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Sighs and Symbolism

We have had some interesting discussions during our library lessons last week! In our story, Spring and Autumn – A Japanese Story, we came across sentences like “Princes, warriors and even gods came from near and far, to gaze at the princess [Dear Delight of the World] and offer precious gifts,” and “I saw her walking here in the palace garden and knew at once that I must ask her to be my wife.” That evoked some eye rolling and sighing from the older grades. They said that “just because she is beautiful that doesn’t mean she is a good person,” and “How can you know you want to marry someone whom you haven’t even met or talked with, only seen in the garden!”. It was a bit awkward, but very meaningful, to talk about when you know you love someone, and what it means to marry someone. And how marriage has meant different things throughout different times and places!

I asked the students to listen to the story with their “mythology” ears switched on. What if you intrepet the princess as a symbol of happiness? Then suddenly, the sentence “How could such a dull-looking boy, dressed in grey, marry the most beautiful princess, Dear Delight of the World?” could hint to the idea that a ‘normal’ person, or simply a humble person, maybe wonders if he or she is worthy of happiness in their lives. You can imagine that reading a mythological story – one that feels old-fashioned for our current perspectives on equality, gender and agency – through a symbolic lens, opens the door to thoughtful reflections. The story concluded with the statement that autumn is the saddest time of the year. So we ended our circle time with sharing our opinions whether this was true or not.

We didn’t read this story in all classes. For some, I chose to read one of our fantastic picture books featuring artists from all over the world. Students were amazed to learn about Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O’Keeffe. As a matter of fact, in this short school week, I will be reading these picture books to the Tuesday and Wednesday classes.

Sophie and I realize that these blog posts are mostly geared towards the PYP students. When Sophie meets with the LGRP students, she shows and talks about many different books. Sometimes this is based on a theme, a special day, new books that have come in, or as a result of students’ requests. Know that all books (and our guidance in helping find the right book) in the library are accessible and available to all students in our school!

The Read-A-Thon-requests-books are slowly trickling in. I am trying to cover them as they arrive, and Sophie tries to keep up with the cataloging, so all Read-A-Thon participants can borrow (and more importantly, read!) their requested books. Here is what has come in so far:

Thank you for reading our blog! We wish you a fun, short school/work week – and a beautiful long weekend!

Happy Reading!

Sophie & Fleur

It’s Always Children’s Book Week Somewhere!

Last week was a short week for me. I was at home with my sniffly son (he’s fine now). Thank you to Danny and Sophie for saving the day!

We read The Cracked Pot – An Indian Story. It was interesting to hear connections to similar stories from other cultures. We explored what a fable, or moral story, is. There’s always one or two students in each class that can teach us what a fable is, and why it makes it a special kind of story. We found definitions for “flaw” and “blessing”. We shared the “lesson” or “moral” we took from The Cracked Pot. All different perspectives make for diverse learning!

Read the story here, and reflect for yourself!

Next week, we will be reading Spring and Autumn – A Japanese Story. We will connect it to non-fiction about the seasons, as well as origin stories explaining the change in seasons from a mythical perspective (Persephone, for example). We will also highlight non-fiction and fiction focusing on Japan and Japanese culture. We are looking forward to another week of expanding our horizon!

With a steady stream of new books coming in every week, it is easy to forget the already amazing books we have in our library collection. This is why our displays highlight some of these books. Displays are an invitation to borrow (and read!) the books. We happily replenish the displays.

We now have Storytime magazine in our library, ready to be checked out (and read during the library lessons if they have a red REF(ERENCE) sticker on them). You can access the latest issue by clicking here. Happy Reading Aloud!

We’ve had some very enthusiastic PYP 1 authors this year in our library. They’ve written and illustrated their own books, which are now (finally, sorry it took so long!) available in the library! Please note that the Story Box Library is an already existing Australian organization that brings stories to children through their storytellers. Our apologies for having used their logo and name!

Like we said, it’s always Children’s Book Week somewhere! Next week, students, teachers, and librarians all over the United States will be celebrating reading as a superpower! Check out this link for tons of fun activities, virtual story times and other great resources. Click here for some great Reading is a Superpower bookmarks, and learn about the fantastic illustrators who made them.

