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					 Newsletter                        Westwood Elementary School
                                       Monthly Newsletter
 Volume 1, Issue 1




                     Author: Shannon Poet
Special Interest
Articles:


• Ten book
                     The Wonderful World of Children’s Literature
  reviews
                     Greetings family and           knowledge and a love of        to you and your child
• Strategies for
                     friends! It is my pleasure     reading amongst all our        centered on improvement
  Young Readers      to inform you that for this    students. With your help,      of literacy skills, and
                     issue of Westwood              we can empower our             recommended children’s
• Literacy           Elementary monthly             students and mold them         books.
  Websites for       newsletter, we will be         into lifelong lovers of
  Parents and        exploring the wonderful        reading.
  Teachers           world of children’s
                                                    In the following issue, we
                     literature and all it has to
                                                    have included several
                     offer.
                                                    books reviews and a
                     As you well know,              number of literature
                     Westwood Elementary            websites for you and your
                     puts much emphasis on          children. Also included are
                     the importance of literacy.    links to articles concerning
                     It is our goal as an           best literacy practices, a
                     institution to establish       list of resources available



                     “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”
                     “I Know an Old Lady Who        highly recommend               comprehension. Several
                     Swallowed a Fly,” a            purchasing the puppet          other activities may also
                     wonderful folk story of an     props which go along with      be incorporated using this
                     old woman who accidently       it. If interested these can    story. I personally have
                     swallows a fly. In an          be purchased at                utilized this book for a
                     attempt to catch the fly,      http://www.pbetc.com/pup       word building and rhyming
                     the old lady continues to      pets.html.                     activity with my students.
                     swallow other animals.                                        Due to the story structure
                                                    As a teacher, I found this
                     Sadly, the old lady dies at                                   and rhyming nature, the
                                                    book to have several uses
                     the end of the story due to                                   book is perfect for word
                                                    in the primary level
                     the swallowing of too big                                     building and rhyming
                                                    classroom. First of which,
                     of an animal.                                                 activities.
                                                    I recommend a read aloud
                     A fun and comical story, “I    with your students utilizing
                     Know an Old Lady Who           the character puppets.
                     Swallowed a Fly” is a          This type of activity is
                     perfect book for your          particularly beneficial to
                     beginning readers. In          our ESOL students in
                     addition to reading this       improvement of
                     story to your little ones, I   vocabulary
 Newsletter Title                                                     Page 2 of 6

“Toby Belfer Visits Ellis Island”
“Toby Belfer Visits Ellis       forced to leave their small    useful to use for a social
Island,” by author Gloria       town in Poland to escape       studies lesson, to discuss
Teles Pushker is a Social       from religious persecution.    the historical significance
Studies centered story          The family boards a boat       of Ellis Island.
discussing a little girl’s      to New York City in the
                                                               I personally recommend
visit to Ellis Island. While    United States. Once in the
                                                               using this book for a
there, little Toby Belfer       United States, the family
                                                               family history project in
discovers her ancestors’        must go through a series
                                                               which the students would
tough beginning in a            of checkpoints and tests
                                                               be required to conduct
foreign land. She soon          at Ellis Island to be
                                                               research regarding their
learns of the story of her      allowed in to the country.
                                                               own family history. If
great- grandmother’s
                                This is a great book to use    interested the book is
family’s journey to the
                                to discuss the concept of      available for check out at
United States from Poland
                                one’s own ancestry and         the Westwood Elementary
in 1904. The family is
                                family history. It is also     school library.



“The Planets in Our Solar System”
“The Planets in Our Solar       these planets are away         excellent tool to use for
System” by author               from the sun and the time      lesson plans concerning
Franklyn M. Branley is a        it takes to circulate once     astronomy and the
wonderful non-fiction book      around the sun.                operation of the solar
geared towards the lower                                       system.
                                While it has been a while
primary grades. The book
                                since I have discussed the      It is perfect to use to build
discusses many important
                                solar system, my               prior knowledge amongst
facts concerning our solar
                                knowledge was very             your students, and
system and its operations.
                                limited. However this book     introduce the concept of
 It informs us that there       presents the information in    the solar system and its
are nine planets in the         a way which makes it           planets as a whole. Again
solar system including the      fairly easy to understand      if interested in reading this
earth which all revolve         for the reader.                book, it is available for
around the sun. It also                                        checkout in the Westwood
                                I find that his book is an
informs us of the distance                                     Elementary Library.



