Motivating myself to become a reader…

kidsIt has been several months since I started the journey of getting into the habit of reading. Along the road, I have found many obstacles; but I have also manage to read interesting books which have left me to wanting to continue reading more and more. I have been to the library many times now, and I believe that by now all the staff there knows me. However, the other day when I went there, I started having a conversation with the librarian about this class and how I as a student and future teacher could encourage myself and my future

students to read. She told me of several tips which were great ideas.  The following are some tips:

-What is that you are interested in reading? What topic?

-Do you like fiction or nonfiction books? Do you like sports, animals, princesses, etc. books?

-Take a book off the shelf that looks interesting to you. Open the book to any page and read three or four pages. Do you like what you have just read? Is it interesting and appealing to read? Was the writing easy to understand? Would this book be something you might think of reading?

-If there was a book you really enjoyed reading, reading the whole series is always a good idea. However, starting with the first book is always a better idea. This way, it will be much easier to understand what is going on and getting familiar with the characters and setting.

-Ask other people or peers for suggestions on different books they have read.

-The librarian also told me about a nation wide data base which people can log into and research about different books. This is a great site as it allows you to find books by title, author, genre, etc. It also has a description about the book, grade level, and the author.

If anyone is interested in learning more about this site, click on the following link…

To begin, click on the Explore tab and choose Research

choose statewide databases

under “browse resource by tittle,” click on the letter N

Towards the bottom of the page click on Novelist k-8 Plus and this will allow you to research many books and find more information about them

The Novelist k-8 Plus is especially for young readers. It has reading recommendation for both fiction and nonfiction, for kids in grade k-8. This is a great tool to use to find just the right books for every reader.

Also, towards the bottom of the page you can click on Browse working with youth, which helps program ideas, match books to readers and other great reader’s advisory tip. I believe all this information is great to help me and other readers start reading. When many tools like this are available out there, it definitely makes things much easier.









It is Monday! What are you reading?

holesStanley has been digging holes: five feet deep and five feet wide for the last few months ever since he was wrongly sent to a boys’ detention center in Camp Green Lake for supposedly stealing a pair of shoes. Louis Sachar, author of the book, Holes, and winner of the Newberry Award introduces us to the life of Stanley and his family.

Stanley lived a good life with his family and his grandfather who loved inventing things. Stanley’s life changed that one day when he was walking under a bridge when all of a sudden a pair of shoes landed on him. Another boy, (Zero), had stolen the shoes and the police was after him, so he decided to throw the shoes over the bridge, ironically the shoes landed on Stanley and this was enough evidence for the police to arrest him. After being arrested by the police, Stanley gets sent to the detention center where he meets Zero, another boy who is also serving time at the camp. As time goes by, the boys become friends. Zero, who did not know how to read or write got interested in learning to do so. So both Stanley and Zero decided to do a deal; Stanley would teach Zero how to read and write, and Zero would help Stanley to dig his holes. One day, the boys tell each other the reason as to why they ended up at the camp. Ironically, Zero realizes that because of him, Stanley ended up at the camp. As we continue reading the book, we find out what they boys decide to do…

One day, everything changes for the boys when all of a sudden they find a hidden treasure in one of the holes they were digging. This day becomes the start of a new life for them…

Reading Reflection…

booksI have to say that getting into the habit of constantly having a book in my hands is harder than I thought it would be. At the beginning of the semester, I learned I would have to stay busy reading many childrens books. I have to say I have tried staying up to date, but with so many things going on around me it is hard to do so at times. And when I do find some time to finally sit and read my book, I find myself falling asleep- not good.

I have been at the public library many times and have found many great books I have had the pleasure to read. The very last one I read, Dear Mr. Henshaw by, Beverly Clearly won a John Newberry Medal. This was a great book and I highly recommend the books which have won the Newberry award. The next book I have in mind is Hatched by, Gary Paulsen, which also won a Newberry award. I asked the librarian if she had read this book and she said yes and that she did recommend it.

What can I do in order to read more? I have asked myself this question many times! Besides working two jobs, going to school, taking care of my son, and my house, I need to make my reading a priority as well. However, I have found myself looking through my cell phone on Facebook when I could use this time to read a book. It is the same thing with television! I need to stop watching television and read more. Next time, I am going to watch t.v for 10 minutes and read for 15. I believe that if I do this as a routine, I will eventually trained myself and automatically do it.

