Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Many years ago, in a speech at CCIRA, Richard Allington said something that I have never forgotten. Allington suggested that we as teachers should imagine the weakest reader we knew walking into our classrooms. He asked us to think about what reading materials were available in our classrooms for that reader. The room was silent as people mentally scanned their classroom libraries, then Allington went even further. He asked us to think about which of those materials the reader would actually find appealing enough to WANT to read. I've returned to that question many times as I have worked in classrooms or supported kids as they learned to read. What texts are available for this child to read? Which texts will he/she want to read?

This week, I received a new book from National Geographic Kids. Weird But True 3 is absolutely perfect for struggling readers.

Some of the facts have to do with the natural world:
  • One of the world's fastest snakes, the black mamba, can slither up t0 7 miles per hour.
  • Your stomach would digest itself without mucus.
  • It takes 8 minutes and 19 seconds for light to travel from the sun to the Earth.
Some of them have to do with interesting words:
  • A group of rhinos is called a crash.
  • A five seat bicycle is called a quindem.
  • Lachanophobia is the fear of vegetables.
And some of them are just downright silly:
  • A company in India made a pair of underpants that are 58 feet wide- that's wider than three large SUV's.
  • A British man ate 36 cockroaches in a minute.
  • Rats can't burp. Also, birds don't sweat.
And there are also plenty of facts that are just plain gross. Did you know, for instance, that a Scottish dish named haggis is cooked inside a sheep's stomach?

This book would be perfect for any reader, but especially those kids that struggle. First, it's super interesting and engaging. Each fact is no more than one or two sentences. The book is arranged with anywhere from 1-5 facts, some with really nice photos, some with interesting fonts, on a page. I can picture kids reading and rereading, sharing it with friends, asking me questions, until it falls apart.

Definitely one that belongs in every classroom library!

1 comment:

Laura Lynn Benson said...

You always help me focus on what I most need to grow within my teaching (and spirit). Thank you so much, treasured friend xoxoxo