If you believe that every child should be a lifelong reader, you are an advocate of literacy. The Greater Paradise Valley Reading Council, an affiliate of the Arizona Reading Association (ARA) and the International Reading Association (IRA), needs your support through membership.
For over twenty years, the Greater Paradise Valley Reading Council (GPVRC)
has supported literacy activities locally and around the world. Your membership in this professional organization is vital if we are to continue this work. Please consider joining the GPVRC as an active member or as a literacy advocate. Either way your membership dues support education, service and advocacy including...
ü GPVRC professional development seminars (Sept through May) and online Teachers as Readers discussion groups
ü Community service projects –
the Lake Titicaca Literacy Project, founded by Barbara Gowan - GPVRC officer, builds libraries on Amantani Island and provides an IRA membership to a Peruvian educator while the Pajama Program provides books and new pjs to homeless children in the valley
Professional growth opportunities at literacy events throughout Arizona including the ARA Institute on November 3, 2012 featuring Ralph Fletcher and “Writing Strategies that Work”
ü Opportunities for scholarships and grants including the $1000 Graduate School program from ARA and $300 Teacher Literacy Grants provided by the Phoenix West Reading Council
ü Networking with literacy professionals at events and on the Greater Paradise Valley Reading Council facebook page
ü Sharing your voice in advocacy and legislation that affects literacy
ü GPVRC membership enrolls you in the Arizona Reading Assn. and you will receive the Arizona Reading Journal providing the latest information about literacy education
___ $30 annual dues – ACTIVE MEMBER
___ $30 – LITERACY ADVOCATE MEMBER
___ $15 – RETIRED OR STUDENT MEMBER
___ Yes, I’d like to donate $5 to the Lake Titicaca Literacy Project
CITY, STATE, ZIP:
HOME PHONE: EMAIL:
Make check payable to Greater Paradise Valley Reading Council
MAIL TO: GPVRC c/o Sigrid Kuster, 6134 E. Calle del Paisano, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
The young authors in the 4th grade at Annunciation Catholic School in Cave Creek, AZ are approaching the final stretch of creating their classroom alphabet book. Following the writing process that I used to create my alphabet books, these students began the project with brainstorming or
selecting a topic about Arizona for each letter in the alphabet from Ancient People to Zane Grey along with Desert Tortoise, Four Corners, Barry Goldwater, Valentine's Day and more. Then it was on to research and collecting information by being detectives searching for answers to their specific questions.
I loaned the class books about Arizona's history, geography, people and natural history.
Students are encouraged to look first in the books and follow it up at trusted sites on the internet. Some are interviewing experts, watching movies and even visiting a plant nursery for a closeup look at a yucca.
To help the students think more creatively about their writing (and to not be tempted to erase), thin-point markers and oversized white paper is used for the rough draft. Four specific strategies for topic sentences were taught and used as hooks to get the reader to want to read more.
Lessons on writing with sensory details and wiping out wimpy words and writing with wow words help the young authors write so the reader feels like they are at the scene of the action. And of course, after the sloppy copy or rough draft comes re-writing, re-writing and revising.
Once the manuscript is complete, students will participate in peer editing. Then it's on to illustrating or showcasing their topic in bright colors. Publishing will occur at a local copy store. This workshop started in mid-February followed by four more visits.
We concluded with a Celebrate Writing party where the children received their books.
The classroom was buzzing with excitement as I walked in with the published book. I shared positive comments about each person's writing - from their choice of "wow words" to their clear, concise explanations of science concepts to their use of sensory descriptions to their interesting biographical research to their power-punched ending sentences. Everyone was very proud of their book.
It was difficult to single out one writer for the Awesome Writer Award.
Emily's page - H is for Havasupai - was filled with sensory detail. Here's an excerpt - "Just imagine waking up in the morning and feeling the refreshing spray of the falls and catching the fragrance of the cool, crisp air evaporating from them. You can hear the rushing water plunging into the turquoise pools."
You feel like you've witnessed the gunfight at the OK Corral when you read Zack's words -
"Boom! Another cowboy drops, Frank McLaury dead from a stomach wound from Wyatt Earp's gun...
Tom McLaury dead from a blast of Holliday's shotgun...
Billy Clanton dying from a shot in the chest...