One thing I do have to share with everyone is that I take my reading material to work and one of my coworkers said to me one day, “Wow, you really like to read, uh?” “I am pretending like I do,” I replied. Even after I said this to her, I thought all night about all the books I have read so far and how much I have enjoyed reading them. Many times we think we need to read a book because we have to, but in this case it is different. It is different because I have the freedom to choose books which are appealing to me. And this is where the big difference is and what makes it more interesting! Hopefully next time I blog about how my reading time is going, I will write about all the books I have had the opportunity to read and how I am making time out of my busy schedule to read them. Not because I have to, but because I have the desire to do so!

Meme…what is next?

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

dear. mr. henshawWell, the book I chose this week to read has won a John NewBerry Medal. The book is called, Dear Mr. Henshaw, it was recommended by Mrs. Ellington and I am glad I chose it. This is a chapter book which has a few illustrations here and there and I would recommend this book to a second or third grader.

In this story, we meet Leigh Botts, who is in fourth grade now. The first time Leigh wrote to Mr. Henshaw, an author of children’s book, he was in second grade. All these time until now he has kept in touch with Mr. Henshaw and through his writing, he tells him all about his life and things going on. Through his writing, Leigh asked for advice from Mr. Henshaw as to how he can become a better writer? However, I believe Leigh has not figure out that he is a great writer as he tells us and Mr. Henshaw all bout his life. Leigh tells us about his mother, who works for a catering business and goes to school at night, and about his father, who drives a truck. His parents got divorced, and because of this, he hardly ever gets to see his father and gets to spend his time alone at home while his mom is at school. Throughout the story, we continue reading about the conflict between Leigh and his father. The fact that he hardly ever gets to see his dad makes him sad, but deep inside his heart, he still wishes and hopes for his dads call and to one day see the big truck parked outside his mobile home.

In one of the letters Leigh wrote to Mr. Henshaw, Leigh told him he got to read his brand new book, Beggar Bear, which apparently the setting took place in Yellowstone, Wyoming! Prior to this letter, Leigh had asked him a lot of personal questions and Mr. Henshaw did answer them. However, he also asked Leigh a lot of personal questions and his mom insisted that he answered them all. Because of this, I also have questions:

-Is Mr. Henshaw a real author?

-Did Mr. Henshaw really write the book Beggar Bear?

-I have to say some tourist in Yellowstone Park are very stupid indeed…

Meme…What is next?

“No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed in Public Park”

“A fence which separates the black side of town from the white side”

“There were signs all through town telling color people where they could and could not go”

“We cater to White Trade ONLY”

“Negro Students Stand Up by Sitting Down”

“Blacks seat in the back, whites in the front”

This week for my book meme I decided to read books about the racial tension which has divided the world and continues to do so. We have heard about the Civil Right movements and what Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and many other protestants bravely did in order to end segregation and start civil rights. Regardless of living in the 21st century, discrimination because of color still exist in the world, but many of us are afraid to say or do something about it. As I read through all these books, it is clear that this racial issue continues to haunt “colored” people! Many of these books have life like watercolor illustrations and vivid pictures which brings the reader closer to the tension that the characters are going through in the book.

Separate Is Never Equal by, Duncan Tonatiuh is a book about ending segregation in public schools and how the Brown Vs. Board of Education event came to happen. It all started when Sylvia Mendez was about to start school and was turned away along with her brothers and told they had to attend the Mexican school. Being young, she could not understand why she was not able to attend this beautiful school, even after she fluently spoke English and was an American citizen! It was not fair or right for them not to be able to attend school just because several white people thought colored people had many faults such as: “For their social behavior. They need to learn cleanliness of mind, manner, and dress. they are not learning at home. They have problems with lice, impetigo, and tuberculosis. They have generally dirty hands, face, neck, and ears.” Being rejected many times, Sylvia’s father decided to organize a lawsuit against the school and eventually won the case.

Back Of The Bus by, Aaron Reynolds this story takes place in Montgomery, Alabama. As we read the book, we learn that black people have to sit in the back of the bus and/or give their seat to a white person , if not they will be arrested. All of a sudden, the bus came to a  sudden stop and did not move for an hour or so. Many people got on the bus and apparently some commotion started to happen. It was Rosa Park, a black lady who was not willing to stand up and give her seat to a white man. Because of this, she got arrested and her act of defiance helped changed the nation.