2021 CBW Poster

And on that happy, superpower note – we will conclude this blog post.

Have a wonderful week!

Yours,

Sophie & Fleur

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Connecting Through Stories

Last week, we read The Shoemaker and the Dragon (PYP 1 and 2) and The Glass Knight (PYP 3 – 5). Students quickly made connections with the Greek myth about Medusa, as well as other knight and dragon stories. We found variations of the “brain over brawn”-theme. And of course, the most obvious connection was with the Basilisk in Harry Potter! Through finding the connections to other stories, it felt like we were connecting with each other.

Monday through Wednesday: Focus on the St. George Stories

In Foundation, we enjoyed reading The Story Thief by Graham Carter. This picture book lends itself excellently for pausing, and asking students for predictions or ideas of how they would solve the problem. The book ends with the main characters (Olive and Octopus) being “ready to share their new idea with everyone…” How fun it was to ask the students what they thought what that new idea could be! Try to do that at home too, when you’re reading with your child(ren); ask for predictions, solutions, reflections or alternative endings. The creativity you will meet is inspiring!

On Thursday, we focused on Earth Day!

Next week, we will read The Cracked Pot – an Indian Story, again from A Year Full of Stories. We will read and reflect, as usual, and then I will share books with the students that feature stories from India. We will also talk about fables, or moral stories. Which ones do you know? What did you learn? And why do you remember that one in particular? I am looking forward to tapping into the rich cultural heritage students are part of (sometimes without even realizing it), and how we will learn from, and about, each other.

Sophie keeps up the notice board outside, always keeping up to date with the new books she daily catalogs and adds to our vast library collection! Students often stop and look at our new books. Which is exactly the point, because most books are so popular that they almost never sit on the shelves. Having the photo posters up, allows students to place reservations on the new books. Otherwise they wouldn’t even know we have them!

We now have a permanent display of new books! We’ve added a lot of fiction, both in Swedish and English. We’re expecting more Usborne fact books and Read-A-Thon requests to arrive soon. Currently on the display are the picture books that focus on artists, on their works and lives. They’ve been in the PYP 3 classrooms for their unit of inquiry, but are now available to all students.

We are looking forward to a readingful week, full of wonder! (Or a wonderful week, full of reading).

Your Library Team,

Sophie & Fleur

27 best Therapist cartoons images on Pinterest | Funny ...

So Many Special Days!

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We started the week with lots of Usborne books to be handed out. They’ve all been happily received by the students (except for two, as those students were absent). It was great to see all those smiling faces! Thank you for your patience, and we hope it was worth the wait!

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Books connecting to our story of the week: The Boots of Hunain – an Arabic story.
The story is placed in June, but because the Ramadan started last Tuesday – I chose to read it now, in April.

Last week, we’ve had so many interesting discussions about the story we read The Boots of Hunain. The story ends with “Fair’s fair!”. We talked about what fair means, and was what Hunain did really fair? When I asked that question, there were always several “yes’s” and a bunch of “no’s” popping up as answers. Students listened carefully to each other’s arguments, and reasoning. We’ve also learned a lot about the Ramadan from our classmates. All in all a week that gave us food for thought!

Next week, we will be reading The Glass Knight – an English story (PYP 3 – 5), and The Shoemaker and the Dragon – a Polish story (PYP 1 – 2). Both stories are connected to St. George’s Day, which takes place on April, 23rd. In PYP F, we will read The Story Thief, connected to World Book Day (April, 23rd as well!).

The Story Thief: Graham Carter: 9781783448920: Telegraph ...
Our read-aloud for PYP F
A Year Full of Stories, Angela McAllister Christopher Corr ...
Next week, we will read another story in this great book!

We will find connections with other stories we know: both myths and fables, as well as more modern stories which feature knights, dragons and the theme of fighting the strong and powerful using logical thinking!

For the students who would like, they’re welcome to do the Reading Festival Book Quiz during their library lesson – another fun way to celebrate World Book Day!

Next week is packed with special days! ISGR Science Day (April, 21st), Earth Day (April, 22nd) and Future Dress Up Day (April 23rd). And don’t forget St. George’s Day and World Book Day!