Morgan Earp hit in the shoulder and Virgin Earp and Dog Holliday wounded, and Wyatt Earp left untouched.
The fight lasted about 30 seconds on a Wednesday afternoon, October 26, 1881."
Anna and Erin worked together on Z is for Zane Grey and their first sentence sounds like the setting in one of Grey's famous Western novels - "A golden sun disappears behind the jagged Sonoran Desert peaks as a lone cowboy on his wild mustang gallops across the sand."
Some letters are more challenging than others. Hadley wrote Q is for Queen Butterfly. "Who do
you think the Queen Butterfly is named after? Alfred Meeks named the butterfly after Queen Elizabeth I because Elizabeth fought off all the men who wanted to marry her because she did not want to share her crown. The Queen butterfly is a fighter, too, and she fiercely fights off predators who want to eat her."
Alec used the topic sentence strategy of starting his writing with interesting information - "Sandra Day O'Connor made history in 1981 when Ronald Reagan appointed her as the first woman Supreme Court Justice."
William wanted his readers to feel like they were at the scene. Here's how he began his writing for P is for Petrified Forest - "Picture 750 million years ago, feel the humid and moist forest where dinosaurs as large as a school bus roamed. Now picture that the forest turned to stone. How did that happen?"
Erin had a power-packed ending to her writing about Padre Kino. "When he saw Bac for the first time with the delegation from Tucson, Padre Kino imagined a brilliant white church rising against the turquoise blue sky and the sandy, brown mountains and shining in the distance like a sparkling jewel on the desert floor. He built it as he imagined it. It is there still, shining in the desert."
Those were just a few examples. I could show each page and you'd see excellent writing.
I am so proud of these kids. They worked hard to create an awesome class alphabet book.
4th grade AUTHORS at Annunciation Catholic School in Cave Creek, AZ
If you are interested in the Build a Book Workshop for your students, check out the post on School Author Visits for Kids and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details. I am on the roster of teaching artists for the Arizona Commission on the Arts and you may be able to apply for a grant to help bring this program to your school.
The last meeting of the Greater Paradise Valley Reading Council was filled with fun AND food. Members were encouraged to bring a food item that corresponded to a children's book. Many had the name of the food in the title or as in Heidi, crusty white rolls played a memorable role in the story. Not only did we eat tamales, blueberries, popcorn and cookies (and more!), but a game of charades made everyone think about old favorites including 1946 Newbery award winner Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky (Caldecott Honor 1949) and Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola (Caldecott Honor 1976).
This idea would work well at a meeting of librarians, book clubs, children's book lovers, and in a college kidlit class. Have fun and enjoy the bibliography compiled by the Greater Paradise Valley Reading Council.
It's a start...which book would you add?
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Barney Bear’s Pizza Shop by Lawrence Di Fiori
Beans on Toast by Paul Dowling
Big Moon Tortilla by Joy Cowley
Black Potatoes – the Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by S.C. Bartoletti
Blueberries for Sal by R. McCloskey
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
Bread Bread Bread by Ann Morris
Burro’s Tortillas by Terri Fields
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds
Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Cookies: Bite-size Lessons by Amy Rosenthal
Corn is Maize by Aliki
Curious George Makes Pancakes by Margaret and H.A. Rey
Everybody Bakes Bread by Norah Dooley
Give Me My Yam! by Jan Blake
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Handa’s Surprise by Ellen Browne
Heidi Johanna Spiry
How My Family Lives in America by Susan Kuklin
How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world by Marjorie Priceman
How to Make a Cherry Pie and see the USA by Marjorie Priceman
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie de Paola
Lentil by R. McCloskey
Little Red Hen – traditional tale
My Mom Loves Me More than Sushi by Filomena Gomes
Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
Potluck by Ann Shelby
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
Scarlette Beane by Karen Wallace
Stone Soup by M. Brown
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food by Stan & Jan B.
