The Trouble with Chickens
Caps for Decoration

Roaring Good Times in Second Grade

The second grade class I read to each week is so smart! The students are doing double-digit addition, with re-grouping. "Get out!" I said. "Re-grouping, too?" One girl nodded, then whispered that they could do triple-digit addition, too. She raised her eyebrows as she said it, knowing I'd be impressed. I was. Back in the day, that was third-grade stuff, at least.

In terms of read-alouds, lions have been very popular. I should definitely take in Jerry Pinkney's The Lion & the Mouse; the kids could pore over the visual details in the 2010 Caldecott winner.

Meanwhile, they loved Library Lion, written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, in which a lion becomes a story-time regular until some rules are broken. More text-heavy than the usual picture book, it's perfect for the second grade.

What surprised me, though, was the reaction to Lions, a nonfiction title from Hodder Wayland's "In the Wild" series. I'd tossed it into my bag, thinking, if I have time, I'll read this one. You could have heard a pin drop as the class listened intently. I had forgotten that what lions eat, how the mama carries the cubs, what a mane looks like, etc., were all very interesting things to consider. Sometimes a straight-up informational book is just what you want to hear. That's why in the next few weeks I'll be searching for good ones on snakes, whales, dolphins, and iguanas, all requested. Suggestions welcome!


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Orangutans Are Ticklish: Fun Facts from an Animal Photographer by Davis and Grubman is a fun book!

Orangutans are ticklish? Really? That sounds like one the class would enjoy! Thank you.

Wow, you have such a great sounding group!
I don't know any books to suggest, but I do love hearing what you read to them.

They are a great group, Tanita! I just love them. They're so responsive and interested in books. Very open-hearted, too.

When I was working as a school librarian, students were always looking for books about sharks. Spring is also a good time to read books about spring peepers and the life cycle of butterflies.

Here are some nonfiction suggestions:
- Dig Wait Listen: A Desert Toad's Tale by April Pulley Sayre
- One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies. It's about a loggerhead turtle
- The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre
- Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies
- Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed...and Revealed by Daivd M. Schwartz--with photos by Dwight Kuhn. It a book of poems, informational prose, and some great nature photography.

Great suggestions, Elaine! Many thanks. Dig Wait Listen sounds like one I (the eternal 2nd grader) would especially enjoy.

I love the idea of going in to read to a class every week. Where were you (or people like you) when I was a teacher?! Read aloud time was WITHOUT A DOUBT the best time of the school day for me - as a child AND as a teacher. My 5th grade teacher reading aloud to us every day was one of the reasons I became a teacher and that's what led me to become a picture book author.

This is my first time reading your blog, and I love it.

My book, Keep Your Ear on the Ball is suitable for 2nd grade. Keep it in mind, when you're finished with the Interesting Animals series, and are ready to read and talk about interdependence, friendship, and acceptance/inclusion.

Great post. Thanks.

Genevieve, I will look for your book! It sounds like a good one from the description at Tilbury House. I am always on the lookout for books to read to "my" class.

Thank you so much for the kind words about the blog, too.

Yes, the Library Lion, written by Michelle Knudsen, is about 800 beautiful words. And I am sure it was much longer before it was revised. It's a wonderful book.

Only 800 words! I didn't realize that. Wonderful book.

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