Class visits in January will mostly be devoted to reading aloud the picture books nominees for the California Young Reader Medal. There are three longer picture books nominated for grades 3, 4, and 5, and five picture books that are nominated for students in the younger grades. Every elementary school in the district participates in this competition every year. I read the books aloud, we discuss them and consider their merits, and then each student votes for her or his favorite. At Pennekamp this year, students in grades 4 and 5 who read all three of the chapter-book nominees by the end of March can also vote on that category.
The book club for grade 5 is off to a good start. The book we are reading for January is We're Not from Here, by Geoff Rodkey. After humans have destroyed earth, the search for a new home brings one family to the planet Choom to show that hosting the whole human race will be a good idea. Being newcomers proves difficult, and the stakes are incredibly high; how can Lan, who's just a kid, overcome the dominant species' reluctance? Another interesting aspect of WNFH is the identity of the central character, Lan. Geoff Rodkey has written a great post about this--I read it here on The Nerdy Book Club. I'm looking forward to hearing the students' reactions to this timely science-fiction story at our club meeting on January 22.
Many students have been steadily reading the books for the Super Literacy Quiz Bowl (good job, students!), but for those who haven't, there's still time to get in the game. The Manhattan Beach public library has been displaying and checking out the selected books, and the PK library has at least one copy of each book for reading here. Students who wish to compete are asked to read at least ten books from the list for their grade. The SLQB takes place during the school day, and all students in grades 3, 4, and 5 attend the event (so I figure students might as well play!). Signups are due on January 10, and the three grade-specific consent forms are available at the library and as pdf right below this post.