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What fun it was on Tuesday to have 11 students and their siblings join me for my first Zoom storytime. We will be having these every week on Tuesdays from 1-1:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 11-11:30 a.m. I so enjoy how we can come together through stories. Wednesday begins a chapter book read aloud with Mrs. Clohisy on Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 1:30-2:00 p.m. She will be featuring the hilarious How to Eat Frie
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Let’s Draw with Drew Brockington

Drew Brockington, the author of the popular graphic novel series, Catstronauts, Skyped with our comic book club a couple years ago, and he is beloved by many of our SFX students. I have discovered that he now has launched a YouTube channel to provide his readers with art lessons. Be sure to share this with your aspiring comic book artists. In this first episode of his YouTube channel called “Let’s Draw To
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Let’s Go to the Moon

Two weeks ago marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. To celebrate that, I wanted to share this wonderful video of author Brad Meltzer reading his book I am Neil Armstrong, an inspiring biography spotlighting Armstrong’s perseverance and determination. I am always amazed by how children can make the most of any space they occupy. I hope you enjoy the ingenuity of today’s #getcaughtreading ph
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4th-6th Grade Graphic Novel Book Club

Since we have been sheltering in place, I have been meeting with any interested 4th-6th grade students for a weekly Zoom book club. We have discussed a variety of books and next week we will be meeting on Friday, May 1 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss two graphic novels by Nathan Hale, who visited SFX last year. We will be discussing his new book, Major Impossible, as well as his book Underground Abductor. Both of these books
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Rosemary Wells’s Max and Ruby

Rosemary Wells, author of the popular Max and Ruby along with many other books, has created a charming coloring sheet for children featuring Max and Ruby engaging in hand washing. Your child may enjoy coloring Max and Ruby and reinforcing the importance of hand-washing. Today’s video is Rosemary Well’s Bunny Cakes featuring Max and Ruby and Max’s desire to make the perfect cake for Grandma. Today I
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Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Today’s video features popular author/illustrator Todd Parr reading his book The Earth Book. After watching the video, you can download this Children Around the World coloring sheet for your child to color. I hope you have had a chance to begin your SFX/SJS scavenger hunt using the map that was sent out to families today via the SFX Update. I have been loving the original and creative murals I
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Book Fair Class Visits and SFX/SJS Mural Scavenger Hunt Begins

What a great time I had Monday visiting our 1st grade classrooms talking about the book fair and sharing our common love of books. Mrs. McIntyre’s Kindergarten class was so excited to show me the books they have been busy reading at home. Thanks to all of you who have already gone online to shop the book fair. There are so many books to choose from. Be sure to visit the book fair website Coming next week I will
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Books to Help Children Understand Coronavirus

Welcome Back! I hope you all had a restful albeit snowy spring break and a joyous Easter. In these difficult times, many organizations are pulling together to create resources to help children understand COVID-19. Candlewick Press, a reputable children’s publisher, has just published this book Coronavirus: A Book for Children. It is a free downloadable book that really helps explain to children what is going on
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A return to comics

Many of our students love graphic novels. I found this article today that highlights webcomics that can help keep children engaged during these days at home. One of the highlighted comics features characters from one of this year’s Battle of the Books titles, Lupin Leaps In. Hope your kiddos find some comics they enjoy. I have such from memories of grabbing the newspaper from my parents when I was child to read
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This is a Great Time to Cook Together

I thought I would put a different spin on today’s blog post. My family and I have been doing more cooking and baking since we have started sheltering in place and I was excited when I found this recipe for resurrection rolls. The website also includes the story of the history of resurrection rolls and is a fun item to bake with your children while celebrating the empty tomb. In addition, via Hoopla a free digit
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Harry Potter Escape Room at Home

Looking for a fun activity to do during your spring break staycation, try the Harry Potter Escape Room. The escape room was created by staff at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA. My family and I will be trying it out over the break! It’s a great way to visit Hogwarts without leaving home. Today’s video comes from beloved children’s author, Eric Carle. As the spring weather continues thi
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Celebrating Children’s Book Week

Each spring, the Children’s Book Council and children’s publishers celebrate Children’s Book Week. The 2020 campaign features the theme “Read, Dream, Share” and spotlights a coloring book with coloring pages designed by some of well-known children’s book illustrators. The full coloring book, as well as individual coloring pages, can be downloaded on the Children’s Book Week w
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Harry Potter at Home and Creepy Carrots Video

