Jul 7, 2013

Let's Get Our Boys Reading! {mentor text suggestions, a task card, and a wonderful informational text resource}

Happy Sunday Teacher Friends ~ I have a fabulous mentor text suggestion for you today!

Are you familiar with Fred Bowen?  As teachers, you might be familiar with his fictional chapter books related to sports topics.  Did you know that he is actually a sports writer for the KidsPost, the children's edition of the Washington Post?  His column, The Score, is written especially for kids and is a big hit in my classroom.  It provides authentic and manageable reading for my little athletes!

pic from Google Images

In the eyes of my boys, this makes him a pretty cool dude!  Can you think of a better way to lure a young boy to a chapter book than to hook him on the author via a current article about sports?  Once you have him hooked on the author, you just might be able to hook him on his chapter books.  Whatever it takes, right?

I see a double deal with Mr. Bowen.  Nonfiction news articles, printed or explored via the internet, to use with Common Core's Informational Texts standards, and then hop right over to work on a few Literacy Standards using his novels.  You just might turn a non-reader into a motivated reader that can't put down his novel about football, or baseball, etc.  Check out a few of Mr. Bowen's books and be sure to check out his articles linked above.

And many more!
One of my favorite novels by Fred Bowen is Touchdown Trouble! A fun, easy read that incorporates football and a few valuable lessons.  If you aren't familiar with the "Fifth Down" that occurred between Dartmouth and Cornell in 1940, you will want to ask football fan! Mr. Bowen ties in a bit of football trivia and references this historical play in the novel, in a fun way!  It's a great story to use to compare and contrast characters, and to work on inferring character traits.  Why not take the month of September to get your boys, and even your girls motivated to read? A little Fred Bowen in the fall, just might hook your football fans for the remainder of the year!  With a 660 lexile, it is not intimidating and is manageable for most readers.  

Here's a Task Card to help students see how an author develops his main character(s).  I hope you can use it.  It works well with any text with strong characters.  If you decide to use Touchdown Trouble, you might find these articles, Men of Honor and The Fifth Down Game useful.  Both are nonfiction pieces that talk about the real Fifth Down that happened between Cornell and Dartmouth in 1940, and are fun to use along with the novel.  I've included a few close reading tips and comprehension questions to go with the second article.  It's a tough read, but a valuable text with proper scaffolding.  Also a great way to get some dads involved with reading!  They are going to want to borrow this book from their kids. :)


Hope you can use some of these books to get your boys, and maybe even your girls reading this fall!  Enjoy your day. Click over and visit Collaboration Cuties to see other Mentor Texts that have been linked up for this fabulous party!


~Before you go~
I had a little issue with 2 Bloglovin' accounts, and I have no idea how that happened!  
My apologies, but if you were already a follower, I may have accidentally deleted you, and I would have never, ever done that on purpose!  If you would like to continue to follow, please click below to make sure we are still linked.  If you weren't a follower, I would still love to have ya!  Sorry for the confusion.  Have a great Sunday!

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  1. Morning, glory :) I was following the right account on Bloglovin', I guess because when I clicked, it was fine. This is a great mentor text and idea, Brandee. We've got to find a way to hook those boys ;)

    Fun in Room 4B

  2. I love love love these ideas!! This is so great! I love that they can compare nonfiction with fiction AND read articles! Awesome!

    Thanks for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

  3. No worries, I was following the right one:). And thanks for The Kiids Post - awesome resource! I love the kids CNN news too!

  4. Thanks for the book suggestions. I'm always looking for books for my boys.
    I wasn't aware of KidsPost either!

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  5. Brandee,
    Getting the boys reading feels like my main job sometimes. I love your choices and I'm going to push a couple of my boys this way.

    As for the 5th Down book...something like this happened with Colorado in the 90's and it helped thme win a national championship....

    this is video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0ZvY8h6xbY
    this is an article from espn: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=101006/FifthDown

    This video itself is great story telling and really adds to it.

    great post
    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  6. AWESOME! And you are right, I just asked my dad (an avid sports fan) about the fifth down and I got an earful. I'm definitely going to grab some of these books. Thanks!


  7. Every year I have a couple of boys who aren't pleased with anything in my library. I just added of few of books from this series to my cart. Thank you for sharing!

    Foreman Teaches

  8. Love your characterization pyramid! I am wondering, would these books be appropriate for high functioning second grade readers? It is always a challenge to find texts that they can comprehend (vocabulary in particular) and that are appropriate at their higher reading levels. I am always on the lookout... Thanks so much for this thoughtful post!

    Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

  9. I struggle to hook some of my books on reading so I appreciate the suggestions. That is awesome that you can link the non-fiction articles with the chapter books, what a great hook. Thanks for the character pyramid, it will be a great addition to my reading resources!!

  10. As the mother of boys, and the teacher of many more boys, I really appreciated this!
    Whimsy Workshop

  11. My son loves reading but still great to know about the KidsPost

  12. I loved this post and the chart, too. I might use it for my school visits--great to explain what I do.

    I'll check out Fred Bowen's books!

  13. I hadn't ever heard of this resource before. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  14. Great ideas! I need to make it a priority to pick up books specifically for my boys.

    Literacy Spark

  15. Hi Brandee,

    I read your comment on another blog and wanted to come for a visit. I'm a reading specialist in grade 1-5 and I love to connect with other literacy teachers.

    I'm following you on Bloglovin' now. :)

    Read With Me ABC

  16. Hi Brandee,

    I'm following you on Bloglovin' and I love this post. Sometimes boys are really hard to motivate at this age and this is perfect. Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings of a Teacher

  17. The Touchdown Trouble book looks like one that could be a hit in my class. I'm going to Pin It to a board I have on Third Grade Reads. Thanks for including the lexile! I have boys that would be very interested in reading about the real Fifth Down.

    Learning in the Little Apple

  18. You are always so creative in the text resources you pick to share. It is so good to be reminded to think outside of the box.
    Have a great week.

    School Is a Happy Place

  19. I had not heard of Fred Bowen or Kids Post. I looked at the website and now I'm going to order some of the books. As always thanks for sharing such great ideas and posts.

    room 4 imagination

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