The Carrot Seed by R. Knauss
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
The Gingerbread Man – traditional story
The Jellybeans & the Big Book Bonanza by Laura Numeroff
The Little Mouse, the Big Hungry Bear and the Red Ripe Strawberry by Audrey Wood
The Pie and the Patty Pan by Beatrix Potter
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willem
The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola
The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen
The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
Tortilla Factory by Gary Paulson
Where in the World is my Bagel? By Frances and Ginger Park
You're probably wondering what a children's author and a campaign to collect peanut butter have in common. Last month, the students at Kiva Elementary School in Paradise Valley, AZ voted on the conservation agency that would receive a donation from me as part of my Authors for Earth Day visit (see previous post).
They voted for Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (www.southwestwildlife.org), a wildlife rescue and rehab facility specializing in native mammals - fox, javelina, coyote, mountain lion and BEAR. While touring the rehab center, educator Kim Carr introduced me to Tahoe, Griz and Igasho, 3-year old youngsters, who stole my heart. (70% of the animals at the center are rehabilitated and released back into the wild but that can't happen with these black bears.)
In the wild, black bears search out roots, berries, insects, mice and other small mammals, fish, garbage and NUTS. Although they wouldn't find peanuts in Arizona, they do love their afternoon treat of peanut butter. Kim smears the peanut butter on the fence post and they lick away!
Not only do the bears enjoy their afternoon snack, the five bears (Cinnamon and Berry are adults) EACH eat a loaf of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner in addition to their other food.
That's a LOT of peanut butter!
You can help stock the pantry at Southwest Wildlife by collecting jars of peanut butter (they prefer the creamy style) and grape jelly and honey. It's a great service project for a classroom, club or school. Contact Kim (email@example.com) for information on delivery. You can easily bring the jars to the conservation center when you come for a visit to tour the facility or attend a program.
The bears may offer you a "high five" as a thank you for your help but don't smack back. Just look at those claws. They are capable of shredding tents, destroying coolers and tearing apart logs. During a recent educational program about the bears held at the center, they did just that!
You can learn more about the black bear, Ursus americanus, at the Arizona Game & Fish Department website - http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/game_bear.shtml
Check out these books produced in cooperation with the North American Bear Center and are particularly error free. Both are available in the online store at http://www.bear.org/website/books.html .
Bears For Kids (2007) by Jeff Fair was updated and republished in 2007 and is perhaps the most authoritative children's book on black bears. Photos and text emphasize northeastern Minnesota.
Discovering Black Bears (2007) by Margaret Anderson, Nancy Field, and Karen Stephenson.
Arizona celebrated its 100th anniversary of statehood on February 14, 2012 and it's an event that needs to be celebrated all year long. In case you missed the opportunity to attend my professional development seminars on reading AND writing your way through the centennial (sponsored by the Greater Paradise Valley & Phoenix West Reading Councils, Gardner's Book Service and ASU School of Education),
I've added the list of books presented at the end of this post.
Using my book, G is for Grand Canyon - an Arizona Alphabet, I selected additional books that complemented the topic for the different alphabet letters. As an example, in my book E is for the Early People so I offer Kokopelli's Flute by Will Hobbs and When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor as books that fit this topic. This hands-on workshop showcased books by using folders prepared for each title with the front and back cover of the book pasted on the front and back of the folder. Inside the folder could be a copy of the first page of the novel, interviews with the author, reviews and lesson plans for the book, etc. This idea comes from the expert on children's literature, Peggy Sharp. I just modified it a bit and the teachers loved it. It also makes it easier for me since I'm not lugging all the bulky chapter books to the workshop.
Paradise Valley Christian Prep teachers Marty Noland and Laura Wilkinson
at the workshop sponsored by the Phoenix West Reading Council
In addition to investigating Arizona-themed books, writing ideas were shown. How many words have AZ in them? Like amAZing, dAZzling, trailblAZer. Over 700 words have AZ in them. Using the word amAZing, teachers (and students) were encouraged to look through my books, G is for Grand Canyon and Desert Digits - an Arizona Number book for amAZing facts to share. My new board book, Little Arizona is a great writing model for rhyming riddles (see previous post).
Finally, alphabet books written by students using the writing process that I used to write my books as taught in the Build a Book Workshop (see previous post) were examined by the teachers. In fact, teacher Marty Noland commented that her students that participated in the Build a Book Workshop were recognized as the best writers in the school as they progressed through the grades
And now the booklist...
Note the icons refer to websites for lesson plans.
