Monday, February 3, 2014

A Mutt, A Class, & A New Love for Nonfiction

Non-Fiction books are a miracle, just like the book "Nubs: A Mutt, A Marine, and a Miracle" by Kirby Larson!

If not everyone, most people, more specifically educators, teacher-librarians, students, and parents of students, would agree that non-fiction books have significantly improved on many different levels and notes.  Growing up, I embarrassingly admit that I did not have an interest in non-fiction books.  Despite being an avid reader, nonfiction books did not pique my interest, due to too many words, too many diagrams, and not enough colorful pictures.  Thanks to Common Core, other research-based reading strategies, and other valid reasons, non-fiction books are gaining popularity and attention!

This year, for the first time in my six years as a teacher-librarian, not only do I teach library skills classes, but I also get to host library check-out times.  Each classroom is scheduled for one 15 minute checkout per cycle (six day cycle).  While this is not the most ideal schedule, option, operation, etc. for a school library (based on my recent  research in my graduate work to obtain a library media education master's degree), and doesn't necessarily help support our young readers in ways they need that support, it is what it is, so I make the best of what I am given.  I LOVE check-out days and the opportunities it gives me to have conversations with our young readers.  Check-out days allow me to encourage and foster a love for reading to our students.

The following pictures illustrate why students and I enjoy checkout days.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, I am currently teaching the Iowa Goldfinch Unit to students in grades K-2.  This cycle (January 30-February 6), I am reading 2013-14 Iowa Goldfinch Award nominee "Nubs: A Mutt, A Miracle, and A Marine" by Kirby Larson to students in grades K-2.

I introduced this book by having students watch the book trailer first.

You can click on the book trailer below to view for your own pleasure.

To build even more excitement about this book, prior to reading it, then I showed Major Brian Dennis interviewed on the Today Show.  I wasn't sure if students would be engaged, but the students pleasantly surprised me by begging to watch the entire six minute clip, instead of the two-three minutes I planned on showing.

You can view the video by clicking here for Nubs on TODAY Show

Finally, I read aloud the book to the students.  Every student was completely engaged and attentive as I read the story.  Already on the first day I read this book (Thursday, January 30), I was amazed and quite pleased how attentive the students were.

I love how the book trailer and news interview clip allowed deeper connections to be made between the video clips and the book.  It was clearly evident when I read aloud the part about Nubs being injured.  As soon as I finished reading that page, a second grade male student immediately raised his hand to point out that the news interview video clip went into detail of how Nubs was injured.  He stated that Nubs was stabbed by a screwdriver by an Iraqi soldier.  Wow, that student's connection clearly proved how much students are paying attention and are engaged!

I can't wait to read it today, February 2, and on Wednesday, February 4, to see if the same reaction holds true for the other K-2 class sections.