Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Five Great Books for 8 - 10 Year Olds

Happy end of June to you!  If you have kiddos who are starting to suffer from the dreaded affliction known as I'm-so-bored-itis, a quick trip to the library or bookstore is the surest cure I know.

Here are five great reads for the 8-10 year old crowd...and they're all the first book in their series, so even more fun reading ahead!

1. Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe.

There's something a little different about the newest pet in the Monroe household. Is it just a coincidence that vegetables start to turn up with all the juice sucked out of them?
Grade Level Equivalent  4.9
Lexile 710L
DRA  40
Guided Reading Level Q
*First book in a series

2. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
This series has become a childhood classic with good reason! Written with a controlled vocabulary, the first book tells the adventures of four orphans as they strike out on their own.
Grade Level Equivalent 3.2
Lexile 490 L
DRA 34
Guided Reading Level O
*First book in a series

3. I Survived the Sinking of The Titanic, 1912 by Lauren Tarshis

A fictional account of the sinking of the Titanic told from the point of view of a boy who survives the disaster. 
Grade Level Equivalent 3.3
Lexile  590L
DRA 40
Guided Reading Level R
*Part of a series but the books are all independent of each other
This series is especially popular with boys who are reluctant readers. The stories are all told from a boy's point of view and they are about different disasters throughout history. Other titles in the series deal with surviving Hurricane Katrina, the tornado in Joplin, and the destruction of Pompeii--just to name a few. Some of my struggling 7th grade readers enjoyed this series as well.

4. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

The charming tale of how a young boy must use his wits to save a baby dragon on Wild Island.
Grade Level Equivalent 4.8
Lexile 990L
DRA 30
Guided Reading Level N
*First book in the trilogy

5. ANY book by Beverly Cleary

Grade Level Equivalent 4.8
Lexile 780L
DRA 34
Guided Reading Level 0

Grade Level Equivalent 5.1
Lexile 860L
DRA 34
Guided Reading O

In my opinion, Beverly Cleary still reigns as the Queen of Third Grade Literature. Many second graders begin reading her books because they're easy to read, and they continue into third because the characters and stories are so engaging. Cleary has several "mini" series that she has written such as the Ramona books and the Mouse and Motorcycle books.

If you'd like 35 more titles (leveled by Grade Level Equivalent, Lexile, DRA and Guided Reading levels), check out my Third Grade Vacation Station available on Teachers Pay Teachers...

It comes complete with a printable reading list to take along with you to the library or bookstore. There are also math and ELA review activities to do as well. A great way to end the summer slump and keep up the skills!

Stay cool, keep reading, and thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, June 26, 2015


Welcome to The Friday Afternoon Files!

I have been a teacher for the past 26 years (oh.my.goodness!) and while it doesn't seem possible to me, there's the proof in living color--or at least 1990's color. 

Wasn't it kind of someone to so thoughtfully capture me in all my glory as a third year teacher? Those high-waisted mom jeans and that hair...oh mercy! Let's only hope that wasn't the actual color.

Like my hairstyle, my grade level has changed a lot over the years. I've taught 3rd grade and 9th grade and just a little bit of everything in between. There's something to love about every subject and every grade level, so I've made it my personal challenge to change it up every so often. Grass definitely doesn't grow under these feet, I'm telling ya!

The name of my blog and my (soon to open) Tpt store comes from my own experience as a classroom teacher. Every Friday afternoon, I would try really hard to get everything done so I wouldn't have to spend my weekend at school. I would open up my file cabinet (see how old school I am?) and my computer files looking for some clever ideas I could use the next week. Most of the time I would come up empty-handed and spend way too much personal time making things.

And as teachers we do that. We give and we give and we give until we're burnt out.

Or sick...possibly sick and tired.

Or maybe we spend too much time working on things for our kiddos at school when we've got kiddos of our own at home.

I hope I can help others find time and balance in their lives by providing some easy to implement lessons that are already made. Think of them as "magic" Friday afternoon files that allow you to go home and relax...if even for a little while.

I look forward to meeting you and adding to my Friendship Files!