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Wednesday: Science Day
Thursday: Earth Day
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Friday: Future Job Dress Up Day

All of our displays are inspired by those days, and hopefully give inspiration in return. Also, check out the new Usborne Book display. Free books for the library, because of your purchases! Please note that more free Ubsorne books are on the way: Billy and the mini-monsters series, Unipiggle series, and lots of non-fiction titles. Including the “See Inside”-books!

Some of the free Usborne Books for the library.

Another thank you to all of our Read-a-Thon readers! Thanks to you, we’re going to have new books in our library, that will surely become our students’ favorites! Keep an eye on our blog in the next few weeks, for a photo of all the new titles, sponsored by our Read-A-Thon readers!

We are looking forward to another great week in the library! With lots of stories, connections and inspiring ideas!

And we need more thinking adults in this world! | Reading ...
I’m sure there are other ways of becoming a thinking adult, but reading is definitely one of them!

Dear Readers, welcome back!

Welcome back to school! We hope you’ve had a nice break, and that you’re feeling energized and content!

Readathon – Snaresbrook Prep School

On Friday, April 2nd (on International Children’s Book Day!) the ISGR Read-A-Thon took place, at home. Some students chose a different day during the Easter Break, and that is okay too, of course!

To read more about the Read-A-Thon, click here! (Scroll down to Friday). The Read-A-Thon form is attached to this message.

This morning (12/4), I already received quite a few sponsor payments through swish. Thank you! The last day to swish is Wednesday, April 14th. When you swish, please state the student’s name and class.

Students who participated in the Read-A-Thon should hand in their form to Sophie or myself, as we would like to know what their book wishes are (i.e. which book, or what kind of book, we will be buying from their sponsor money). 

Sophie and I have decided that this is the last year that the money raised during the ISGR Read-A-Thon is going to our school library. Next year, we would like to find an under-funded (school/hospital/children’s) library or an organization that promotes reading, who can use our donations. Preferably in Sweden, close to home. At this point, our school library is incredibly well-stocked, and students have agency in the books we choose to add to our library collection. In other words, we think it is appropriate that next year our ISGR Read-A-Thon fundraiser will be held with others in mind who are not as privileged as we are. 

Usborne Logos

The Usborne Books are here, personally delivered by Yvonne and her husband during the Easter Break! Students who have ordered books, will receive them during their library lesson this week. If they wish, they can come on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday afternoon (14.30 – 15.00) to pick them up as well.

Spring cleaning with Moomin - Moomin

I embraced the idea of spring cleaning at home. An organized home, nurtures an organized mind – isn’t that what they always say? It feels true, as I’ve thought of some fun and interesting things for us to read, think about and do during our library lessons!

A Year Full of Stories, Angela McAllister Christopher Corr ...

From next week, until the end of the school year, we will be reading and working with “A Year Full of Stories: 52 Folk Tales and Legends from Around the World”, written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Christopher Corr. As I was reading this to my son in the last few weeks, we were able to make connections for every story we read. We saw similarities between the stories, and other fairy tales from different cultures. We recognized traditional elements of the stories in this book, that we have seen in more modern picture books. We noticed patterns that we could point out in other stories we have heard or read. In other words: the stories in “A Year Full of Stories” are very rich, accessible and fun to connect with other stories we know. Each week, I will read a story to the students and discuss personal interpretations and connections. I will recommend books (novels, picture books, non-fiction, etc.) that are in some way related to the story of that week.

For example, next week, we will read “The Boots of Hunain: an arabic story.” This is a story chosen by the editors to read at the beginning of the Ramadan (which starts on Tuesday 13/4). After we read and discuss the story, the students will be shown books about the Ramadan, Arabian Nights stories, etc. The idea is that students get exposed to stories from all over the world, celebrating important days in different cultures – as well as feeling inspired to read books that they would otherwise not think of trying out.

TheTravelingTeacher: School | Book Week

We are looking forward to a great week, full of stories, ideas and energy!

Happy Reading!

Your Library Team,

Sophie & Fleur

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Ready for Reading Festival!

