Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Ghostly Night in the Speech Room

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting much for the past year. Instead, I’ve been busy working on other writing projects. I was nudged to get back to my blog when I received a digital review copy of the book I featured in my last post. Thank you, Marissa, for sending Calling All Cars my way! I’d forgotten how much I enjoy posting about books and engaging my students in the process.

Now that the review bug has bitten me again, I’ll be on the lookout for new books to share with my students and I’ll pass along our recommendations. While I wait for the next batch to roll in I thought I’d introduce one of my own that is frequently requested by my students, The Ghostly Night, written and illustrated by myself, Jeanette W. Stickel.

I wrote this story to give my students an engaging way to practice their “g” sounds. I had no idea how successful it would be. The kids continue to ask for this book even after mastering their “g” sounds.

In The Ghostly Night Kristy can’t get to sleep.

“The wind rattled her window. The full moon threw grasping shadows across her bedroom wall. They swayed with the rhythm of the wind.”

Before long, Kristy calls her mother,

“Mom!” she cried. “There’s a   g  -  g   -  g   ghost in my room.”

She calls again when the wind howls, when a branch scrapes her bedroom window, and when she sees her curtains move. Each time, the kids join in “reading” the repeated line, “There’s a   g  -   g   -  g   ghost in my room.” They can’t seem to help themselves. That makes for a lot of practice with the “g” sound. It also gives them an understanding of the sound the letter represents, a phonemic awareness skill that fits right in with the Common Core State Standards (especially RF.K.3a where students are expected to “Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant.”)

One teacher told me her whole class erupted in clapping when the tables turned on the Mother at the end of the story. You can imagine how pleased I was to hear that report—almost as pleased as I will be to introduce more stories to my students in the coming months.

I look forward to finding those special books to enrich the lives of my students and my readers.

Friday, February 5, 2016

CALLING ALL CARS for the 100th Day of School

It is hard to believe but this week we celebrated the 100th day of school. That special day ranks right up there with Valentine’s Day around our campus. Most teachers asked their students to bring in 100 items of their choice. Take a look at their clever ideas.

One of my speech students asked if we could read 100 books in honor of the day but we’ll have to make that a long-term goal. After all, we don’t want to rush through a good story.

And speaking of a good story, I was able to share a new book with a kindergarten class this week. They were thrilled to be part of a review team for Calling All Cars by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Sarah Beise.

      Big cars,
           Small cars,
        Let’s call
        All cars!

They loved the zippy text and, I must admit, I loved reading it to them. I couldn’t help but match my speed to the speed of the racing cars then slow for the climb over the mountain.

       Zip through tunnels,
       Make no stops,
       Climb up over

The kids poured over the bright, eye-popping colors and giggled at the illustrations of a long-necked giraffe in a tiny convertible, a car with elevator wheels and adorable animals on every page. They each picked a favorite scene and their choices were as varied as the clever text and illustrations.

The students thought this was a great story for the 100th day of school because there were at least 100 cars in the book.

I’d say it was a good choice because their enthusiasm hit a full 100%!