Free Leap Year Worksheets Part 3

Leap Year Idioms

Teachers, here is a FREE Leap Year worksheet written by a National Board Certified Teacher. I hope you and your students enjoy it! Here is the Answer Key.

This worksheet helps you teach students about idioms—a commonly assessed concept on state standardized tests. Have some Leap Year fun with idioms based on the word “leap” or “year.”

If you haven’t seen them already, check out Free Leap Year Worksheets Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1: Leap Year Reading and Writing

Part 2: “Fun with Leap Year and Leap Day” reading comprehension and Leap Year Math

Posted in FREE Worksheets,Fun With Literacy,Holidays by Corey Green @ Feb 1, 2016

 

Get Lost in Reading with Scholastic and the origin-story film “Pan”

“Pan,” the origin story of the famous Peter, premieres October 8.  Scholastic offers free materials that help you use the film as a chance to interest your students in Peter Pan and reading in general.

“Pan” tells how Peter added Pan to his name and ended up in Neverland.  Your students can use the original Peter Pan story as a springboard to spinoffs: origin stories, alternate endings, continuations, and tales from another character’s point of view.  Your students might enjoy creating their own Peter Pan spinoff or spinning off another story.  You can let the students choose or just use whatever is this week’s selection in the reading book.

Click here for Scholastic’s “Get Lost in Reading” feature.  Here are some highlights:
Description: students the Pan screenplay‘s description to inspire their own version of the set
Pan ebook with articles about the movie and connections to literacy
Book recommendation: a Pan-themed sheet to recommend books to classmates

Your students might like other Peter Pan-themed spinoffs.  I enjoy the Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  Your students might like to know that the spinoff book became a Tony award-winning spinoff musical.  (How many spins off the original story is that?)

Posted in Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Sep 28, 2015

 

Bedtime Math–teach kids to love numbers and use math in real life

51SXV06OGNL._SX408_BO1,204,203,200_Bedtime Math promises to do for numeracy what bedtime stories did for literacy.

It all started when Laura Overdeck decided to help her kids love math the way she does.  And boy, does she love math!  Overdeck earned a B.S. in astrophysics from Princeton and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.  She combined her love of math, kids and bedtime stories into the Bedtime Math series.

Each book offers multiple evenings of Bedtime Math because they beg to be read little-by-little, with time set aside for thinking.

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)

Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal (Bedtime Math Series)

Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out (Bedtime Math Series)

BedtimeMath.org offers FREE Bedtime Math resources to complement the books.  Check out the Daily Math for blog articles about fun real-life math topics.  You can download a Wacky Math app that brings Bedtime Math to your device–daily problems, articles, etc.

Bedtime Math has a section for educators.  The author asks educators to encourage bedtime math at home, rather than making it part of school.  She also suggests starting an after-school math club, for which she will provide ideas and curriculum.  Very generous.  However, I think the educators section should be taken with a grain of salt.  Remember, its advice is from the perspective of an accomplished mom of privileged kids, not a teacher whose students run the gamut.

Starting an after-school club opens a whole can of worms.  A) you’ll be working for free B) you have to wonder whether school liability insurance and protections extend to after-school clubs–most elementary schools aren’t set up for them C) you are responsible for making sure the kids get home safely.  If they walk, it won’t be in the safety of huge crowds of kids, and if they get picked up–well, the pickup might be an hour late or not at all.

Regarding the idea to keep Bedtime Math for home only: not everyone has a parent who loves math–or even likes it a little bit.  Not everyone has a parent who reads bedtime stories.  Heck, not everyone has a parent who actually enforces bedtime–and provides a real bed.  Plus–not everyone has a parent who speaks/reads English.

Some kids may never experience Bedtime Math unless it is at school.  Consider your school’s circumstances and decide whether Bedtime Math is something to recommend to parents or do at school.  Also consider that families may be much more interested in Bedtime Math after you whet kids’ appetites at school.

Posted in Academics,Fun With Literacy,Math by Corey Green @ Sep 21, 2015

 

Book review: Ashley Bryan’s Puppets

61XELAshKqL._SY496_BO1,204,203,200_Immerse your students in the lush multi-sensory pleasures of Ashley Bryan’s Puppets.  This unique picture book tells the story of Ashley Bryan’s puppets, made from found objects and inspired by African culture.

