Book Whisperer: EOY Evaluations

I'd never thought about having my third graders complete an end-of-year evaluation before. So, I played around a little with Donalyn's form and came up with this freebie. Part of our 7 Habits focus includes data collection and student reflection. I think this would be a great addition to my EOY data, and would help me to reflect on my teaching as well.

Let me know what you think, or if you see any mistakes... I'm a little tired tonight! :)

EOY Reading Survey


I'm a big believer in keeping things simple.

I'm also a big fan of Rafe Esquith and his classroom.

If you haven't read this book, go get it. Now.
So, I made a poster for my rules. I stole them from Rafe.

Rules Poster

So, here's to a new school year.

Be kind. Work hard. Everything else just falls in between the two.

Book Whisperer - Chapters 5 and 6

In the "tornado" that has been my life since we came home from the beach, I have completely neglected my blog. I missed it. Seriously. I even stayed up until @ 1:00 a.m. so I could finish Chapter 6 and play "catch-up."

After reading Chapter 5, I have decided a couple of "truths" for myself. I may ruffle some feathers by saying this, but remember I included two very important words: for myself.

Personal Truth #1:

If you do not love reading and are not enthusiastic about it, I'm not sure teaching children to read is right for you. "I am not mandating an activity for them that I do not engage in myself... I want them to remember me as a reader." How are you going to inspire a love of reading? Why would you choose teaching? I'm sure I am preaching to the choir here, but I shudder at the thought of a "mechanical" reading teacher for children of any age.  After all -  "readers are made, not born."

Personal Truth #2:

We all need a reading improvement plan. I need to share more of my childhood experiences as a reader with my students. I need to read more children's literature. I need to ask my students for suggestions in order to connect with them as readers. I need to share my struggles with my students - when I'm laboring through a book, when I find words I don't know and when I completely abandon a book. I also need to do a better job of modeling my struggles with my own texts instead of trying to convince them that I struggle with third-grade materials.  I need to "wear my love of reading proudly in front of (my) students every day."

Chapter 6 had me a little less fired up, but it still left me questioning a lot about my own reading teaching and practices.

Every year after testing while we are waiting to find out which students failed and need to retake the Reading  portion of the test, we have this horrible intermittent period of time known as "remediation." Remediation  consists of putting all of the children I fear may not have passed the test into one group and all of children I feel did well enough to pass into another group. (Note: This is not my idea.) The Scary Group gets three hours of intestive reading (read: test prep) instruction while the Not-So-Scary Group gets three hours of math instruction. That's right. I have one hour with my more capable readers. For the last two years, I've done a Charlotte's Web unit.

Now, I do use a shared reading approach to this where students all have their own copy as we read a chapter or two a day. But what Donalyn wrote about these class novel units struck a nerve with me. It always seems to move painfully slow, and by the end of the unit this year I was sick of it. Can you imagine being sick of one of your all-time favorite books? It was terrible! I've already decided to "repent"  and make it a regular read-aloud next year. I can still do some of the fun arsty-fartsy stuff with the kids, but I can see how I am losing precious minutes of reading time. Especially when I only have an hour with one of my groups.

I am curious to see how everyone else feels about reading logs after reading Chapter 6. After reading Donalyn's thoughts about them, I'm really struggling with whether or not  to continue using them. I change the way my kids respond every 9 weeks. I'll share them with you today. I know I'm going to take out the "parent signature" requirement part of them, but I still want to see my kids responding to what they read at night. I'm only asking for a sentence or two at most. My teaching partner and I are using Homework-opoly next year, so there will still be accountability for homework. I'm just not sure if reading logs will be a part of it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts! If you've read through all of my rants, you deserve these freebies! HA! ;-)

Reading Log 1.0

Reading Log 2.0

Reading Log 3.5 Common Font

Reading Log 4.0

You're the WEE-NERS! :-)

I was so excited to get up this morning and blog about the giveaway! I used to find a random number generator.

Here are the winners!

Winner #1 (Comment #15) is...

Email me using the Contact button so I know where to send your Amazon card!

Winner #2 (Comment #7) is...

Please let me know which item you'd like from my TpT store!

AND, just because I'm a nice girl - HA! - I'm sharing this bonus with everyone....

Scavenger Book Hunt


It ends tonight at midnight!

I'll use a random number generator to choose 

1st Prize - $25 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize - Any item from my TpT store

Click the giveaway picture to enter!


The Book Whisperer: Reader's Notebooks

I have used Reader's Notebooks since my first year of teaching. It's a part of our Reader's Workshop model and often an integral part of my mini-lessons. Every year I "tweak" and revise what goes in them, but I never ask my students to do anything in their notebooks that I haven't modeled extensively for them and with them.

