Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mother Reader's 48 Hour Challenge: Finish Line

This weekend I have been participating in Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge.  When I woke up Saturday it was raining and looked like it could rain all day.  The perfect day for reading.  My house was a mess and really needed a good cleaning.  The perfect day for procrastinating so it was obviously just the right weekend for the challenge.  (and my apologies for the lack of photos and links...we are out of data.  As soon as I get to free WIFI I will update.)

With a graduation party, Father's Day, a lot of home to-dos, and some planned time with friends, I wasn't sure I was going to make it.  I didn't reach my goal of 14 hours, but I did manage to read for 12.9 hours.  I started at 11:30 Friday night (and promptly fell asleep) and am ending at 9:30 on Sunday.  In past challenges I counted networking, but this year my total is straight book reading time.  

One of my goals this summer is to build my familiarity with early chapter books.  I want to read as many as I can, get to know their level of difficulty, gain understanding of their story, and create a bank of books I can recommend to my young readers.  I have decided to focus on series books as there seems to be some correlation between putting readers In a series they like and their reading growth.  For the challenge I decided to read a few of these titles.

Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford and illustrated by Elanna Allen.  This is the first book in a series and will be at the top of my recommendation list.  I really enjoyed it.  As I read this book I couldn't get away from thinking about what a great read aloud it would be with its strong character, its hints at strategies for solving problems, and its voice.  This would be a good book to read aloud setting kids up to read subsequent books in the series.

In this story, Violet goes with her mom to the market one day.  Her mom sells some of her knitting there.  Violet spies a beautiful blue china bird at another table. The bird is $10.  Violet needs a brilliant plot to be able to buy it.  With some outside the box thinking, maybe she can find a way. 

This book will surely be on my list to recommend to my second graders as they are ready.  The structure of the story, the make up of the characters, and the arrangement of text with occasional illustrations will surely support them as they read.  There is a bit of vocabulary to figure out, but the text supports this as they can be figured out by use of context.  They are also often repeated.  There are snippets in text in which character feeling is understood by inferring analogies provided by the author.  Would make for interesting conversation.  

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.  This is another book on my list for recommendation to students transitioning to chapter books.  Mercy, a pig, lives inside the house with Mr. and Mrs. Watson.  One night Mercy sneaks into bed with The Watsons.  All are dreaming peacefully when the bed starts to shake and fall through the floor.  Is it an earthquake? What will happen to them?  

This book is part of a series and perfect for those first steps into chapter books.  The larger text may feel more comfortable for readers beginning to make this transition.  The larger text also makes moving through the book feel faster and the illustrations make the book appealing.  While I'm not sure I'd consider it a mystery, it does have that mystery-like feel as you try to figure out what has made the bed start to fall through the floor and wonder if Mercy will be able to save the day.  Some of my readers who enjoy mystery would probably like this book.  I know my animal lovers would love it, for sure.

During this time I also enjoyed Lulu Walks the Dog by Judith Viorst (loved about a great read aloud), Magic Bones:  Be Careful What You Sniff by Nancy Krulik, and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (a five tissue read - out of five tissues, but worth every tear).  I also got a bit further in my professional reading.

Thanks, Mother Reader, for hosting again.


  1. So glad that you could use the 48HBC to dive into something new. Thanks for playing!

  2. So glad you are finding books I know for early chapter book readers. There are two more Lulu books and second graders love them. Mercy Watson can't be new to you - there's a whole collection there and Magic Bone is another popular series in my room. I dream of one day participating in the 48 HBC.