Ashley Bryan’s Puppets is not a picture book that children would pick up on their own.  It is sophisticated and intellectual, requiring a teacher or parent to help the child derive meaning from it.

…but oh, what depth of meaning!  Ashley showcases dozens of his puppets and highlights several with poems about the puppet’s meaning, inspiration from African culture, and construction.

This picture book would be great to share with a whole class.  I would read a poem or two a day.  That would let the students appreciate each one’s individual beauty.  The students will want to thumb through the book and enjoy the lush photography of each puppet, but their attention spans will appreciate reading just a poem or two at a time.

The class might enjoy making found-object puppets and researching other puppets and puppeteers.  Students might enjoy learning more about Ashley Bryan and reading his many books.   Check out the Ashley Bryan Center in Isleford, Maine.

Posted in Book Reviews,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Sep 7, 2015

 

Tips for using free online speed reading programs

TeacherStudentComputingFREE online speed reading software helps all of your students become more efficient readers–but you need materials and a plan to make the most of this resource.  Here are some tips from a National Board Certified teacher and speed reader.

For a full lesson on speed reading, read my blog entry on the topic.  Here are the Cliffs Notes:

  1.  Speed read by tracking with your finger.  Yes, just like you did back in first grade.  Build up speed by sliding your finger more quickly under the text and challenging your eyes and mind to keep up.  (The online version uses a computer program to flash the words on the screen.)
  2. This helps because it focuses your eye.  Without imposing focus, your eyes will just wander over the page, re-reading, skipping along, and generally wasting time.
  3. It also teaches you not to read in your head.  You know how little kids read aloud?  Well, us older folks enunciate the words in our heads.  As you learn to track your finger faster and read faster, you will read much faster than you could talk.  Once you break the reading-aloud-in-your-head habit, you read much faster.

My favorite FREE online speed reading program is Spreeder.  This tool is part of the terrific online speed reading course 7SpeedReading, which offers courses for individual users and educational institutions.  Request a free trial here–just click on EDU Edition on the menu bar.

Spreeder helps your students train their eyes and brain to work together more efficiently.  You can choose any text to practice with, although I recommend using their sample text first, because it explains the process.  In a nutshell, you have students adjust the program to flash words at them very quickly–about double their resting reading rate.  Students switch back and forth between fast and comfortable, building their ability to speed read in the process.

Spreeder is no fun unless you have ready access to interesting passages.  I found a great source: Mental Floss.  The website features is an offshoot of the magazine that helps clever people “feel smart again.”  The site includes articles, lists and features about everything under the sun.  Here is just a sample of what you can learn on MentalFloss.com:

15 Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever

What Do the Ms on M&M’s Stand For, and How Do They Get Them on There?

How a Game of Monopoly Put 15 Criminals Behind Bars

WWI Centennial: Germans Repulsed at Givenchy

Where is Old Zealand?

Tip: tell your students not to click on post links from around the web, because those are much lower quality than Mental Floss.

Happy speed reading!


 

Paddington Bear in the Classroom

Use the success of the Paddington movie to interest your students in the books about everyone’s favorite marmalade connoisseur.

Encourage students to see the movie–or show it to your class in May for an end-of-school-year treat.  Critics have praised the movie, and it’s doing well at the box office.  EW‘s Jason Clark wrote that the film is “closer to the madcap spirit of the Muppets and the lovingly rendered style of a Wes Anderson film than to standard multiplex family fodder.”

Thank goodness the movie did justice to Michael Bond’s wonderful books.  There are so many to choose from, and your students will love them all.  Paddington stories tend to have high reading levels–6.0 according to AR–so they make great readalouds.  It’s important to expose students to text with more complexity than they can handle themselves, and Paddington stories are a fun way to expose students to more complex writing.  You can ask students to concentrate on the story, or you can give them Paddington coloring pages to keep their hands busy while they listen.

There are many great Paddington books.  My favorite, though, is the Paddington Treasury.  This comprehensive collection of Paddington stories will keep your class entertained for an entire school year.  The stories are sorted by category, so stories about mistaken identity are in one section and stories about food are in another.  You can read similar stories together for a lesson on theme or mix them up for variety.

The Paddington Bear – The Complete Classic Series DVD gathers all the classic TV episodes into one affordable disc.  It would be fun to have in the classroom, for a quick video break on Fun Fridays or as a handy bribe to help a sub keep control of the class.