We are ready for the ISGR Reading Festival 2021! You too? Click here to see what will happen in this festive week, in which we celebrate the music of words! Every day, we will have a different focus, and to get the most out, be sure to prepare! Nothing is mandatory though, but of course everyone is invited and encouraged to join the fun! We hope many students and teachers will join in, because the more people do, the more festive it will feel!

The Usborne Book Sale we had in week 11, turned out to be a great success! Books were sold for almost 20 000 SEK! This means 7800 SEK in free books for our school library! Wowsies! Thank you for supporting us that way (while building your own reading culture at home). Sophie and I will focus on the Usborne non-fiction titles, as well as the “See inside”-series (see below for some examples). We know that students, and teachers alike, love these! Now as for the delivery of your ordered books: we are very sorry to say that they are delayed. We counted on the books arriving next week on Monday, so students would receive them during the Reading Festival. Now we might have to wait until after Easter. Yvonne is going to chase up on this, so we’re hoping that the books come faster than that! We will keep you posted of course. Thank you in advance for your patience!

Sophie has discovered some inspiring and fun blogs and websites to get book ideas. Want to know what to read next with your child(ren)? Check out these (in English):

https://www.toppsta.com/
https://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/
https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/our-recommendations/
https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/book-sorter

In Swedish: https://www.barnensbibliotek.se/boktips

Now that we are subscribed to the magazine Storytime, we have received the “Storytime Reading Catch-up Pack”. It’s packed with tips, games and challenges for your children’s reading adventures! A fun activity pack for the Easter Break!

Last week during our library lessons, we were so busy talking about the Reading Festival and how to get ready for that, that we didn’t have much time left to write our poems! A few students managed though:

We are super excited for Reading Festival next week! We hope you too!!!

We end this post with a ‘spoken word’ tip for the older grades; listen to George the Poet about climate change. For the younger readers; listen to Wes Tank rap Dr. Seuss books!

Happy Reading & Listening & Preparing!

Your Library Team,

Sophie & Fleur

How to Write a Poem?

Last week, the students enjoyed looking at the Usborne Books during their library lesson. Many students wrote down titles on their book marks of books that they were interested in. If you would like to buy the Usborne books, remember that tomorrow (Sunday, March 21st) is the last day to order!

Click here to directly access the ordering form.

Email Yvonne with any book questions: ykenglishbooks@gmail.com

Thank you to everyone who has already placed their orders! Once all the other orders have come in, we will let you know how many free books we can choose (because of your purchases!). But we can tell you now already, that it’s been very successful so far! Thank you for building a reading culture in your home, and supporting our school library by doing so!

Next week, we will have a go at writing a poem! With the Foundation and First Grade classes, we will do that together – as a group. From PYP 2 and up, students will be encouraged to write their own poem – either with a friend, or by themselves.

There will be several tools available for the students, such as the magnetic poetry board. We will also have some templates students can use to build their poem with. The most important thing is that we have fun playing with words!

During the Reading Festival in week 13, we will share our own poems with each other! Sunday, March 21st is World Poetry Day. On the UNESCO website, you can read more about the background of this special day. I thought this was especially interesting, which connects so perfectly and beautifully with our Reading Festival, as well as the IB philosophy;

“World Poetry Day is an occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media. As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.” (Find the full article here.)

All are invited to join in! Maybe it could be fun to write a poem as a family? Our idea is to collect the poems the students (and their families!) have written and “publish” it, i.e. make it available as a book in the library to check out.

Looking ahead, Reading Festival is coming up quickly! It might be a good idea to start preparing for it!

Perhaps you could help your child with choosing a tongue twister to share on Tuesday? Or encourage your child to memorize a poem, to recite on Wednesday? The dress-up-as-a-book-character-day, is always very popular. Students are invited to dress like a book character. The idea is that it sparks a conversation between the students; Who are you? Why did you choose that character? What makes it such a good story?

Friday, April 2nd, is the first day of the Easter Holidays. On that day, which is also the International Children’s Book Day, we invite students to join in the Read-A-Thon as a way of concluding the Reading Festival.

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This is how it works:

1) Ask your family, friends and neighbours to sponsor you for the Read-A-Thon. Write down the time and amount they are sponsoring you for. (For example, 15 sek for 15 minutes.)