I don't have the students write letters, but I do ask them to try out various responses with the books they read independently or during our guided reading time. I keep a crate of blank response pages near our mini-lesson area so students can choose how they are responding to their books. I only ask that they use 2 different responses each week. Sometimes I print out a key page from a flipchart (ActivBoard) or I'll make a copy of my modeled response for them to paste in their journals as a reference. My kiddos know to bring their notebooks to guided reading and reading conferences. I use their responses (after much modeling and practice) to assess their understanding of a particular reading skill or concept. They make frequent appearances during parent conferences and RTI meetings. There is so much we can learn about our students through these notebooks. I cannot encourage you enough to incorporate these into your room if you aren't doing so already.

One of the things I do at the beginning of the year is to reserve the first 5 pages for our "Table of Contents." I teach the students to number their pages and record their entries in the Table of Contents. This makes it easier (for both of us) to find specific entries for assessment and conferring purposes.

I'm including my Table of Contents today. When I have access to my school computer, I'll upload my first set of responses as well.

Happy Reading!

Table of Contents - Reading Journal


"My Teacher Says" Linky Party

 The fabulous Christina Bainbridge is having the best linky party! I love hearing my kids start to repeat these as the year goes on. And, I have a "Carolina" accent... which makes it even better. ;-) Here are a few of my favorites...

This starts on Day One.  It's also something my mother said when we were growing up. Frequently.

These next two quotes always get a giggle out of the kids when we really need some comic relief!

If you say these in a veryseriousvoice, you get a giggle AND it discourages the bad behavior. :) 

Last, but not least...

I didn't realize how much I said this until I was reading my kids end-of-the-year writing prompts. One of my girls was writing a "scary" narrative and her main character said, "You scared the pejeesus out of me Mom!" I was  SUPER excited that she used quotation marks correctly and I laughed for 5 minutes over the way she used "pejeesus." :-)

I hope you'll join this linky party! It's fun to read the things we all say!

Don't forget to enter!


Book Whisperer: Chapter 4

I had so many "a-ha!" moments and connections with this chapter, it was impossible to keep track of them all. :-)

I will be entering my 10th year of teaching in August. 10 years of Reader's Workshop. 10 Years of trying to convince children to love reading as much as I do. 10 years of waiting for Donalyn Miller to write a book so I can stop banging my head against a wall. :-) Seriously.

My students have always enjoyed listening to me read. I purposefully choose books I know will be exciting, suspenseful, thought-provoking or funny. I still have plenty of kids each year who "pretend-read,"sleep or misbehave their way through our Reader's Workshop. I think I definitely discovered part of my problem this week: leveled readers.

I'm sure this will cause a few gasps and hopefully a good debate too, but I don't think I'm going to be quite as strict about the kids reading books on their level. (Can you hear the doom and gloom that goes along with that phrase??) I want them to use strategies (5 finger rule, read the first chapter, etc.) to determine if a book is just right for them or not. I don't want their identity as a reader to be all wrapped up in a letter from the alphabet. If they are using their strategies and I am holding them accountable by conferencing with them consistently, then they should be sticking fairly close to their level in their book choices anyway.

I also want to have more meaningful discussions about genre. We have our 9 weeks laid out in a curriculum map already. Do you know how much time we have for genre? One week, cupcakes. I'm thinking I'm going to have to find extra ways to talk about genre - don't you agree?

I found myself nodding my head in agreement when Donalyn mentioned readers who choose "low-brow" texts at first (Captain Underpants, anyone? Goosebumps?). I will admit it. I am a book snob. I am also a hypocrite. I go home and read the very James Patterson thrillers she mentioned!!!! HA! So, guess what else I'm going to do? You got it - add a Captain Underpants and Goosebumps basket to my library. I have to meet those readers somewhere, right?

What are your thoughts? I'm really interested to hear about how you feel about leveled readers in regards to the freedom our kids need to choose their books. How long do you spend teaching genre initially? Do you have any suggestions as to how I can stretch it out without taking away from the other standards I need to teach? I love that I have a new community of teacher peeps I can come to!

PS - Don't forget to enter!


Giveaway Goodness

I love it when I get compliments on my blog, but I can't take credit for it.

Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Resources is responsible for this cuteness. :-) It gets better. She is having a giveaway to celebrate 1000+ followers. Do you know what she is giving away????

Gorgeous. Blog. Goodness.


Hurry over and enter.

And while you're at it, enter mine too! (Click on the image below and leave a comment for each entry. Only comments on the giveaway entry will count!)


Blog Mixer!

Yearn to Learn is hosting a Blog Mixer! This is such a fun idea, and a good way to check out new blogs!!

Here are my "finds" -

1.  A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog": 3rd Grade's a Hoot!
Ms. Durbin isn't new to teaching, but she is new to 3rd grade... and she gave me a shout out!

3rd Grade's a Hoot

2.  Post a blogger in your same grade level: One Extra Degree
 One of my favorites! Amanda has great freebies - you should check her out!

3.  Post a blogger in a different grade level:A Place to Share
Speaking of awesome freebies, you HAVE to check this out. :-)

4.  It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.
 I love this one. And this blog.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! A $25 gift card to Amazon and a free TpT unit are up for grabs!

Happy Blogging!


