Monday, April 2, 2018

Registration is open for our Spring Workshop.

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Register by emailing
Include your name, school or library, and telephone number.
Pay by cheque or purchase order.
Your registration will be confirmed.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Making Writer's Workshop Come Alive!

A New PERC Workshop for Teachers

By Popular Request
Syd Korsunsky is returning to the Pembina Valley.
Register by November 30th.
Contact a PERC representative for more info.

Long Way Down

I received a galley of this book from NetGalley. The hardcover edition is to be released on October 24, 2017.

From Amazon:

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun.

What did I love about this book?

  •  Jason Reynolds's prose. Who can deliver free verse with such meaning?
  •  I love the cover of this book. Although I read it as an ebook from NetGalley I love the look of the black and white cover displaying old-style round elevator buttons against a scratched and soiled wall.
  •  I love the pages that appear to be the scuffed paint of the elevator walls.
  •  I love the sparsity of words on the page.
  •  I love the chapters told as a trip in the elevator.
  •  I love the ending!

Who can turn your thinking around in 200 pages the way Jason Reynolds can?
Will's brother Shawn was murdered and Will believes he must avenge the death. Like all of Jason Reynolds' novels, the characters are wonderful and the story is never simple.

The novel is longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

I will buy this book so I can read it again in hard copy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Feedback from Literacy in the 21st Century - Annual PERC Workshop

We had another successful workshop in April. We appreciate the feedback from our participants and it helps determine our agenda for the next workshop.  Here is what the exit slips revealed.

Do you have any ideas for topics or presenters for future PERC workshops?
·         Indigenous perspectives
·         Keeping the connection between school and public libraries – reading buddies program, schools identifying and helping to connect this to public library programming especially through the summer
·         How can schools / school libraries and public libraries support each other?
·         ILL’s and FILL
·         PLS (Public Library Services)
·         Information literacy (internet searching)
·         How to organize your library (Dewey; genre; colour code?)
·         How to “genre-fy”
·         Making effective book displays
·         Would love to hear Sally Bender speak again!
·         More authors! He was very interesting – love learning about writing process
·         Publisher? How does a book get published?
·         Other resources available to us – MB Ed. Lib. was great!
·         Makerspace lady was very informative as well!
·         Follet
·         Publishers
·         More authors – Carol Matas (Wpg)
·         I really enjoyed the Makerspace presentation and would love to learn more
·         More information about picture books and how to give book talks
·         Writer’s Workshop for Middle Years
·         Presenter that PERC had about 7 years ago with an emphasis on writing – Syd Korsunsky (from Winnipeg)
·         aSuggested speaker- Brenda Mutcher - Making a priority to visit the public library twice a year and to do a scavenger hunt within the library, and how she encourages the kids to read and belong to the summer reading program
·         Teachers encouraging students to visit public libraries throughout the year and teach kids that a public library is a “safe” place you can go if needed
·         Literacy strategies
·         Library specific Makerspaces

Other Comments:
·         Love “Sal’s Addiction”!
·         Love it when you do the book recommendations
·         Very good day – thank you!
·         I like hearing about what you guys are up to but don’t have the time to join committees.  Please keep keeping our schools in the loop J
·         Thanks so much for all your work in planning today’s session.  It has been packed with great content! Thanks! 
·         Only consideration might be to have session at a location that has wifi access for devices other than cell phones so we can check into resource online in networking time.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Young Adults' Choices List from ILA

What Is the Young Adults’ Choices List? The Young Adults’ Choices project began in 1986, funded by a special grant given to the International Literacy Association. Since 1987, the Young Adults' Choices project has developed an annual list of new books that will encourage adolescents to read. The books are selected by the readers themselves, so they are bound to be popular with middle and secondary school students. The reading list is a trusted source of book recommendations, used by adolescents, their parents, teachers, and librarians.

Find the book list here

What would you like to read? 

I am adding Canadian Teresa Toten's latest novel Beware That Girl to my To Be Read (TBR) list. The novel is compared to We Were Liars  and Gone Girl. The main character is considerd book smart, street-smart, and a masterful liar. 

