Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Favorite Reading Group Book

Happy Wednesday! I can't belbook  it is already May.  Only 12 more school days before End of Grade testing begins and only 26 more days of school.  I can't believe we are so close to the end.

Since we are still in full test prep mode, things have been really busy but I'm still finding time for small groups to participate in book clubs.  Therefore, I'm linking up withJessica from Ideas by Jivey for her weekly Workshop Wednesday.

A few years ago, I read the book Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan for a grad school class.  I instantly fell in love with the book.  It's about a little girl who lived in a wealthy Mexican community with her parents and grandmother.  They had servants who took care of their every needs and Esperanza gets what ever she wants.  Then tragedy strikes and he r father is killed.  Her entire life gets turned upside down.  Esperanza, her mother, and their former servants must flee the country to America and become migrant workers.  The book focuses on her struggle to adapt to het new life in America.  This book is great for theme and context clues.  I've read this book with my highest reading group for the last three years.

This year I decided to do an author study on Pam Munoz Ryan.  I wanted to allow my students to discover the connection between the various books by an author.  So I had them read Becoming Naomi Leon which was another greay book about a little girl of Hispanic decent who had to relocate and learn to adapt to her new life.  (Just like Esperanza.)  This book was also really good for theme.  My students were able to make so many connections between the two books. I was actually amazed.

While they were in the middle of reading his book, the kids found Paint the Wind in our classeoom library.  I was only planning to have them read the two books, but they were eager to read another Pam Munoz Ryan book.  (I love their eagerness to read.)

Paint the Wind was also about a little girl of hispanic decent who was forced to relocate and had to adapt and adjust to the changes in her life.  They were immediately able to identify this common theme.  This book is good for teaching kids to follow multiple story lines.

Finally, my kids saw an ad in this book for Stealing Freedom.  Luckily I was able to find this novel set in my school's bookroom.  Although it was an easier reading level I knew they would love this book too.  And I was right.  This book also focused on change in a young girl's life.  More connections were made after reading this book.

Through all these books, students were able to see how similar themes are developed differently.

As a culminating project they are researching Pam Munoz Ryan to see if they can find out why she has the tendency to write novels about girls who must relocate and figure out how to adapt to the change in their lives.

Over the past couple of months, I have grown to love Pam Munoz Ryan and I will definitely use her books in future years.

What books do you love to use with your small reading groups?  Link up with Jessica from Ideas by Jivey to link up and share.


  1. Esperanza Rising made me cry! I loved reading this book as a read aloud. Thanks for sharing!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. These sound like great books! Thanks for linking up! :)
    ideas by jivey
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  3. I have always wanted to read Esperanza Rising but never got to it. Thanks for the post-I am adding it to my summer reading list! Heather

  4. I read Becoming Naomi Leon with three of my girls last year. We did it as a lunch bunch group. They enjoyed the book a great deal! Thank you for reminding me of her other great titles.

    Foreman Teaches

  5. Thanks for reviewing these books. I have seen Esperanza Rising but haven't had a chance to check it out yet!

    Love to Learn