2) Do the Read-A-Thon at home, on Friday April 2nd. Ask someone at home to time you. The idea is that you read for one long stretch of time (so not chunks spread throughout the day). 

3) If you have read silently for as long as you think you can handle, ask that same person to note the time you’ve read on your sponsor sheet.

4) Your sponsor money can be swished. (Download the form for the swish number.)

5) With the money raised, we will buy books students have requested. If you have participated in the Read-A-Thon itself, you will get to suggest a book you think we should buy for in the library!

I would like to end this post with something that has nothing to do with literature, reading or stories – but with having fun! Kiumbiro, our Swedish Language and Culture teacher, invited a bunch of teachers (including Sophie and myself) to join in the Jerusalema challenge. In other words, to just have some fun during a time when it feels like so many fun things are cancelled! Click here to see the result.

Happy Dancing!

We Are Heroes

Poetry Last week was full of poems, thoughts, guesses and wonderings. We reflected on what poetry is, and what poems can mean to someone. It was very interesting!

Storytime We are now subscribed to Storytime magazine! We will receive three copies of our first issue soon. They will be available for students to check-out and read at home. As long as many parts of the world are in lock-down, parents will receive free access to the pdf version. Click here for the pdf of this month’s issue of the Storytime magazine.

We Are Heroes Also, the same publisher has developed a series of magazines titled We Are Heroes (which connects beautifully with the current PYP 2 unit of inquiry!). These retellings of ancient myths are put together to help children process and cope with the covid-19 pandemic. Click here for the free downloads of these meaningful and uplifting stories.

New Books We are happy to announce that we’ve recently added inspiring and gorgeous picture books to our library collection that feature different painters from around the world, throughout time. These art books are now on loan to the PYP 3 classes, as their current unit of inquiry explores the visual arts. After that, they will be available to all students to check out from our school library.

Usborne Book Sale It is time for our ISGR Usborne Online Book Sale! Not fully online though, more like a hybrid book sale. Next week during our library lesson, students will have a chance to browse the available Usborne books. They will receive a bookmark on which they can write the title(s) they are interested in. When they get home, they can show you – and you can discuss a possible purchase. You can click here to access the online ordering form. The last day to order is Sunday, March 21st. Contact Yvonne directly via ykenglishbooks@gmail.com for any book questions! She has read all the books, so she can help you choose the right book for you! By ordering books, you will support our school library. Thank you!

ISGR Reading Festival In week 13, we will celebrate our annual ISGR Reading Festival! We are very excited! Here are the posters that are up around the school. In next week’s blog, you will find more information about how to get ready for this fun-filled week!

Happy Reading!

Stories to Share

The wind blew my blog post away Sunday evening! So here it is now, on this beautiful Monday.

Happy International Women’s Day! We celebrated this weekend at home, by making Ridley’s Jigsaw Puzzle (1000 pieces) of Inspirational Women (Thank you Tess, for sharing that with us!). My almost-seven-year old son asked me why there were only women on the puzzle; weren’t there any inspirational men? I found myself explaining that for a long time women who had done inspiring and world-changing things were historically often forgotten. That we are in the middle of a time where we focus on and celebrate women’s achievements more. My son said that maybe in the future that won’t be necessary anymore and, “the puzzle can have 50 men and 50 women who did inspiring things.” I thought that was an interesting observation. (Or better yet, I thought later, what if the puzzle simply pictured 100 inspirational people. That it wouldn’t even register or matter to us what gender they have.) I had noticed before that he’s clearly growing up in a different society and time than I was, and definitely my parents. The other day, when we read a story about ‘a long ago time’ where the women had to stay home, waiting for their husbands to come back from war, my son asked, “But why didn’t the women go and fight too? They are just as strong!” This also shows the power of stories, and the power of reading with an open, inquisitive mind!