I hope you and your class have a great time with Paddington Bear!

 

Posted in Book Reviews,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Jan 19, 2015

 

Berenstain Bears: still great for fun & character education

BBearsTeasingMany of today’s kids have little experience with the Berenstain Bears, but once you introduce kids to this lovable family of bears, they’re hooked. 

Berenstain Bears books come in three main types:

  • Easy readers (AR reading level 0.5-2.0; very short books mostly in the “I Can Read!” series. )
  • Picture books (AR reading level 2.5-4.0, 1200-1500 words)
  • Chapter books (AR reading level  3.5-5.0 ; about 7,000-12,000 words or 100 illustrated pages)

My students just love these books, and reading the collection raises the reading level of both individual students and the class as a whole.

My family used to have all the Berenstain Bear books, but we gave them away when my younger brother and sister grew up.  This was before I became a teacher. I had to buy our childhoods back on eBay.  It wasn’t too expensive; I got most books for $1 each or less.  I bought lots of Berenstain Bear picture books and chapter books.  Some of the easy readers were mixed in, but I didn’t seek them out.

I started a Berenstain Bears challenge in my classroom.  I gave the class two weeks for everyone to read 10 points of Berenstain Bears books.  For most kids, this involved 20 picture books.  Some of the higher kids read a mix of picture books and chapter books.  For many third graders, the Berenstain Bears picture books are a stretch.  (This is because many third graders read below the third grade reading level.)  We paired our struggling readers with higher readers for read-aloud sessions.

At the end, we celebrated with a Berenstain Bears teddy bear tea party.  The pictures are adorable, but they’re of other peoples’ kids, so you’ll just have to imagine how cute it was to have a classroom of third graders and their teddy bears.

Berenstain Bears books can be a little didactic, which I think would make them difficult to publish in today’s climate.  Preachy books are out.  However, kids love them.  Berenstain Bears books make it easy to broach a variety of topics.  Here are some sample titles, all available at Amazon.com:

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth
The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts
The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers
The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners
The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room
The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV
The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Teasing

Click here to read my post about how AR reading levels are determined.  Then visit ARBookfind, a site that tells you the reading level of books.

Posted in Book Lists,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Nov 10, 2014

 

FREE printable reading guide for George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff

GWSocks

George Washington’s Socks is an excellent choice for a literature study to support a social studies unit on the American Revolution.  In the novel, a mysterious rowboat transports five kids to the Battle of Trenton, where they experience the American Revolution firsthand.  The kids interact with Hessian soldiers, revolutionaries, and Washington himself.

About George Washington’s Socks:
AR reading level 5.0
AR points 6
Available at Amazon.com

I wrote a reading guide (teacher’s guide) that helps me keep the students accountable and make sure they are following the story.  I wrote a half-sheet comprehension worksheet for each chapter, so the kids can answer enough questions to show they understand without belaboring the book.  I hope you like the printable study guide.

Click for the FREE printable study guide for use with literature studies or units about George Washington’s Socks.

If you want something more involved than my FREE study guide, you can buy some at Amazon.com.

George Washington’s Socks – Teacher Guide by Novel Units, Inc.

George Washington’s Socks – Student Packet by Novel Units, Inc.

George Washington’s Socks: Novel-Ties Study Guide


 

Book Review: Across the Alley by Richard Michelson

AR book level 4.0
AR points 0.5
Available at Amazon.comAcross the Alley

Across the Alley is a powerful picture book about what separates people: cultural and racial differences, not the small alley between their buildings.  Richard Michelson’s prose and E.B. Lewis’s illustrations meld into a lovely book that’s perfect for a readaloud and discussion.

The story takes place in New York City, where Abe and Willie live across the alley from each other.  Abe is Jewish and Willie is black.  During the day, they don’t talk.  But at night, they have a secret friendship across the alley.

The boys are hemmed in by their cultures, not only in their friendships but in their pursuits.  However, they find that Abe doesn’t really like playing violin—but Willie is a natural.  Likewise, with a little help from Willie, Abe soon outdoes the teacher when it comes to pitching.

Then one night, Abe’s grandfather catches them.  What will happen to their friendship Across the Alley?

*Spoiler alert: the boys inspire their families and everyone becomes friends in the light.