With many of her fans homebound, J.K. Rowling recently launched “Harry Potter at Home.” Via this website, readers of all ages and their families can access Harry Potter-related activities and free downloads. Through April, users can get free audiobook and ebook versions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, through partnerships with Audible and OverDrive. Crafts, quizzes and other activities will be available on
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Our Next 4th-6th Grade Book Discussion

What a fun time we had this afternoon, when 9 SFX students and I gathered via Zoom to discuss the book Space Case by Stuart Gibbs. The students had such enthusiasm that we are having another book discussion for 4th-6th grade students on Thursday, April 9 at 2:00 p.m. Our book that we will be discussing next week is Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. In the book, twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has discover
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Dav Pilkey in Your Home

Many of our early elementary students love author/illustrator Dav Pilkey, creator of the very popular Captain Underpants  and Dog Man series. Mr. Pilkey is joining with the Library of Congress to offer online content to engage his fans.  Dav Pilkey at Home will feature new video content created by Pilkey himself on Friday mornings at 8 a.m. ET on social media channels and the websites of the Library and Scholastic, t
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Spotlight on My Capstone Library

Many children’s educational companies have opened up their licensing rights to all access to all children during this time of elearning. One of the products we have acquired that I would heartily recommend is My Capstone Library. It is featured on our reading resources page on the Elearning page. My Capstone Library is a collection of over 5, 000 books for children including craft books, story books and graphic
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Beloved Classic Charlotte’s Web

Book publishers are being very generous during these trying times and opening up the rights to many of their books and audiobooks. Today, Penguin Random House Publishing released a free audiobook version of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.  This recording is narrated by the renowned Meryl Streep and is a wonderful family book to listen to and enjoy together. My featured video of the day is from beloved child
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A fun story with Grover

Today I discovered this video of Grover reading his own book, The Monster at the End of This Book. This book was a favorite of my daughters when they were little so hope you and your children enjoy it. Please say hello to your children for me and let them know they can email me at lindasawyer@sfx-school.org and I would be happy to arrange a face to face meeting if they want to talk books or want to read a story to me
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Online Book Club for 4th-6th grade

I am launching an online book discussion for 4th-6th grade. We will be reading the book Space Case by Stuart Gibbs. This digital book and it’s eaudiobook are readily available via many ebook platforms. Hoopla has unlimited copies of the audiobook for downloading. If your 4th-6th grade student would like to be part of the discussion, please fill out this Google form so I can reach out to you and your child to co
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For Kindergarten-4th Grade Students

For the past 10 weeks, I have been working with our K-4th grade students on reading and promoting the Illinois Bluestem and Monarch nominees. The Monarch award is for Kindergarten-2nd grade students and the Bluestem is for 3rd-5th. We held our SFX elections last week where students got to vote for their favorite of the 20 nominees and this week the winners throughout the state of Illinois were announced. Since we are
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Get Caught Reading Campaign

Thank you to all of you have shared photos of your Crusader reading in their favorite spot at home. Below are just a few of the ones I have received. Please keep those photos coming to lindasawyer@sfx-school.org My fun book related video of the day comes from award winning author/illustrator Grace Lin. I just finished reading Ms. Lin’s book Big Mooncake for Little Star to all of our Kindergarten-2nd grade stude
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Bluesteam Reading Challenge Reminder

This time at home is a great opportunity for our 3rd-5th grade students to complete the Bluestem Reading Challenge. I have been telling the students about this program over the past few months. If they read all 20 of the Bluestem nominees by May 1 we will celebrate with a pizza party in late May/early June. Students can track their reading on the Bluestem Reading Challenge log. For our 6th-8th grade students, we have
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Two Great Audiobook Resources and a Fun Video for the Day

In today’s blog post I would like to highlight two great reading resources to support your students while we are doing eLearning. The first is the Axis 360 ebook and digital audiobook database. All 5th-8th grade students have access to it via their school IPads and they each have been given their own unique user id and password, as well as have received training. I would like to open this resource up to our Kin
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Great America Read to Succeed

Please know that while we are not in school and are participating in eLearning from home, I am here to support you and your children and their reading. In the coming days, I will be sending out a list of digital resources to support your child’s literacy needs. While fortunately the weather is allowing for some good outdoor walks, I do want to remind you that are partnering with the Read to Succeed program agai
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Towervale Event Coming to SFX

We are thrilled to announce that SFX will play host to an exciting Towervale event here on campus on Tuesday, March 10th. Towervale is an intriguing new book series by Patrick Carman that incorporates reading and video gaming. Carman is a well-respected children’s author and the Towervale event is interactive and promises to entice our most reluctant readers with the fusion of reading and gaming. The series is
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