Saturday, November 7, 2015

Celebrating Read Alouds!

Thank you to Ruth Ayres for the opportunity to focus on celebrations every week! 
Please join us!

We are reading aloud Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. If you don't know this book, get it...get it NOW.  It's about a sixth grade girl named Ally who struggles with school. Every word rings true!

Read alouds are one of my favorite things about teaching. Sharing good books with students is powerful...but it's more than that. This book, this story, is helping our classroom become a community. As we share the struggles and successes of Ally and Albert and Keisha, we think about our own struggles and successes.

Yesterday we read a chapter called, Misfit Lunch. We watched the video from the Rudolph Christmas special, Island of the Misfit toys.

We talked about negative and positive connotations of the word misfit. I shared how I felt (and feel) like a misfit and I love it! In one class, students shared their own misfit stories. The vulnerability they showed by sharing their own struggles brings us closer together. I beam with pride when I think about how brave they are to share these stories and how kind their classmates are when hearing and responding.

One student identifies closely with Albert. I've watched him come alive when I read the parts when Albert is present. Students who struggle with reading feel like they've found a kindred spirit in Ally. 

They are rooting for her to succeed!

This is what I want people to know about "kids today". They are kind and empathetic. They are thoughtful and creative. All they need is a safe place to take a risk and to be themselves... it's really what we all need. A world where we can be authentically ourselves and loved because of it.

If you are looking for a good book, please take some time to read Fish in a Tree. Lynda Mullaly Hunt weaves together a story that has touched our hearts. As classes ended yesterday, I heard, "Pleeeeaaasssseee!!!! One more chapter!!!!" Music to my ears.

I celebrate good books.
I celebrate sharing good books.
I celebrate reading good books together.

Here is some of our thinking about the book. Students jot or sketch as I read aloud and here are some I'd like to share...


  1. Did I know you were doing the GRA, too? Why aren't you on our Voxer chat? Our students have been connecting with blogging and padlet. This week my kids wrote about their super powers and their kryptonite. I made a padlet for Fib poems about characters.
    This week we Voxed about what we can learn from Albert, a question LM Hunt asked on her video about Ch. 17.
    I love how your students are gathering their thoughts with drawing. One of students is doing this because it's natural to her. Others are not so drawn to using art to express themselves. Do you ask all your students to draw?
    I totally agree that reading together can make a class a community. I also believe in the true nature of children to be kind.
    Finally, will I see you at NCTE? Why do I feel out of touch?

  2. Love seeing the doodles while you read, Michelle. My students did that too. I think it helped them focus more on the reading. Fish In A Tree truly is a blessing for everyone. To hear that there are all kinds of students with all kinds of differences is just wonderful. I love that one student that wrote: I believe the things we put numbers on are not the things that count most." Hurrah for him, and for you!

  3. What amazing student reflections! We're on chapter 23 and loving it. I have a student who told me he wonders about similar things as Albert does (fly on train)! Love it. What if you join in our Voxer group?!

  4. Love the notebook pages. When I read the book this summer, I also thought I'd show the scene from Rudolph! Great minds! You are reminding me I need to start this read-aloud. I just finished My Name is Maria Isabel so I think I can start it this week! Thanks for the reminder of this powerful book!!

  5. Your post makes me wish we had Fish in a Tree on our Mock Newbery list. I picked up a copy at NCTE and read it on the flight home. I'm keeping it on our list of other books that may win the Newbery. I love seeing the student sketches in their notebooks. I do miss reading aloud and the sense of community it creates. I wonder if we should read aloud in our after school book club

  6. Read alouds are such a wonderful experience for teacher and students. Fish in a Tree is a perfect one too.

  7. I loved this book and your sketches. It is amazing how much kids can take from drawing instead of just writing. I am always for the "underdog" and the misfit part of Rudolph always makes me feel said...until Santa picks them of course. Great celebrations.


Please share your thoughts. I love comments!