Across the Alley segues nicely into classroom discussions about a variety of topics:

  • One advantage of befriending people who are different from you is that you learn new things.  How does Across the Alley illustrate this point?
  • Young people have a way of crossing cultural divides, sometimes persuading their families to do so.  How do the young people in Across the Alley influence the old?
  • New York City life and the culture of Jewish and African-American people at the time of Across the Alley
  • Baseball: Negro LeaguesSatchel Paige and other players mentioned in the book
  • Jewish culture: learn about synagogues, such as the one where Willie gives a recital
  • Prejudices against both boys’ cultures: Abe faces anti-Semitism and Willie faces racism.  This isn’t shown in the book, but it was all but inescapable at the time.
Posted in Book Reviews,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ May 12, 2014

 

Free worksheets for the Tapestry series by Henry Neff

TheHoundOfRowanBring the fantasy series The Tapestry into the classroom with FREE worksheets written by a National Board Certified teacher.

Have you discovered The Tapestry series? It’s a richly imagined fantasy about a Chicago boy who stumbles upon a mysterious Celtic tapestry. His discovery leads him to Rowan Academy, a secret school where great things await him.

The Tapestry series stands out because of the beautiful writing and gorgeous illustrations. The illustrations are my favorite part. Author Henry Neff is a great artist, and it’s interesting to see the world so vividly illustrated by the person that created it.  Click here for a gallery of Henry Neff’s illustrations for Book One: The Hound of Rowan.

The Tapestry series is four books strong and growing, with Book Five set for release in 2015. I met author Henry Neff early on, when we presented together at the International Reading Association Annual Conference West. Henry presented his book; I presented worksheets and ideas for teaching The Tapestry in the classroom.

Books in The Tapestry series, all available at Amazon.com:
The Hound of Rowan: Book One of The Tapestry

The Second Siege: Book Two of The Tapestry

The Fiend and the Forge: Book Three of The Tapestry

The Maelstrom: Book Four of The Tapestry

The Red Winter: Book Five of The Tapestry

My worksheets:
What Do You See? In The Tapestry, Max saw a tapestry depicting the Cattle Raid of Cooley. He later learns that he may have abilities like those of Cuchulain, the Irish folk hero. What qualities link you to heroes of the past?

Vye Detector: In The Tapestry, Vyes are minions of The Enemy. It is important to be able to identify them:

“A vye is not a werewolf. The vye is larger, with a more distorted and hideous face—part wolf, part jackal, part human, with squinty eyes and a twisted snout. In human form, however, they can be most convincing….They are clever in their deceits and their voices are wound with spells to ensnare you.”

After a Vye attack at Rowan, students receive extra training in identifying and fighting Vyes. In the following scenarios, how would you identify and fight a Vye?

Create Your Own Charge: In The Tapestry, students are paired with mythical animals who will be their charges and companions for the rest of their lives. In the book, the animals choose the students. Max was chosen by Nick, the lymrill. It is difficult to describe a mythical animal—until you organize.

Workers for Rowan: Like any school, Rowan depends on workers to help the school run smoothly. The cooks are a reformed hag and ogre, and a leprechaun is the bathroom attendant.  The following creatures want to work at Rowan. Match the creatures with the best job for them.

Enjoy The Tapestry!


 

FREE worksheet about “If” by Rudyard Kipling

Here is a FREE worksheet written by a National Board Certified Teacher to help students comprehend “If” by Rudyard Kipling.  “If” is an inspirational poem that complements lessons on character.  It’s a perfect choice for National Poetry Month.bookonhead

My students and I love Rudyard Kipling’s “If.”  We read it every year, and I often print a special copy on decorated paper as an end-of-year gift.  The poem is best appreciated by just reading and discussing it, but a multiple-choice reading comprehension worksheet can’t hurt.

The questions help students interpret the poem and understand its theme and central ideas.  Still, it’s a tricky worksheet.  I like to read the poem with students, then let them try the worksheet.  That gives students a chance to show what they comprehended on their own.  Afterward, we can discuss the worksheet, share our favorite parts, and appreciate nuances like rhyme scheme, repetition, enjambment, etc.

Click here for the two-page pdf file.  Page one is the worksheet; page two is the poem.  That way, it’s easy to create a two-sided worksheet.

I know you and your students will like “If.”  I hope you also like the worksheet!