In the book, Freedom on the Menu by, Carole Boston Weatherford we learn about Connie, an eight year old girl who does not understand segregation and what is going on around her. Many were the times she and her momma would go to town to get food and if it was hot, they would go to the snack bar in the five-and-dime store to have a coke. However, black people were not allowed to sit at the lunch counter and they had to stand. “All over town, signs told Mama and me where we could and could’t go. Signs on water fountains, swimming pools, movie theaters, even bathrooms.” Because of all of these and many other events, Dr. King gave his speech and among other students and protestors,  equal rights started to slowly appear.

Clover could not understand and always wondered why that long fence separated the black side of town from the white side. And why did that girl always sit on the fence? In the book, The Other Side, by Jackeline Woodson, we learn about Clover, a black girl, and Annie, a white girl, who are separated by a gate, and do not understand why. Yet, this obstacle does not prevent the girls to talk to each other and eventually build a friendship.

Hatred and prejudice was all around Ruby Bridges. Everything got worse when she started school at an all-white elementary school, especially, being the only black student there. Through faith and courage, Ruby leads by example and teaches us that we must not hate those who hate us. Instead of hating those people, she would pray for them; “Please God, try to forgive those people. Because even if they say those bad things, They don’t know what they’re doing.”


It is Monday! What are you reading?

I have continued to find children’s book and my son has brought many from school as well. The three books we read this week were, Storms, At the Pond, and Jordan’s Catch. Although all three books are completely different from each other, Storms and At the Pond were my favorite books as they are non fiction and my son, myself and other readers can learn valuable information from these books.


At the Pond, by David M. Schwartz is a great book about various animals, their habitat, what they eat, their bodies, etc. This is a super interesting book as it has many facts about several animals. Children would definitely enjoy this book, especially those children who enjoy animals and reading about then.

jordans catchJordan’s Catch by, Stephen Harrison is the story of a boy who plays baseball. One day his team was playing the final game and he missed when he was trying to catch the ball. Because of this, his team lost the game. He was absolutely sad because he was not able to catch the ball. Much to his surprise, his mother bought baseball tickets for him and his father to go watch a game for the towns team. Towards the end of the game, his home team needed one last catch (home run) in order to win the game. When the ball was strike, much to his surprise, the boy catched the ball and he was even on television. Of course, his hometown team won the final!

The storm, from National Geographic for kids,  (accidentally deleted the picture) is a book about the various types of weather catastrophes that can happen when less expected. This book explains what makes certain things such as rain, tornadoes, lightning, earthquake, etc. happen. Unfortunately, this book seems to go well with all the horrible catastrophes happening at the moment in different parts of the world. This is a book which could be used during a science project or lesson plan about natural disasters.

Meme…What is next?

touching spirit bearWell, since the book I read this week had to do with animals, I decided to read Touching Spirit Bear by, Ben Mikaelsen. In this book we are introduced to Cole, the main character and the kind of life he lived. One day, he  attacks another student and has to suffer the consequences. However, in order to avoid going to Juvenile jail, he agrees to attend a native American Circle Justice in a remote island in Alaska where he must learn to survive off the island and what is available. Harvey, a native American tries to help him “survive” as he himself has been through a similar experience. Cole is a teenager who has been through many drastic events in his life as he had to live with an alcoholic mother, and a father who always beat him for everything. The day that Cole gets to meet Harvey, his life starts to change dramatically as he realizes he wants to help him to overcome this obstacle. However, Cole is not willing to give in, even for his own good, without a “fight.”

After court, Harvey agrees to take Cole to the island, and once in the island, Cole has an encounter with a giant spirit bear. Through this encounter, he learns to see life differently and learns that there will always be either negative or positive consequences from his acts. As we continue reading the book, many thoughts and “pictures” come to mind and makes us wonder if what is happening is actually real, or just a dream…

The One and Only Ivan

IvanAs I read through this book, there are many things I need to keep in mind such as the characters, theme, setting, and plot, among others. I believe that keeping all of these in mind helps the reader to better understand what is going on in the book.

We are introduced to the main characters in the book, Ivan, a gorilla, his friend Julia, a human, and Stella, the elephant. As we are introduced to Ivan’s life we find out where he lives, in a mall, and how he is “exposed” to the public. Ivan and Julia become great friends throughout the book, and it all started when Julia gave him a crayon to encourage his writing and art. One unfortunate day, Stella the elephant, one of Ivan’s friend, passed and this is when Ivan realizes he has to do something about his condition of living when all these time he had thought it was a good life until one day he saw on his television how other gorillas were living.

