Saturday, August 27, 2016

Caught Reading at the Parthenon... in Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee
August 2016

Did you know there was a full sized replica of the Ancient Greek Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee - the Athens of the South? You did if you have read "The Lightning Thief."

Ms. J. is in 3 of these 4 pictures... can you spot her?
Do you see her reading?

Inside the Parthenon is this replica of the statue of Athena with eight pounds worth of gold gilding. All Ms. J. was thinking about was Percy Jackson and his fight with the Hydra in here in "The Lightning Thief."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Caught Reading... Harry Potter

I know that it isn't "really" Harry Potter... it is a play by a different author based on a new story by J. K. Rowling, but I still felt the need to read it.

Anyone else out there reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child besides me?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Ms. J. Caught Reading

Ms. J. was caught reading while waiting for the Red Line on the MBTA in Boston.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Get Caught Reading this Summer!

Summer Reading

Looking for a good book?
Check out the Wellesley Public Schools Summer Reading List at

Don't forget to get Caught Reading.

That's right, get someone to snap a picture of your reading in a fun spot 
email it 
Ms. J. 

We will display the best Caught Reading pictures on the Library Bulletin board in the fall.

Have a great summer and Read On!
Ms. J.

image from:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

3rd Graders and Storytelling

Sometimes we tell stories in the library.

This year marks my third 3rd Grade Storytelling Festival in the Upham Library and I do feel like they get better each time around.

Thanks to the Upham PTO awarding us a mini-grant, we were able to bring in a professional storyteller to both 3rd grade classes to tell stories, but also to talk about the process of selecting and learning a story that you want to tell.  Cindy Rivka Marshall was that storyteller and she was great (here's the link to her website: link).  The students enjoyed her storytelling and we also put her story mapping idea to work.

My emphasis in this unit is that students select a story they like - after all, who wants to tell a tale that they can't stand? They can chose from a wide variety of folktales from all over the world.  We use folktales for our storytelling because these are stories that started off being spoken aloud long before they were written down. After picking a story to tell, students need to learn the story in their own words rather than memorizing the words from the book.  After students learn the story and can tell it all the way through in their own words then they start to add different voices and changes in the volume of their voice as well as movements and gestures to make their telling more interesting and engaging for the listeners.

To take some of the performance pressure off, we had students scattered around the library performing their story to who ever stopped at their station.  Students were able to tell their story on average 3-5 times and many of them told me that each time it got a little better. Our audience was made up of classmates (everyone got to be both storyteller and listener), parents and kindergarteners.

I hope everyone gets a chance to roast some marshmallows over the campfire this summer and tell a story under the stars.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Congratulations to all my 3rd grade storytellers!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Questions? Answers!

From the very first moment I saw this book, I knew it needed to be read in library. A wonderful colleague brought it to my attention and I was thrilled to know about it.  This book is certainly entertaining and humorous so it would be fun to read, but my question was: could it be more?

Questions are one way we begin our quest to understand. When we ask questions we are trying to understand a little better how the world works. We can ask a lot of questions, but where do we find the answers? And are all the answers we find true and reliable?  Good question!

So my 2nd grade students and I read this story and talked about questions.  And answers.  Almost all of Little Miss Know-It-All's answers sound far fetched, but in fact, only about six of her facts are actually "malarkey"... we had fun trying to sort out what was true and what was not.

Also, we took some time to ask some questions - questions we want to know the answers to.  Here are a few examples of typical 2nd grade questions:

Why does the moon look different colors?
What is going to happen to earth?
How much hair does a cat have?
Why are the flag's colors red, white and blue?
Why is water clear?
Who invented pizza?
How high can frogs jump?
Why is the sea salty?
What did the world look like before the world existed?
How does the sun get so hot?

Now we need to get some answers!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Reading Aloud to your Child - an important piece of creating a lifelong reader

May 6th
Coffee with Ms. J.

We must take care that children’s early encounters with reading are painless enough so they will cheerfully return to the experience now and forever. But if it’s repeatedly painful, we will end up creating a school-time reader instead of a lifetime reader.” 
-The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

I had a chance to talk with a few Upham moms this past Friday about the importance of continuing to read aloud to our children even after they can (technically) read on their own. This topic was inspired by a recent Wall Street Journal article, What You Miss After Your Child Learns to Read by Clare Ansberry, about how parents often stop reading to their children once the child has learned to read. Here are some of the highlights from our Friday morning conversation:
  • Don’t forget how hard it is to read when you are just beginning. When my daughters were in 1st and 2nd grade I was reminded that learning to read is actually quite hard work.  Grueling.  Onerous. My daughters were not that interested in curling up with a book and reading… at least not yet. Spending 10-20 minutes a day reading a “just for fun” book to your child can remind them what all of that hard work is for… remind them of the joys of reading a great story.
  • There is a lot of competition for our children’s attention and some of it (video games, Apps and movies) is really fun and entertaining.  Spending time reading together gives reading a fighting chance with your child… a chance for him or her to realize that reading is fun and entertaining too.
  • Spending time reading aloud to your child gives them your undivided attention - something children love and long for.
  • You might be able to select a book that is special to you to share with your child, but be open if he or she is not as excited about the story as you were as a kid and be willing to try a different book if that first one is not a hit.
  • Keep reading aloud to your children as they get older because it is relaxing, bonding, fun, together time that de-stresses you both at the end of the day.
  • Don’t feel like you have to read to your child before bed if that is a bad time for your family… be creative and try different times like before school or every Saturday or whatever works for your schedule.
  • Check picture books with CDs out of the public library for your child to read along with in the car.
  • Model reading for your child - don’t forget that children love to do what their parents do (at least until they get to middle school)... if they see you reading they will be more likely to pick up a book or a magazine and spend some time with it.  Invite them to curl up on the couch with you and read side-by-side.
  • Jim Release's book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" is a valuable resource that you might want to pick up at the public library or purchase and keep.

Read On!
Ms. J.