“Rumpelstiltskin”
“Rumpelstiltskin” one of        offers her his help in         wonderful story which
the very famous Grimms          exchange for something of      teaches a very valuable
Brothers tale retold by         value. The young woman         lesson. The book can be
author Paul O. Zelinskly,       makes the mistake of           used in many ways in the
is a wonderful folktale of      promising something she is     classroom environment. I
good vs. evil. It tells the     not willing to give up.        personally recommend
story of a young miller’s       Fortunately for her, she       readers theater, a fun activity
daughter who is ordered by      manages to trick the little    which engages all students,
the king to complete an         man out of taking her most     and improves reading
impossible task. A little man   prized possession, her first   comprehension as well as
                                born child. This is a          fluency.
 Page 3 of 6                                                    Newsletter Title



Zlata’s Diary
“Zlata’s Diary” is a           Bosnia. The tone of her           time which many have
fascinating yet                diary soon changes as she         forgotten.
heartbreaking and true tale    begins to depict her new
                                                                 While it is geared towards
of a young girl’s              experiences with frequent
                                                                 the upper elementary
experiences growing up in      bombings, death, lack of
                                                                 grades, I do not
the Bosnian War.               food, and overall
                                                                 recommend letting your
                               hopelessness.
In the personal diary                                            students read this book
entries of Zlata Filipovic,    Fortunately Zlata lived to        independently, as it
Zlata describes the first      tell of her experiences           contains some very
part of her life as a very     during the Bosnian War.           serious content and
normal girl with the typical   Her book has sent a very          situations. I request that
concerns and worries of a      strong message                    you read this book in a
young adolescent. School,      throughout the world              group setting or for
friends, movies, music         regarding war, genocide,          literature circles, in which
among many others are          and the loss of childhood         the teacher has the
the only things that           innocence at too young of         opportunity to act as the
consume Zlata’s mind.          an age.                           facilitator.
However war soon erupts
                               I absolutely recommend
in Zlata’s home of
                               reading this book with your
Sarajevo, the capital of
                               students. It brings light to a




Where is Simon, Sandy?
A wonderful book for the       stop, the people ask              loved doing the water
lower primary grades,          “Where is Simon Sandy?”           route with Sandy so much
“Where is Simon, Sandy?”       and Sandy the donkey just         that when the man
written by Donna Marie         shakes his head. The              became better they
Seim tells the story of A      children from all over the        continued to go on the
man and his donkey living      town follow Sandy on his          water route with the man
on the Island of Grand         water route. Finally Sandy        and sandy. I absolutely
Turk. Every day the old        stops at the doctor’s office      loved reading this book. It
man along with his faithful    and the doctor follows            is a multicultural story
donkey delivers pails of       sandy home to the man’s           which acts as a window
water to all the town          house. The doctor                 into the lives of people
people. However one            discovers that the man            from the culture of the
morning the man does not       hurt his foot. The doctor         island of Grand Turk. For
leave his house. His           orders the man to stay off        all the teachers out there,
donkey then becomes            his foot for a little while.      this would be a great story
extremely worried. The         During that time the              to use to introduce a
donkey then leaves and         children offer to do the          culture/geography lesson
goes about town on the         water route with Sandy            on the people of the
same water route. At each      the donkey. The children          Caribbean.
 Newsletter Title                                                    Page 4 of 6


My Messy Room
“My Messy Room,” by           as paint on the table or       small guided reading
author Mary Packard is a      socks on the chair to          groups. The book allows
picture book designed for     name a few.                    the teacher several areas
beginning readers. It is a                                   in which to stop and
                              This is a perfect book for
simple story about a little                                  discuss the various
                              our Kindergarten and First
girl who loves to keep a                                     situations with your
                              graders. The story
messy room.                                                  students.
                              contains situations in
Throughout the book the       which all small children       The book also enables the
little girl names all the     can relate to.                 teacher to ask questions
different messes she                                         which build upon the
                              As a teacher, I would most
keeps in her room, such                                      students’ comprehension.
                              likely use this story for



The Hickory Chair
“The Hickory Chair,”          on an old hickory chair.       This is a very sweet story
written by author Lisa        She unexpectedly passes        which discusses the death
Rowe Frausino is a story      away. The family soon          of a loved one. This is a
about a young boy who is      hears that their               situation which
forced to deal with the       grandmother has hidden         unfortunately many
death of his grandmother.     notes around her house         children can relate to. I
                              for each family, telling       personally would use this
The young boy is very
                              them what she has left for     book for choral reading,
close with his
                              them. The little boy is        stopping periodically
grandmother and has
                              unable to find his note,       throughout asking
shared many wonderful
                              and eventually learns that     questions, and having the
memories with her,
                              she has not left him one.      students make
including her storytelling
                                                             connections.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the          selected and they must all     school mate and fellow
Goblet of Fire,” the fourth   be above fifth year. The       competitor is killed off by
book in J.K. Rowling’s        goblet of fire selects one     lord voldemort.
best selling Harry Potter     student from each school,
                                                             As a huge Harry Potter
series, is an excellent       except Hogwarts where it
                                                             fan I felt that this is a great
book for the upper            selects two including
                                                             book. It is a book which
elementary grades.            Harry Potter. There are
                                                             constantly keeps you on
                              three different tasks of the
The young wizard Harry                                       the edge of you seat,
                              tournament to compete in.
Potter returns to Hogwarts                                   always wanting more. I do
                              Harry successfully finishes
School for his fourth year.                                  not recommend using this
                              all of them. However in
This year the school is                                      book for any particular
                              the last task Harry comes
hosting a competition                                        classroom activity
                              face to face with the dark
between wizard schools.                                      however I would make the
                              lord, lord voldemort.
Only one student from                                        book available for
                              Unfortunately, Harry’s
each school will be                                          independent reading
                                                             periods.
 Page 5 of 6                                                    Newsletter Title


