Monday, July 16, 2012

What does Summer Reading look like? 3 new ways to experience literature.

Judging by the entries to our annual photo contest, we tend to view summer reading as always involving a book with pages, being read while we lay out in the sun, or in a hammock, or in a tree house (or on a camel or other weird place!).

I was chatting with our Grade 5 students towards the end of the year about 3 ways you can do some summer reading. Personally, I love to cuddle up with a real book. I like the feeling of turning a page, using a bookmark and seeing how big of a chunk of pages I am able to read in a sitting. This, however, is not the only way to read a book. One of my reading goals for the summer is to listen to an audiobook, read some books online with Hunter, and borrow some new library books on my Kindle.

1. E-Reader - if you have a Kindle, Kobo or iPad, you can pack thousands of books into one small device. What I love about my Kindle is that I can sample the first few chapters of a book for free before I decide to buy it. It's great for taking on vacation, and when reading a series, it's nice to jump right into the next book immediately without needing a trip to the bookstore! You can borrow books from the Public Library on your E-Reader too. All you need is to visit the Overdrive or Freading pages and download the software required.

2. Audiobooks - Perhaps one of the kids in this picture could have their earphones in, listening to a great narrator read an audiobook. They could be following along in a print copy too. Audiobooks are great for long car rides, or even as a regular feature on a long commute. There are many ways to get audiobooks. You can borrow them from the public library (CD + print copy) for many picture books and beginning novels, or you can use the Overdrive software to borrow them online.

3. Online Reading - There are some great websites out there which make picking up a book as easy as a quick click. Here are a few of my top picks

Tumblebooks (access via Calgary Public Library) - is a huge collection of online books that you can view on your laptop or iPad (search iPad for compatible titles). I especially love watching and listening to the Robert Munsch books because he does the narrating. There are many wonderful story books and non-fiction books to choose from. It would take you all summer to discover them all! A great choice for emerging readers.

BookFlix (access via Alberta Education Online Reference Centre) - 

StorylineOnline - you can listen to celebrities read a small selection of classic and modern picture books here. We love Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog!

What is your favourite way to read in the summer?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Student Book Review: Benjamin reviews The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

I was so pleased when I opened my email and found a student review in there, especially from Benjamin, one of my most voracious readers heading into Grade 6 this year. He's discovered the Warrior Heir Series by Cinda Williams Chima, and I have a feeling he will devour the whole series before the summer is over.

Summer is a great time to get lost in a series. If you are headed to Grade 6 next year, or middle school, you might enjoy this book! If you are interested in reading the first chapter, you can do so on Cinda Chima's website.

Thank you again Ben for sending in the review and enjoy your summer. If you have a review of a book you have read this summer, please send it along to!

Benjamin says: 

"The Warrior Heir is an awesome  fantasy novel with lots of excitement. It is the first in the Warrior Heir Trilogy. It has an interesting surprise at the end and will make you want to keep reading. It's well-written and has a great plot. It's an amazing book. 

The main character Jack is living an ordinary life in the small town of Trinity, Ohio but one day he discovers that he is part of a society of magical people living among us called the Wierlind. And he isn't an ordinary member of the Wierlind but a warrior and one of the last of his kind. 

The two feuding houses, the red and white rose, control the Wierlind and they both sponsor a warrior to participate in a fight to the death called the game to determine their power. Jack is a warrior and both houses are looking for a player. Read the Warrior Heir to find out if Jack can survive the game."