Later we are introduced to Mack, who is the owner of the display/cage where Ivan and the other animals live. After Stella passed, Ivan realized he had to do something about his situation, especially, after he had promised her he would do something about it. Ivan used his intelligence and pieced together several signs to spell home and with the help of many protestors, Ivan and the rest of his friends are re-homed at a zoo where their lives change in a positive way.

Once the animals were taken to the zoo, they learned to live a better lifestyle and much happier life.The setting at the zoo is completely different than how it used to be at the mall. In this place, everything is so much natural with grass, trees, dirt, rocks, flowers, etc. all around them. Even after the animals were placed at the zoo, Julia continued visiting her friend, Ivan, and the rest of the animals.

It is Monday! What are you reading?

I have been to the library several times to get books for this class, and of course, I have found many. My son also started school not too long ago, and he has been bringing books to the house to read; both of us get to do our homework and it has worked great. He reads to me, and I read to him, it is wonderful. So for this assignment, I am going to include two of the books (bottom two) he has read to me so far.



Sea Otters, (National Geographic) by Laura Marsh, is a book about sea otters. They explain the anatomy of the otters and how they live in the wild. Their webbed feet help them swim faster in the water to catch food, especially, fish. This is a great book for children to learn about animals in the wild and what they do in order to survive.


Stone soup, by Naomi C. Lewis is a book about a kid who was walking and got hungry. He was carrying a stone with him and stopped at an old ladies house and asked for food. She said she did not have any food. He suggested they made soup with the stone he was carrying. The old lady got excited and was convinced soup could be made with the stone. However, she didnot realized that it was not the stone which gave flavor to the soup, but the ingredients that were put into the soup.

Giant Squid, by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann is a book about the life of a giant squid and how it lives in the dark at the bottom of the ocean. The book talks about how man knows more about the planet Mars, and not enough about this giant squid. Apparently, every day we learn more and more about them and how intelligent they are. They are giant, that is for sure. Their tentacles can measure up to 30 feet and the one eye they have is the size of a soccer ball. These animals are some amazing giants for sure! The pictures in the book are beautiful as well, full of colors and detail.

Trombone Shorty, by Troy Andrews is a non fiction story which took place in the New Orleans. This is the story about a boy who loved music and wanted to become an artist just like his father and brother, James, were. He pretended to play instruments, made out of objects such as cardboard boxes, pencils, metal, etc.,with his friends and had their own little band. One day, he found a beat up trombone and from that day on, he knew he was going to play “real” music and have his own band. As time went by, his dreams became true and he became the artist he once dreamed to be. By sharing his own story, Troy hopes other children will follow their dreams of becoming whatever they want to be in life. With perseverance, anything can be possible!


Finding time to read…


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There have been many occasions where reading seems impossible, or so I think! But the question is, if I find plenty of time to watch television, why don’t I find some time to sit down and read a book as well? Being a “loyal” reader can be difficult, but I believe there are many ways one can practice to try and find some time from a busy schedule to read a book…

I have to say it has been harder than I thought it would be to find time to read. Having to work two jobs, going to school part time and taking care of my son, husband, and home can have many obstacles. One of my jobs is a Certified Nurse Assistance and I work the graveyard shift. Of course, I am so tired all the time that all I want to do is sleep. When I finally do get a chance to pick up a book, I start falling sleep… not good. However, despite all these obstacles, I have been trying to do the following things to squeeze a few extra minutes of reading here and there. It doesn’t necessarily work all the time like I wish it did, but eventually the minutes do add up. I will continue trying my best.

Watching television-

Instead of watching television for one hour or longer, how about splitting that one hour into 30 minutes of television, and 30 minutes of reading time? Of course it will be very difficult at the begging, but if we stick to the same procedure, it will eventually become a habit.

Reading to children, or even to other adults-

It is great to sit down and read to children, I mean who doesn’t enjoy a children’s book? But what if I don’t have any children? It is ok, adults enjoy children’s books as well. Even reading a book once a day, will get you trained to start reading more and more books.

Read a book as you wait-

There have been many occasions where I have sat in the waiting room for 30 minutes or more. Instead of looking at Facebook, Snapchat or other websites, I can definitely open a book and read a few pages.

Reading before going to bed-

I have heard many times that if you are having difficulty sleeping, a great book can be the solution. I believe that it helps ease the body and relax the brain.

I believe that when a person wants to “desperately” do something, in this case find time to read, it can be done. Obviously, it will take time to get accustomed, but it sure can be done. When it comes to children, I believe that if we introduce them to books at an early age, they will grow to enjoy reading. Especially, when they have the freedom  to choose their own books.