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Finding a Book

Looking For a Good Book?:


A guide to your reading: 

Common Sense Media

Looking for a good book?: 



How to Pick a Great Book

1. Look at the cover and the title. Does it look and sound intriguing?

2. Ask friends for recommendations.

3. Look for books written by a favorite author, or in a series you enjoy.

4. Choose books with themes or subjects you have liked in the past.

5. Read the flap or back cover, and look at chapter titles or illustrations.

6. Read the first sentence, a paragraph, and then a random page.


A Book Is Too EASY If:

You can pronounce and understand all the words and can retell everything you have read. An EASY book is a book for fun reading. If you answer “yes” to these questions, the book is probably EASY for you.

Can you read it all very smoothly?

Can you read and understand almost every word?

Have you read it several times before?


A Book Is Too HARD If:

You can’t pronounce or don’t know the meaning of five words on the page and you can’t retell what you’ve just read. A HARD book is one that is too challenging for you right now. If you answer “yes” to these questions, the book is probably HARD for you.

1. Do you have trouble understanding the book?

2. Are many of the words difficult?

3. Do you need a lot of help from the teacher or a friend?

4. Is your reading choppy because you slow down often?



You can pronounce and understand all but one or two of the words and can retell most of what you have read. A JUST RIGHT book is one that is comfortable to read, but a little challenging. If you answer “yes” to these questions, the book is probably JUST RIGHT for you.

1. Do you understand the book?

2. Are there a few places where you need to slow down and figure out something, like a few words, what a character is doing, or how the plot changed?

3. Do you need just a little help from your teacher or a friend?


Select books thoughtfully and always keep in mind the purpose of the book you have chosen. Ask yourself, " What is this book intended for? Is it a match for how I plan to use it?"



Sources: Robb, Grant, Fountas

Mrs. Huckins -- 8th Grade English

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Allergy Awareness:

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The Gift of Human Imagination:

Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Independent Reading

Home Reading Requirement

The 40 Book Challenge


Kids love to read when they have some free choice and can read as much as they want, unhindered. The challenge is to read forty books this school year, but the true goal is to increase student reading in a variety of genres while building reading stamina.

Students will share their reading through many venues and communicate about their reading with other students and the teacher in a variety of ways. They will have person-to-person discussions, form groups to share about books, and even a have chance to do a bit of blogging about a favorite book.

Our librarian is here to help students find books too! In the library, there will be book floods on various genres that students may not have previously explored. Students will be reading in class and are expected to keep reading at least 20 minutes every night. The minimum expectation is that students read about 100 pages a week, which adds up to about 1,200 pages a trimester, and so a minimum of 3,600 pages this school year.

To keep track of all their reading, students will list fiction and nonfiction books they have read in weekly check-ins, maintain an independent reading slideshow, and reflect on their reading goals and achievements periodically throughout the year.

Forty books is a big challenge, but, remember, it just part of the goal. The real goal is to read and then read some more.

For those students who struggle with reading or are simply reluctant readers, together with the teacher they will set realistic and achievable goals that involve both page number expectations and a variety of genres.

For those ambitious students who want to read long and challenging books, we agreed as a class that books up to 350 pages will be counted as 1 book credit, books with 351-700 pages will be counted as 2 book credits, and books over 701 pages will be counted as 3 book credits! So, no one should be held back from reading a book in which they are excited to dive.

Good Luck! Have fun. Read.

How Do I Improve My Grade?

And now, for the question I am asked more than any other...

“Is there anything that I can do to improve my grade?”


1.  Read ALL of the directions on the assignment, not just the first part of the directions!

2.  Follow all of the directions and complete every section of the assignment.

3.  Put effort into your work.  If something seems too easy, push yourself to make it more challenging.  In writing, for example, this can mean explaining yourself further, or writing more descriptively (adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases).

4.  Turn in your work on time.

During class:

1.  PAY ATTENTION in class so that you know what is expected of you! Ignore your friends who are trying to get your attention.

2.  Ask the teacher questions if you aren’t sure of something.

3.  Participate in class - challenge yourself to raise your hand and give answers.  By participating, you will be more involved in what’s going on.  By listening to other students’ answers, you may learn a thing or two!

4.  USE the work periods in class that I give you, instead of chatting with your friends.  You’ll have less homework at home, which will make you (and everyone around you) happier!

Know that it is your job, not your parents’, to know what is expected of you in class!


“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character  - that is the true goal of education.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is Grammar?

Grammar is the system of a language. People sometimes describe grammar as the "rules" of a language; but in fact no language has rules. If we use the word "rules", we suggest that somebody created the rules first and then spoke the language, like a new game. But languages did not start like that. Languages started by people making sounds which evolved into words, phrases and sentences. No commonly-spoken language is fixed. All languages change over time. What we call "grammar" is simply a reflection of a language at a particular time.

Do we need to study grammar to learn a language? The short answer is "no". Very many people in the world speak their own, native language without having studied its grammar. Children start to speak before they even know the word "grammar". But if you are serious about learning a foreign language, the long answer is "yes, grammar can help you to learn a language more quickly and more efficiently." It's important to think of grammar as something that can help you, like a friend. When you understand the grammar (or system) of a language, you can understand many things yourself, without having to ask a teacher or look in a book.

So think of grammar as something good, something positive, something that you can use to find your way - like a signpost or a map.


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