Answers: 1 a, 2 c, 3 b, 4 e, 5 e, 6 c

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Apr 21, 2014

 

Free Divergent Worksheet: Create Your Own Faction

DivergentEngage your students with a FREE Divergent worksheet written by a National Board Certified Teacher.

Students love Divergent, with good reason.  It speaks to the clique-plagued teenage experience.  It shows students a way out of the conformity while acknowledging that individuality has a price.

Challenge your students to create their own faction within the Divergent  universe.  This worksheet walks students through the process, allowing them to think deeply about their faction.  The questions serve as a window into an author’s prewriting process.  Students can imagine author Veronica Roth pondering these possibilities as she crafted her story.

The printable pdf worksheet poses eight questions that should take students a class period to answer.  You can extend the assignment by asking students to write an essay, advertisement, brochure, or editorial about their faction.  Creative students might want to try their hand at fan fiction, describing an initiate’s experience of joining the faction.

  1. Faction emphasis: which virtue or value will your faction emphasize?  Brainstorm, then choose.
  2. Faction name: use a thesaurus to give your faction a distinctive name.  For example, Dauntless sounds much better than Brave and Abnegation sounds better than Selfless.
  3. Contribution to society: what role does your faction fill?  What are its responsibilities?
  4. Faction manifest: describe your faction’s mission and vision.
  5. Overkill: what is the downside of the faction’s emphasis on one value?  What does the faction lose by emphasizing one virtue?
  6. Aptitude test: what challenge would identify people who are well-suited to your faction?
  7. Initiation: what is your faction’s rite of passage?
  8. Wardrobe: how do people in your faction dress?  What accessories do they choose?
Posted in FREE Worksheets,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Apr 14, 2014

 

Memorize poetry and learn vocabulary: “There is no frigate like a book” by Emily Dickinson

argenrechallengeStudents learn a great deal from memorizing poetry.  Repeated readings build fluency, familiarity with vocabulary, and appreciation of language.  The act of memorizing helps students learn how to teach themselves.  Memorizing poetry is a great activity for National Poetry Month.

“There is no frigate like a book” by Emily Dickinson is a great poem for your class to memorize.  The poem sets the tone for a language arts class because of its theme of “reading takes us places.”  The structure and rhythm of the poem are very much like a nursery rhyme, but with more sophistication.  The poem has some challenging vocabulary, but students can handle it.

I got the idea for memorizing this particular poem from my younger sister’s AP English teacher, Tom Meschery.  Fun fact: he was the first Russian to play in the NBA.  Seriously!  He played in the NBA, and was a rookie teammate of Wilt Chamberlain’s during the game in which he scored 100 points. Mr. Meschery, besides being an inspiring English teacher and NBA player, is also a poet.  What a guy!  Click here to read an article about Tom Meschery.  His most recent book of poetry is Some Men.  His book of basketball poetry is Over the rim.

Mr. Meschery challenged his AP English classes to memorize “There is no frigate like a book.”   Every student did.  You can imagine how grown-up my third graders felt when I told them that memorizing the poem was a high school assignment, but I felt they could handle it.  A bribe of candy when they completed the task and bam!  Every third grader learned it.

Below is the poem with vocabulary words at the end.  Click here for a printable pdf of the poem with vocabulary.  I formatted it to fit on half a sheet of paper so you can conserve resources.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry –

This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
–Emily Dickinson

Vocabulary:
frigate: a fast and heavily armed naval vessel of the late 18th and early 19th centuries
courser: a swift and strong horse, frequently used during the Middle Ages as a warhorse
prance: to spring from the hind legs, to move by springing, like a horse
traverse: the act of passing through, or a crossing
oppress: to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints
toll: a payment or fee charged for some right or privilege, as for passage along a road or over a bridge
frugal: not wasteful, economical, inexpensive
chariot: a type of carriage (as in horse and carriage)
bear: to hold up or support

Posted in Fun With Literacy,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Apr 7, 2014

 

The Dave Barry Essay Challenge: Talk Like a Pirate Day

MuppetTreasureIslandChallenge your students to write a humorous newspaper column using only the facts Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry had at his disposal when he wrote the column that made Talk Like a Pirate Day an international phenomenon. (Or at least an awesome tradition in Miss Green’s class!)