One of my favourite books from this past several months is Ruta Sepetys' Salt to the Sea, an historical fiction novel set in WW II inspired by a true tragedy, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustoff.

Told from three characters' points of view, it is a story of courage, trust, and strength. Sepetys' novel is a great read for teens and adults.

I recently gave the book to a friend who really likes historical fiction as a birthday gift, but I asked for it to be returned to passed on to more readers. I definitely recommend it to my student readers!

If you have not read her other novel Between Shades of Gray, be sure to do so. It is also historical fiction about a Lithuanian girl who is forced to leave her country with her family. See the comment from The Washington Post reviewer:

"Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both."--The Washington Post

I bought Jeff Zentner`s The Serpent King this winter because I heard so much about it. I didn`t get a chance to read it before I offered it in the annual PERC book draw. 

This novel is also told from the point of view of three different characters. The small town setting appeals to me, and at least one of the characters can`t wait to escape, a not uncommon feeling for teens in rural areas.

Donalyn Miller reviewed it as, Òne of the best YA books I`ve read all year. Beautiful writing. Unforgettable characters.

Zentner has a new novel out in 2017, Goodbye Days, the story of one teen`s life after the death of his friends. Carver sent a text to his three friends and it was the last thing they saw before a horrible crash.

I predict Jeff Zentner will be a popular author to follow.

You will find many more great books on the Young Adults` Choices List. Check them out and leave a comment on ones you have read or may like to read.

You might also like to check out the Collaborating Teachers group on Goodreads. It is Manitoba teachers, librarians, and interested readers (like me!) who share the books we and our students are reading. Some may be on the ILA Choices Reading lists.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Choices Book Lists

I am finding many book lists in my emails, other blog posts, and on Twitter these days. I am always interested to see new lists and especially to see if I have read books on other people's lists! I will share some of these lists with you.

As the Provincial Co-ordinator for the International Literacy Association, I am very interested in the Choices lists they publish each year. There are three different lists. Check out this link and you will see that there are Children's Choices, Young Adults' Choices and Teachers' Choices. There are 30 books in the Young Adults' and Teachers' lists and 100 books in the Children's list. The lists are the suggestions of children, young adults and teachers, librarians and reading specialists!

I will highlight the Children's Choices in today's blog post. The lists provides details about the book including author, illustrator, publisher, and a quick synopsis of the book. A picture of the front cover of some of the titles is provided and a printable pdf file of all of the titles is also available. The book list is also divided into books for Beginning Readers, Young Readers, and Advanced Readers (categorized by age).

Book Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamilloBook Booked by Kwame AlexanderA few of the titles I have read included Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and Booked by Kwame Alexander.

I want to read Kevin Henkes' When Spring Comes and The Thank You Book by Mo Willems.

What do you wnat to read?

Book The Thank You Book (an Elephant And Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Book When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Books for Teaching Empathy for Middle Years

My colleague and friend, Amanda Rheault, shared a list of books to teach empathy she makes available to her grade six students at Carman Elementary School.

The list is from TeachThought and you can find the list here with lovely covers to make them easy to identify and a brief description of the book. I know you will have read many of them! But I am excited because there are many that I have not read. I am going to get started on some of them beginning with The Boy on the Wooden Box,  a memoir by Leon Leyson, because Amanda recommended it.

Book The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler's List by Leon Leyson
This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s list child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow.

The list would be a great link to share with your students. I can see a Math lesson as the students survey the class to determine what they have read and then preparing spreadsheets and charts to showcase the results.  I would be curious to know which of the books has been read by the most students.

Amanda used the empathy theme for a book of the month study. Students completed their weekly check-in questions (character development, conflict, predictions,etc). Then they took the place of the main character in the book. They explained what they would have done/felt/said in the place of the main character. They then re-wrote the back cover and recreated the book cover to fit themselves into the picture and write up. 

Thank you Amanda for sharing your learning with us.