Dr DISSECT has arrived !

I acquired my nickname, Dr DISSECT, in a most unusual way. One semester while working with a group of high school boys, we were learning the Word Identification Strategy from the University of Kansas. With this strategy you use the mnemonic DISSECT to break large words apart. Every student was actively engaged using green, yellow, and red markers and pens to DISSECT (break apart) words that we collected from our content classes and from the game Balderdash. One morning, as I met each student in the hall between classes, I handed them a small card with a word on it, and I said, “Can you DISSECT this word by class?” Little did I realize that this would become a way to connect with each student and create an amazing way to start our class each day. All of a sudden, I found that I needed to wear a jacket with larger pockets for all my words!! Also during this semester, the students were required to dissect a frog in Biology. Well my guys, came back from Biology with the saying, “we like to DISSECT words NOT frogs! This saying quickly became my opening for my classroom demonstrations with students. However, my boys decided that I needed to add to my lesson and during finals they gave me a stethoscope and a white lab coat (for my words), and during the presentation called me Dr. DISSECT. Not only did I use my lab coat and stethoscope with each classroom presentation, I would always state that “Today I promise that we will not get a shot or dissect a frog, but we will learn how to do something more fun DISSECT words. Soon students and colleagues began calling me Dr. DISSECT.


Beyonders by Brandon Mull

jpegBrandon Mull is a great author, as Rick Riodan said, “he is a wizard with words”.  This books has two main characters, Jason and Rachel, that enter into a world in peril from the wizard King, Maldor. While trying to defeat the king, they encounter lots of other people/ things that help them with their tasks. You won’t be able to put the book down, and you will be turing pages til the very end. I strongly recommend this book for all Brandon Mull and Rick Riordan fans. Ages 9 and up.

Top Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd Grade

Exciting new books for students 12 and up

The Heroes of Olympus, The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan hit the shelves in October and is already listed on the best sellers list. In fact, I think this is his best book !!!  This new series introduces three new characters that I think teenagers will understand and relate to immediately. Plus this time , I learned new facts about Greek mythology, and I enjoyed the Roman mythology that he explored. The story takes off quickly with Percy missing and our new characters, Jason, Piper, and Leo battling the mythological monsters and Gods. Even if you have not read any other Percy Jackson books, you can begin with this book. The only problem now is that the next book is not due out for a year!  This book is suited  for middle to high school and yes even adults.

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi hit the shelves in September. This is a  science fiction story that could be a cross between The Wizard of Ox and Star Wars and one that girls will enjoy more than boys. The first couple of chapters are a little slow, but don’t give up because the story does start to move and very well written. Eva Nine is the main character and has been raised underground her whole life. She has been cared for by a motherly robot and has dreamed about going to the top and being outside. Then one day they are attacked and everything is burned. The story is mainly about how they learn to survive above ground the fear, the wonder, and of course the parenting style of the robot is different from the humans. Two of my favorite parts were when she saw the sun for the first time. She curled up into a ball and was terrified that it was going to burn her–as a reader you could feel her fear. Then the second part was when she saw the night sky. There was so much wonder about the world at that point. Enjoy her journey and this “girly” new science fiction story. Just click on the title to pick up your copy at Amazon.

Lightening Thief has just been released as a comic book



This book is about Percy Jackson,  his discovery, and his adventures with the mythological world and their monsters. Many times students in the 5th or 6th grade study mythology which makes this a perfect book choice for them. This story has been made into a movie, and as usual, I feel the book is much better. However, when I read  Rick Riordan had joined with Disney to create,  Lightening Thief, into a comic book, I was excited. As you can see this just hit the shelves in Oct. and it is fantastic!!  The illustrations just jump off the pages, and I found myself drawn once again into this story.  It will be a perfect gift for any student that has read and enjoyed this series. Plus, I think it will be a big hook for the struggling student that is ages 9 and up.  I also think this comic could be a great way for a 3rd or 4th grader to be introduced to mythology. I plan to give the parents the original book, Lightening Thief and the 8yr. old the comic. The parent can read the book and then they can have a deeper discussion about the story, mythology !! Click on the title to put up your copy at Amazon. Click here for a preview of the comic.

A tiny mouse has a powerful message

Mouse was Madby Linda Urban and Henry Cole is  a must have book if your young person is working on learning how to control their emotions ages 3-8!! This story is not only adorable but describes a child’s meltdown perfectly. The illustrations are wonderful and make the  writer’s point in a way that will have you laughing though the entire story. In this story mouse, is having a complete meltdown and all his forest friends try to help him. They each share  how they are able to control their emotions. Mouse tries all of their suggestions, none are successful, and he always falls into a mud puddle which just makes him madder. In the end, mouse learns that for him just by breathing slowing and by being very still he can  control his anger.  He also learns that after breathing slowly he is no longer angry, and he feels much better. All of his forest friends are amazed.

This is the best story I have found to help a child begin to understand how to manager their emotions. Enjoy my new find. Click on the title to pick up your copy at Amazon.

Favorite chapter books for third graders

Book Monster is sharing our favorite chapter books for those readers in 3rd grade that are beginning to read silently most of the time and are fluent with oral reading.

Just click on the title of the book to pick up your copy at Amazon.

1. Andrew Clements

Keepers of the School A new book that the kids really like!

Fear Itself The kids have been waiting for this book that comes out Jan 4, 2011.

Frindle This is an old favorite about a little boy that creates a new word for a pencil.

2.  Secrets of Droon Series, by Tony Abbott and Tim Jessell

There are approximately 18 books in this series. You need to at least read the  first book before going to any of the others in the series. These are an excellent series!!

This book came out in Feb. 2010. I think it is the newest addition to the series.

3.      Backyard Sports: Double Team by Michael Teitelbaum and Ron Zalme

There are several books in this series, and they all are at the same reading level, with an excellent story line about learning how to be a friend and team member.

4.   2030 A Day in the Life of Tomorrows Kids, by Amy Zuckerman

A new book that even the older children enjoy.

5.       Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, by Chris Riddell

There are three books in this series, but this one is my favorite. A fun and quirky book filled with details that seem to draw the reader into the story.

6. Meg Mackintosh and the Mystery at the Medieval Castle,by Lucinda Landon

A solve it yourself mystery series that hooks the students quickly. These are great books that both boys and girls really enjoy.

7. The Candy Corn Contest ,by Patricia Reilly Giff and Blanche Sims

This book is part of   The Kids of the Polk Street School series. These are good books especially for the struggling reader.

8.    A Mouse Called Wolf, by Dick King-Smith

Giggles abound though out this book.  A fun read!

9. Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn Dixie This is one of my all time favorites, but you might want to wait until your child is reading closer to 4th grade. This would be a wonderful read aloud.


10. Humphrey the Lost Whale: A True Story, by Wendy Tokuda, Richard Hall, and Hanako Wakiyama

This just a precious story. I like to use this story to introduce nonfiction to students.

11. Beverly Cleary Ramona’s World Ribsy

This author has written many books that fall into this reading level. As you look at her books any of the Ramona books are at the same level.