Here are some books on our current International Women’s Day – display in the library:

Last week, one of our new students who is learning to speak English, was trying to explain to me what book she wanted to check out. She clearly had a specific book in mind. She took one of the other student’s book from last week, showed it to me and said, “New book. Like this!” It was a new origami book, so I showed her our other books on origami. Nope, that’s not what she was looking for. Again, she said, “New book. New book.” Then I realized that I had showed the class new fact books last week during their library lesson. A photo of those books had been posted on our library blog, so I went on the blog and searched for the photo of the new books. She said, “Yes! That one!” It was the 100 things to know about Planet Earth. We were both so happy to have found the book she was looking for!

So on that note, here are some more new books added to our library collection. Most are already checked out to some eager readers. We have put these photos up on our library notice board as well, so students know which books are available, even if they never hit the shelves!

Reading Festival, with its focus on poetry, is happening soon! Last week we started reading, listening and sharing poems. We asked students to describe what a poem is. That is really tricky! Because poems can rhyme, or not. They can be short or long. They can tell us a story, or be full of nonense! An accurate description I heard, and really helped me understand how to describe poetry best, came from a student who said, “Poetry is basically a song without the music.” How observant! This week during library lesson, we will continue with reading aloud poems and sharing our thoughts and feelings about them.

Next week (in week 11), students will have a chance to browse the selected Usborne Books for the online book sale. Yvonne and I have worked closely together to set up this book sale to make it as fun, easy and interesting as possible. Despite being it an online event, and missing Yvonne’s on-site expertise and enthusiasm for the books. Yvonne has mailed the selected Usborne Books to us, so students can look at them during their library lesson in week 11. Students will receive a bookmark (see below) at the end of that library lesson. The QR code on that bookmark will lead to the online google form, which can be used to order the books. The ordered books will be handed over to the children during Reading Festival in week 13. The more books are ordered by the parents, the more free books from Usborne Sophie and I get to choose for in the library. A win-win situation! (Or really, a read-read situation!).

Click here for the direct link to the form. If you wish, you may order from today! Last day to order is Sunday, March 21st. Which is International Poetry Day!

In week 13, during our annual Reading Festival, every day will have a different focus and activity. All activities will take place in the classroom, with the mentor teachers. Due to the COVID-19 recommendations, we will not have mixed-group activities, after-school events, or host external/special guests this year. More detailed information will come soon, but here is a preview of what students can expect: Rap your Way through the Day, Tongue Twister Tuesday, Recite A Poem-Day, Dress Up Day, Read-A-Thon (at home). Each day will be introduced by a short video created by Sophie & I. We also aim to bind all the students’ poems (which they will be writing in week 12) into our own ISGR Poetry Collection book!

This post is a bit longer than usual, with lots of stories to share! Thank you for reading it all through. If you have any questions, thoughts or ideas regarding the upcoming weeks in the library, please feel free to contact us via email. We try to respond as quickly as we can!

To end this post, I’d like to share a comic (as usual!). Last week, I indulged in reading Grant Snider‘s collection of comics I will judge you by your bookshelf, and came across these ones, among many fantasic others:

Happy Reading!

Your Library Team,

Sophie & Fleur

The Music of Words

It was great to see all the students again in the library, after the Sports Break. We continued our read alouds, and made connections with stories we knew or asked ourselves the IB key concept questions.

On the 2nd of April 2021, it is International Children’s Book Day with The Music of Words as its theme. In the upcoming weeks, we will be slowly working towards that special day.

Here’s an overview of what our library lesson focus will be for the next few weeks:

Week 9: Poem Read Alouds. What is a poem? What kind of images do you see in your mind when you hear the poems?

Week 10: We read poems together. What makes poetry different from verse?

Week 11: Browse Usborne Books as part of our Usborne Books Event. Students can browse a selection of Usborne Books during their library lesson. They will bring a book mark home with instructions on how to order. Last date to order is Sunday, 21st of March (on the International Poetry Day!). Students will receive their ordered books before the Easter Break.

Week 12: How do you write a poem? Students who would like to, can write a poem. We will “publish” the poems in a poetry collection, which will be available in our library to check out!

Week 13: ISGR Reading Festival! During our library lesson, we will share the poems created by our classmates. Every day of the week, will have one focused activity (Dress Up Day, for example) related to celebrating reading, and The Music of Words in particular. More specific information will come later.

We’ve got some great new non-fiction titles in our library:

Happy Reading!