Classroom Shopping Linky Party

I know I'm a little behind on this one, but I had a lot of stuff to get out of the car!! :)

1. Big Lots - I L.O.V.E. Big Lots. All of my classroom library baskets came from there. I saw they had them again this year, and grabbed about 15 more. You know. Because I "needed" them.

2. Target $ Spot - pencil buckets for the tables, birthday stickers and guided reading word work boards

3. Office Max - Our school system has a program that allows us to get their prices for anything we buy at Office Max. I bought contact paper, printer ink, labels for notebooks and library books, and cardstock for $42.00. My original total was $100... I thought my sweet boy was going to have a stroke. I used the card and viola! Still married! ;-)

I still need to make a run to Ikea and WalMart. I am looking for stools to go under my guided reading table and computer tables instead of chairs. I want them to look like this:

$5.99 @ Ikea
Does anybody else use stools? Any suggestions?? :-)  Don't forget about...

Click to enter

Happy Wednesday!


Giveaway! (Updated!)

To celebrate 50+ followers and a fun-filled month, I have surprises for...

I have a $25 Amazon gift card for one lucky winner!

And, I will also give away one of my TpT units to a second winner. 

Each time you enter, please leave a separate comment. 

There are lots of ways to enter:

1. Become a follower!
2. Blog about my giveaway!
3. Grab my button and put it on your blog!
4. Follow my TpT store!
5. Visit my TpT store and tell me which unit you'd like to win! (The button is on the right hand side.)
6. Follow me on Twitter!
7. "Like" my Third Grade Bookworm Facebook page!

The giveaway will close July 23rd. Only comments attached to this post will qualify for the giveaway. I'm keeping this open for an extra bit since my sweet boy and I are headed to the beach on Saturday for a week to celebrate his new job. :) 

Good Luck!


Back in Business!

I am back from the beach - a fun filled weekend with friends from work - and grinning from ear to ear. While I was away, my sweet boy landed a fabulous new job. It doesn't require moving, and it is a HUGE step in the right direction for us. We are beyond excited.

I promise to blog about the giveaway tomorrow. Tonight, I am celebrating with my sweet boy!



This has been such a fun week!

50+ followers, my Blogger in draft is finally working, I got a new computer (thanks to my school system) and an impromptu trip to the beach! Well, the beach trip is almost underway. Only 3,000 more loads of laundry and I can pack.

(Do you hate laundry as much as I do in the summer? Blech.)

I'm linking up tonight with Runde's Room to talk about my FaVoRiTe BoOkS! :) Yay!!

Childhood Favorites:

I think my parents read this about 1,000,000 times.

Anything Ramona...

You know you're *old* if your copy looked like mine! :)

and my absolute favorite...

I could read this 1,000,000 times.

Classroom Favorites:

It should probably go without saying that Charlotte's Web is one my favorites here as well. I'd also have to add to the list:


The kids and I both cry.

Professional Favorites:

After this summer's book club, you know this is going on the list...

Next up...


A fantastic Writer's Workshop resource

I don't have any kids yet, so I'm going to "skip" that section. :) I do, however, have a few guilty-pleasure favorites!

Any kind of mystery/thriller book is awesome, but especially these two authors:

Love this guy!

Him too! :)
I hope you'll go to Runde's Room and link up. I love finding new reads - especially this time of year!!

PS - I'm pretty sure when I come back from the beach I'm going to do something that sounds like "shmive-away." And I'm pretty sure you're going to like it!! Get ready!!!


Book Whisperer, Chapter 3: Reading Surveys

Chapter 3 is where I had my first big "AHA!" moment.

I've never cared where my kiddos read in our room. If you walked in during our Reader's Workshop, you'd probably see children laying on the carpet, sitting under tables or scrunched up in one of our library chairs. I also don't mind a "buzz" of noise. Not every child can read "in their head." Many of my developing readers need to read aloud in order to work on their accuracy and expression. (Do you agree?)

My moment of clarity came when I read about Donalyn surveying her students to better support their reading choices and conferring time together. In order to build meaningful reading relationships with my kids, I needed to know what they liked... right away!!

I liked her survey, but knew I needed to come up with something better suited to 3rd grade. I originally had this in my TpT store for a whole dollar, but in the spirit of our TBA Book Club, I've made it FREE! :) All I ask is that you rate it so I can get my little TpT store off the ground! Again, if you see anything I need to change or fix, please let me know!

3rd Grade Reading Survey


My Name is Abby, and I Have a Font Problem

Thank goodness there's help. For finding more. :)

(If anyone from my school is reading this, I know you are laughing. At me.)

Jenn over at Finally in First is having a Favorite Fonts Linky Party! I have found at least 3 new fonts to download already!!

In the meantime, here are my favorites!

I don't remember where I found these, but I know you can find Tinker Toy and Chinacat at fontspace.

Happy Linking!



I woke up this morning to find that my permissions had been changed in regards to who can read my blog! I just wanted to take a minute and apologize to any of you who may have gotten that awful message:
"You do not have permission to read this blog."
How horrible is that?! :) Anyhoo, I'll be back later today with another freebie post, so stay tuned!