Top Ten Picture Books That Encourage Us To Get Outside And Explore by Wendy BooydeGraaff — Nerdy Book Club


Autumn is my favorite season of all. There is just something special about the dazzling fall display of colors, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet and the urge to savor the remaining warm days before winter approaches. Autumn also means sweater weather and time to enjoy comfort foods. Blog writer Wendy BooydeGraff recommends that we take time to enjoy the outdoors and read some books highlighting the great outdoors. 


Reading seems like an indoor thing, or maybe an outdoor activity if there’s a hammock or a nice chaise lounge nearby. These picture books, though, encourage a whole lot more than that. They inspire kids and adults to get outside and interact with nature, the weather, the wide, wide world, no matter what season or […]

via Top Ten Picture Books That Encourage Us To Get Outside And Explore by Wendy BooydeGraaff — Nerdy Book Club

Self-Monitoring – What Is It and How Can It Help Readers?

Over the years, parents have often asked me, “How can I help my child when he is reading at home?” Often times, parents encourage their child to “sound it out” a word that they may not know. The “sound it out” strategy can help some of the times but there are even more tools to help. 

Self-monitoring strategies are some of the most helpful reading strategies. Self-monitoring involves the child to think carefully about his/her thinking and adapt something if it does not make sense, does not sound right or does not look right. I like to teach the students the big word, metacognition which means thinking about thinking. When readers self-monitor, they are thinking about their thinking. 

When readers encounter something they can not understand or that just doesn’t make sense, they need to get out their fix-up strategies which are tools to repair reading. Watch my podcast to find out more about fix-up strategies. 

Fix-Up Strategies Podcast


Wrestling with Technology


I have always aspired/ strived/ dreamed of becoming tech-savvy. Being able to communicate and connect with others using technology tools intrigues me. Expressing oneself creatively is also very important to me and I love how anyone with an internet connection can establish an online voice. In this quest to become more skilled at technical endeavors, I jump at opportunities to attend sessions on integrating technology within current lessons. Hearing about cool things that my kids, friends and colleagues are able to do amazes and inspires me. Ok and if truth be known, sometimes the amazing tech things that others can do makes me a little green with envy. I have watched tutorials and brainstormed lists in my idea incubator but there seems to be huddles that I am unsure how to overcome. Most of my quest to become more tech- savvy is in the idea stage instead of the action stage. One way to picture the vast amount of ideas floating in my brain is to picture a ginormous Pinterest board. Sometimes this lady needs a little nudge big shove in the right direction before proceeding forward. The great thing about taking a class like Literacy and Technology as a part of my graduate program, I got the push that I needed to make the goal of becoming  tech-savvy a reality. 

The creation of this blog is one of the pushes to enable me to become a techie some day. It started off fairly well when I wanted to upload pictures and add pages but then I ran into a few snags while setting up the widgets. (Widget: a module on a website, in an application, or in the interface of a device that allows users to access information or perform a function. I wanted to share the wonderful list of blogs that I follow and my Goodreads list but could not figure this out so quickly. I felt like a wrestler, being constantly contorted and twisted by my limitations. I persisted and decided that I would not let the challenger pin me down. I pleaded with my tech support (a.k.a. 3 teenage children) to help me. Next, I appealed to my techie husband and brother-in-law to help me. I read and reread (and reread some more) the help boxes, trying to figure out the technical lingo and follow the steps. Then I attempted to replicate and follow the steps, with no avail. I read and reread again. And then I attempted again. This process was a vicious cycle of the dog chasing its own tail. After following the advice of my brother-in-law and my instructor to “walk away from the blog” for a cool down session which consisted of several days, I was ready to go back into the ring and try again. 

This challenge causes me to think of the Biblical wrestler, Jacob who wrestles with a man in the dark. The man requests that Jacob lets him go. Jacob does not let go, unless the opponent agrees to bless him. The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” Jacob is renamed to Israel and walks away with a limp and a new understanding. 

Back with fierce determination, I embrace the challenge of figuring out how to post widgets. After playing with it, I get the results that I desired. Hooray! I have wrestled with technology and have come away blessed. While I did not see the face of God as Jacob did after his wrestling match, I am changed. I am blessed with a new understanding and a new outlet of expression in the form of a blog. Even though I think I may have walked away with a few joints out of place too, I am proud that I persisted and can count this small victory as a big step on my journey to become tech-savvy. 

Learning something new can be a lot like a wrestling match. It can get sweaty, frustrating and painful. Like wrestling, learning something new can give you a new outlook, new skills and a new confidence that you can achieve your goals when you set you mind to it. I share my small victories in learning with my students because I want them to know that learning can be rewarding. My hope for my students is that they become life-long learners who will press on when they meet challenges. 

Location! Location! Location! Where do you read?

The purpose of this new blog, Reedsburg Reads is to celebrate and support reading across the Reedsburg community. Reedsburg Reads is a place to connect with others, share what you are reading & writing and make a difference in the lives of others through the power of literacy.

Where is your happy place? As I consider the old adage, “Location! Location! Location!” I am curious about the location where you like to read the most. Do you prefer to situate yourself among other people when you read or do you enjoy the solitude of reading alone? My favorite place to read is a sunny spot in the house surrounded by my favorite books, sticky notes and colorful pens. In a way, I feel like a contented little cat perched up on the back of the couch, taking in the warmth of the sunshine. On rainy days, I like to curl up with a blanket, a good book and some soup simmering in the kitchen. Bedtime has been a special time in our home for reading and connecting. My car is another happy place for leisurely reading. I enjoy listening to audio books that I check out of the library. The library is one of the best bargains in town! I recently finished the audio book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. In this book, Susan Cain shares the often overlooked strengths that introverts possess and encourages all to appreciate and utilize these strengths.

Please post a picture of your favorite reading spot and tell a little about what you are currently reading.