Enjoy! Remember that Gardner's Book Service, www.gbsbooks.com, has many of these books in stock and offers a discount to book lovers
Read your way to the Arizona centennial
A Boy Named Beckoning: The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma by Gina Capaldi
vArizona Way Out West & Wacky by Conrad Storad and Lynda Exley
Around One Cactus by Anthony D. Fredericks
Barry Goldwater by Marilyn Myrick Watson (also Raul Castro and Rose Mofford)
Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
Cactus Café: A Story of the Sonoran Desert by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson
Celebrate Arizona! by Joan Sandin
vCode Talker – a novel about the Navajo marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac
Condor Spirit of the Canyon by Robert Mesta
uCoyote School News by Joan Sandin
vDanger in the Desert by T.S. Fields
Desert Digits – an Arizona numbers book by Barbara Gowan
Desert Giant by Barbara Bash
uDesert is Theirs by Byrd Baylor
uDown the Colorado: John Wesley Powell, One Armed Explorer by Deborah Kogan Ray
Down the Great Unknown by Edward Dolnick
Downriver and its sequel River Thunder by Will Hobbs
G is for Grand Canyon – an Arizona alphabet by Barbara Gowan
Geronimo – a novel by Joseph Bruchac
uGoat in the Rug by Geraldine as told to Charles L. Blood and Martin Link
uGrand Canyon – Exploring a Natural Wonder by Wendell Minor
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
Here is the Southwestern Desert by Madeleine Dunphy
vHip, Hip, Hooray, It’s Monsoon Day!/Ajua, Ya Llego el Chubasco by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
Kokopelli’s Flute by Will Hobbs
Lazy B -Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest by Sandra Day 0'Connor, H A Day
Little Arizona by Barbara Gowan
Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons by Nancy Bo Flood
Saguaro Moon: A Desert Journal by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini
uSeed and the Giant Saguaro by Jennifer Ward
These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner also Sarah’s Quilt and The Star Garden
vuThree Little Javelinas/Los Tres Pequenos Jabalies by Susan Lowell
uUnbreakable Code by Sara Hoagland Hunter
Way Out in the Desert by Marsh, T.J. and Jennifer Ward
vWeedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor
uArizona Geographic Alliance Legacy Project
v OneBook AZ for Kids winners www.onebookaz.org/kids
This year, my Authors for Earth Day visit (see www.AuthorsforEarthDay.org) was to Kiva Elementary School in Paradise Valley, AZ. Known as the Kiva Cougars, it wasn't a surprise when the wildlife and rehab center specializing in native mammals, Southwest Wildlilfe Conservation Center (www.southwestwildlife.org), came out tops in the vote. Students researched and then voted for which conservation agency they wanted me to donate my author visit fee. The five agencies that I chose were - Phoenix Herpetological Society, Liberty Wildlife & Rehab Center (they received my donation previously), the Desert Awareness Committee, Southwest Wildlife and the Rio Salado Audubon Center. Every student vote counted and Southwest Wildlife garnered almost half of the school's votes.
I headed out to the conservation center located off of Dynamite Rd and 156 Street in north Scottsdale to meet educator Kim Carr...and some of the critters, too.
This desert tortoise was out for its first spring walk since spending the winter burrowed underground in its den.
Armed with bananas, mouse-sickles (yep, frozen white mice) and a jar of peanut butter, we were off to see if we could entice some of the critters to come out. These particular animals were formally people's pets (so sad!) and cannot be sent back to the wild. They are used for education programs. 70% of the animals rehabilitated at Southwest Wildlife are released back into their habitat.
A cousin to the raccoon, check out the coati's long nails and nose!
The javelina munched on bananas while the bobcat and Mexican gray wolf preferred mouse-sickles.
Southwest Wildlilfe is a vital partner in the recovery of the endangered Mexican gray wolf.
Did you know that a mountain lion doesn't roar but is a purring cat?
Next door to the mountain lion enclosure live the
And they are hungry for their afternoon snack of peanut butter.
Griz, Tahoe and Igasho, 3-year old youngsters, along with Cinnamon and Berry love peanut butter. They each eat a whole loaf of pb&j sandwiches every night as part of their dinner. You can help keep their pantry stocked by participating in Peanut Butter for the Bears. It's an idea that I came up with while watching these bears. Encourage your class, club or family to donate jars of peanut butter (they prefer creamy and like grape jelly and honey also) to Southwest Wildlife.
Contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on delivery. You could bring it on your visit to this amazing rehabilitation center. Check their website for information on tours, special events, and educational outreach programs. A special thanks to the Kiva Elementary students for voting on Southwest Wildlife to be the recipient of my Authors for Earth Day donation. I had a great visit to Kiva and to Southwest Wildlife.
To culminate the Earth Day celebration at Kiva Elementary School in Paradise Valley, AZ, I facilitated a family literacy night focusing on writing nature poetry. "Do not be afraid to touch the earth and let it touch you" has been my motto since high school and today's children rarely have the opportunity to get in touch with nature. (Read the national bestseller, Last Child in the Woods - Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv for more on that topic.) By bringing nature into the classroom, we can change that. So I brought the desert, ocean and forest to Kiva Elementary! Well sort of, I brought in desert plants, sea shells, pine cones, feathers, rocks and more, for the families to explore.
Kids of all ages (and the parents too) had fun.
To encourage sensory exploration, I picked herbs from my garden for all to smell. We had pizza (oregano), salsa (cilantro), lemon (lemon balm) and even chocolate (chocolate mint). And then we smelled rain...yes, crushing the leaves of the creosote bush makes you think of the desert after a shower.
Now it was time to translate this nature exploration into writing poetry. A large piece of paper was folded into thirds and then in half resulting in six areas. A picture of an eye, nose, hands, mouth and ear were drawn at the top of 5 areas. Families worked together writing sensory words trying to find words for each area. They were encouraged to use "just like" words. It feels just like...
They were busy building their word bank but an area was still blank.
A drawing of an eye behind a hand lens was added to their word bank sheet.
Everyone was given a hand lens with directions on how to use it properly - hold the lens close to your eye and bring the nature object into focus.
The room was abuzz with discovery.
More sensory words were added completing their word bank.
And now it was time to write the poem.
There are many different kinds (and shapes) of poems. I shared Jane Yolen's book, Shape Me a Rhyme - Nature's Forms in Poetry, as an example. Ours would be a 5-line poem (a modified cinquain, for you poetry buffs) filled with sensory descriptions.
First line - name the item but don't tell us what it is. Be tricky, a bit puzzling.
SQUIRREL FOOD is the example that I used.
Second line - describe it using sensory words from your word bank.
BROWN, EGG-SHAPED HOLDER OF TINY SEEDS is my example.
Third line - more description. Paint a picture with your words.
STIFF, STICKY PETALS GO ROUND AND ROUND
4th line - Write a statement using the word "I" showing how you relate to that object or how you feel about it.
I LIKE TO SIT IN THE COOL SHADE OF THE FOREST.
5th line - Name the object. Tell us what it is!
Here's the poem model that we used.
Brown, egg-shaped holder of tiny seeds.
Stiff, sticky petals go round and round.
I like to sit in the cool shade of the forest.
Sharing time was great fun as families took to the stage and read their poems to the audience.
The poems written by the Kiva families along with photos of the nature objects and the event will be published in a book for their school library. Special thanks to principal Nick Noonan, 3rd grade teacher and literacy night co-ordinator Mary Martine and photographer Lori Noonan. I developed this activity after attending the Highlights Foundation Writing from Nature workshop in Honesdale, PA where I returned to my "naturalist" roots and finally learned how to use a hand lens properly!
Writing Nature Poetry makes a great family literacy night event and can also be presented in individual classrooms or as an afterschool or library activity.
And now for a few of the poems...
Hard, sharp, smooth, hollow, yellowish, with holes and ridges
It's a thing I like to fill with sandy water.
I hold it to my ear to hear the ocean's blue waves.
It is a seashell!
The Cox family
Dirty, dusty, fluffy, white
No smell, no sound, not heavy;
Hairy plant we should not taste; grows in bunches I'd like to pick
Our thing we'd like to tell you now - COTTON - that's what we had.
The Bunde family
Looking for Treasure
Heavy, bumpy, and hard too
Green with gold square sparkles glean.
Found in a river where I like to swim.
I'm a sparkly rock!
The Hart Family