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The Great Book Review

My students set in motion The Great Book Review at Stafford Middle School this week!

To kick it off, we celebrated the American Library Association Awards in my classroom by talking about books and continuing to read Rebecca Stead’s award winning book, WHEN YOU REACH ME. She is coming to visit us here in Plattsburgh in March! It’s so exciting to think Stafford Middle School has the Newbery winner coming here. YAY! When I announced the ALA awards in class, the students were thrilled. :-)

We were also excited to see Tanya Lee Stone take the Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children in 2009, since Stone presented her award-winning book ALMOST ASTRONAUTS at our school last year. Prior to Stone’s visit, all of the students in the school read the book and worked on tie-in activities. The sixth grade students do a space and rocketry unit, so ALMOST ASTRONAUTS tied in perfectly with their curriculum.

My students just wrapped up their Literature Circles (an in-class book club) and are prepared to begin reading and reviewing novels on their own. The preparation they do for their group meetings, which I explained in the three previous blog entries, will help them fashion the reviews. Some of them are planning on writing traditional style reviews, while the others are using a Q&A format. We’re planning on creating a school bulletin board with all of the book reviews, as well as posting some here on my LJ blog. A few of the authors whom I met at the ALA convention in Boston asked me to forward the comments on to them, which we will do. Here are a couple of photos of my class, holding copies of some ARC’s they will review. The other photos of the whole group couldn’t be posted because they were too wiggly, haha! (The kids, not the camera…) ;-)


Not only are the students getting involved in spreading the joy of reading, but so are the faculty, staff, and administration. An area in my room has titles geared toward adult readers, so people have stopped by to pick up a book with the understanding they will review it, just like the students are doing. So far, over 25 adults have agreed to participate!

It looks like the cold winter months ahead will pass quickly here at Stafford Middle School, while we focus on reading and sharing our opinions with others. Be watching for our reviews of recently released books and ARC’s!

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