could have easily located them. New early readers are a challenge to track down. So, I picked up a few new to me books and requested a couple from my library. 

This past week, I read some new to me early readers. And re-read some new early readers in their finished form. The books below technically fall within the early reader category based on size, and style. Several of them have 3 to 4 very short chapters and others are one continuous story. The reading levels of these books vary significantly so I would encourage teachers and parents to look at the text to determine the best match for a particular reader. Even if you don't feel that the books would be a match for a child's independent reading level, any would make an enjoyable read aloud. 

Spark (Tiny Tales #1) by Kallie George; Illustrated by Genevieve Cote (Simply Read Books, 2013) - There are three books in this Tiny Tales series featuring magical creatures. 

Lana's World: Let's Go Fishing! by Erica Silverman (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015) - I am a fan of Silverman's Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series and was interested in checking out her Lana's World series. I really enjoyed this one as well. And out of the list this is more of a true early reader. 

Get a Hit, Mo! by David A. Adler; Illustrated by Sam Ricks (Penguin Young Readers, 2016) - This follow up to the 2016 Geisel Winner, Don't Throw It to Mo!, was another true early reader that fans of the first book will equally enjoy.

The Toad by Elise Gravel (Penguin Random House Canada, 2016) - Gravel has about seven or eight books in this Disgusting Critters series. Though the size is compact, the text and humor makes this for a slightly more sophisticated reader. 

My Kite is Stuck! And Other Stories by Salina Yoon (Bloomsbury, January 10, 2017) - This sequel to Duck, Duck, Penguin! is one of my favorites. I am always amazed at how Yoon can get so much emotion on the faces of her characters. The dialogue boxes make this one a great mentor text for children learning to incorporate dialogue in their own writing. 

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder; Illustrated by Emily Hughes (Chronicle Books, April 11, 2017) - This new book from Snyder is sweet and whimsical. Divided into four separate stories in short chapter formats. 

Snail & Worm Again by Tina Kugler (HMH Books for Young Readers, May 3, 2017) - Kugler's follow-up to Snail & Worm is just as wonderful. I love this quirky friendship story and Kugler's illustrations are delightful. 

Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan; Illustrated by Marc Boutavant (Chronicle Books, June 6, 2017) - This one is more of an early chapter book. Readers who are beginning to build stamina but are not ready for a true early chapter book or transitional text will find this one just right. Children looking for pet stories will enjoy this one. 

Look for all of these books at your local indie bookstore or community library. 

Don't forget to check out Michele's post today and link up any reviews you have done below:

#Road2Reading Challenge: Navigating Chapter Books: What Readers Need to Know

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 reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Each week, Michele Knott and I post about new early readers and transitional chapter books.  This week, I am looking at what readers need to know to navigate chapter books. 

Lately, I have been contemplating reading levels and what do they mean. I am a big advocate for choice reading. However, many educators have not yet built up the confidence to match readers with books at a "just right level". Of course, "just right levels", can vary depending on a given day or the topic of the book. Some days a child may be able to focus longer and deal with more complex texts but on another day, may only be able to handle shorter less complex texts. And interest and prior knowledge can make all the difference in the world. If I know a lot about science fiction, then reading a science fiction novel may seem easier than if I was completely unfamiliar with the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. 

For teachers supporting second and third graders as they develop into fluent and competent readers, it is important to consider what readers will encounter with the structure/plot, and character development. Will there be tricky parts and will readers know how to navigate those parts successfully? And are there any other elements that readers will need to understand to best comprehend what they are reading? 

What are some questions or elements to consider when conferencing with readers?

* How many problems does the main character(s) encounter? Will all be solved in the story? 
* Are there problems or issues that need to be inferred? 
* How does the character change from the beginning to the end of the book? How does the reader learn about the character's traits?
* What role does the minor or secondary characters play in the book?
* What parts might be tricky for readers such as vocabulary, figurative language or parts that are intentionally unclear at first?
* Why do the characters do what they do?
* How does the setting influence the story and what does the reader need to understand to understand what is happening? 

One way to begin with helping readers transition to more complex chapter books is by using a familiar set of stories such as fairy tales.  Many children have been exposed to a variations on traditional fairy tales through picture book read alouds. Given this prior knowledge of characters and plot, readers can be coached through tricky parts and develop important skills that they can transfer to other stories. 

Here are a few books/series to explore with readers.... 

Grimmtastic Girls: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (Scholastic, 2014) 

Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale (Scholastic, 2015)

Little Red Riding Hood: An Interactive Fairy Tale Adventure by Eric Braun; Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum (Capstone, 2015)

Look for these and other books at your local indie bookstore or public library.

Check out Michele's post and if you have a #Road2Reading post, please link up below.