I got the idea for this lesson after reading the incredibly basic website that explains International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a “holiday” created by two friends, John Baur and Mark Summers.  They sent their facts to humorist Dave Barry, hoping he would help promote the holiday.  Did he ever!

It’s remarkable what Dave did with such simple facts.  He created a truly memorable column.  This lesson could run for a week or so because you need to develop students’ knowledge of Dave Barry, teach them about Talk Like a Pirate Day, give them time to write, and then let them compare their essays to the master’s.  I highly recommend that you celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day at the end of the unit!

The official Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19, Mark’s ex-wife’s birthday.  I like to have my class’s Pirate Day at the very end of the school year, well after standardized testing.  The second-to-last day of school is my favorite time to do this.  (It’s a full day; the last day is a half day with unpredictable attendance.)

Talk Like a Pirate Day Unit Plan

1)      Learn about Dave Barry.  He is a columnist for the Miami Herald who now writes adult novels and children’s books, most notably Peter and the Starcatchers with Ridley Pearson.  I recommend that you read aloud from vintage columns on his website.  Or, take your class to the computer lab and let them peruse the site.  (Depends on the age level you teach.)

2)      Learn about Talk Like a Pirate Day.  You can read aloud from the website, let them peruse it themselves, give them my Factsheet, or make students take notes like real reporters.

3)      Write a humorous essay/column about Talk Like a Pirate Day.

4)      Finish writing, turn in the essays, read Dave Barry’s column aloud.  Note: the dialogue at the end is a little edgy, so I have given you two versions: original and abridged.  Use your judgment on which to choose.  (I’d use the without-dialogue version myself.)

5)      Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Printable pdf Resources:

Ideas for Talk Like a Pirate Day activities:

  • Talk Like a Pirate!  Teach pirate vocabulary
  • Pirate ships: make ships out of aluminum foil.  The ship that holds the most treasure without sinking wins!
  • Pin the patch on the pirate
  • Pirate word search, crossword puzzle, Mad Libs, etc.
  • Pirate movie: Muppet Treasure Island, perhaps?
  • Pirate math: write fun word problems for classmates to solve
  • Pirate stories: write fun mini-stories about pirates
  • Visit the Pirates in the Classroom section of the Talk Like a Pirate Day website for more ideas

Arrr!  Have a great time, mateys!

Posted in Academics,Fun With Literacy,Tips for Teachers,Writing by Corey Green @ Feb 27, 2014

 

Choose Your Own Adventure Books in the Classroom

CYOA_JourneyUndertheSea_medium Kids love Choose Your Own Adventure books!  (CYOA for short.)  The books are fun for everyone, but they are magic for reluctant readers.  Here are some tips for using the books in your classroom.

Buy Choose Your Own Adventure books for all reading levels.  Classics are appropriate for students in grades 4 and up—provided those students read at grade level.  Remind your students that CYOA books look longer than they are, because you don’t read the whole thing.  Just know that the favorites from the 80s are not super easy.  Were kids better readers back then?

Check out the CYOA Dragonlarks series for younger readers.  These books are good for all students in grades 3 and up.  The print is bigger, there are illustrations—these books just look easier.  Everyone in an elementary class can enjoy these, although the truly struggling readers will need a buddy.

Make Choose Your Own Adventure a celebration!  Have class events to promote these books. Some ideas:

Set aside time for groups of 2-4 students to buddy read the books.  You’ll need space for everyone to read aloud, yet not be disturbed by nearby readers.  Your best behaved students might be able to form a group in the hall, freeing up space inside the classroom.

Use the books as readalouds.  This works well if you only have a few titles.  You can read, then let the class vote on what to do next.  This will hook students on the books, and then they can read on their own.

Create CYOA literature circles.  If you have multiple copies of a book, have students read independently, then meet as a group to discuss.  They can talk about different options, analyze character, and create a fun advertisement for the book to interest their classmates in reading it.

Write your own CYOA stories. this is a good challenge project for Gifted students and other high achievers.  Explain that students will want to map out their plot—that’s the easiest way to create the CYOA structure.  Then, they can write the pages for each section.

Click here to visit the Choose Your Own Adventure site.  You can read about the books, order individual titles or small group sets, and learn more about the renaissance of this fun series.  Click here for CYOA teacher’s guides.

Happy adventuring!  Choose wisely.

Posted in Book Reviews,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Nov 1, 2013