“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters”
“Mufaro’s Beautiful             morning the father and           and interesting twist. In
Daughters,” a story written     kind sister leave for the        addition this is a perfect
by author John Steptoe is       King’s palace. The kind          story for young children as
somewhat of a                   sister comes across the          it delivers a very important
multicultural version of        same people on her               message concerning how
Cinderella.                     journey, all of whom she is      we should treat others.
                                nice to. Once they arrive
An African man has two                                           I recommend using this
                                they see the mean spirited
daughters, one kind and                                          book for a read aloud or
                                sister, who claims to have
one mean spirited. One                                           for readers’ theater, an
                                run away from a giant,
day the King announces                                           activity which involves
                                threatening snake. The
that he is looking for a                                         allowing the students to
                                kind sister confronts the
wife and would like all                                          act out the parts of the
                                snake and discovers the
eligible women to come to                                        book. Throughout reading
                                snake is all the people she
his kingdom for him to                                           this book it is very
                                confronted on her journey
pick from.                                                       important to hold
                                as well as the king. The
                                                                 discussion with your
The mean spirited               king asks her to be his
                                                                 students concerning its
daughter leaves in the          queen.
                                                                 meaning allow them to
middle of the night to get
                                I enjoyed reading this           make connections.
there first. She comes
                                story it is a Cinderella type
across several people on
                                tale with a very exciting
her journey, all of whom
she is mean to. The next



Best Strategies for Young Readers
The following includes a        may not know the meaning         assess each student’s
list of strategies to help      of, they should look for         reading abilities
better the literary skills of   context clues to help            individually and determine
young readers.                  decipher the meaning of          the best possible means of
                                the word.                        instruction.
Reader’s Theater-
mentioned throughout            Literature Circles- having       Read and Retelling-
many of my book reviews         your students read and           having your students read
is the use of reader’s          discuss books in small           and retell the happenings
theater. Reader’s theater       groups not only improves         of a story, drastically
is wonderful technique          their socialization skills,      improves the students
used to improve reading         but their comprehension of       reading comprehension. It
comprehension and               the book’s content as well.      also allows the instructor
literacy fluency among                                           to assess exactly how
                                Guided Reading Groups-
students. It consists of                                         much the student
                                grouping your students by
acting out each individual                                       comprehended the content
                                reading ability into small
part in a story.                                                 within the story.
                                guided reading groups, is
Making a Guess- while           the best way to
reading, if child comes         individualize instruction.
across a word which they        This allows the teacher to
                            Literary Websites for Parents and Teachers
Westwood Elementary         The Children’s Literature Web Guide- featuring links for different authors,
      School                literary strategies for students, and links to award winning books.
                            http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/.
    2349 Elmwood St.        Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication- a useful website for
        Address 2           parents are teachers, features links to lesson ideas, reading strategies, parent
   Ft. Myers, FL 78269      brochures and suggested books. Http://reading.indiana.edu/
        PHONE:              Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site- features suggested children’s books
     (708) 555-0101         as well as fun activities. http://www.carolhurst.com/
          FAX:              Learn to Read and Write- features many helpful reading strategies, games,
     (708) 555-0102         and tips for parents. http://abc-read.com/

       E-MAIL:
 someone@example.com
                            Works Cited
                            Steptoe, J. (1987) Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. New York :Morrow & Co.

                            Rowling, J.K. (2000) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic.

                            Filipovic, Z. (2006) Zlata’s Diary. New York: Penguin Group

                            Packard, M. (1993) My Messy room. New York: Cartwheel Books.

                            Fraustino, L. (2001) The Hickory Chair. New York: Scholastic.

                            Zelinsky, P. (1986) Rumpelstiltskin. New York: Dutton’s Children’s Books.

                            Seim, D. (2008) Where is Simon, Sandy? Exeter: Publishing Works, Inc.

                            Pushker, G. (2003) Toby Belfer Visits Ellis Island. New York: Pelican Publishing Co.

                            Rounds, G. (1990) I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. New York: Holiday House.
                            Meet the Author
  We’re on the Web!
                            My name is Shannon Poet         types of genres; my              ESOL and Reading. My
        See us at:
                            and from the time I was a       favorite being modern            hope as a future educator
 www.adatum.microsoft.com
                            small child I have always       fantasy. I am currently          is to instill a love of
                            loved to read. Growing up,      seeking a second                 reading amongst all my
                            I had many positive             bachelors’ degree in             students and create
                            experiences with reading.       Elementary Education             positive literacy
                            I had also read many            with an endorsement in           experiences.
                            different books from all



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