The Ranger’s Apprentice

I have always enjoyed reading to my students. I love finding a book that enthralls my students and has them asking for, “Just one more page!” I fondly remember discovering Harry Potter with my fourth grade class and reading them the first three books and waiting excitedly for “The Goblet of Fire” to be released so we could read it together.

To better help my students choose books to read I have made a point of reading a lot of children’s and young adult fiction. I love reading these books and sharing and discussing them with my students. While putting together the list “101 Book Series for Children” one of my students suggested I read John Flanagan’s “The Ranger’s Apprentice” series. While reading the first book “The Ruins of Gorlan” I felt the same excitement and connection I felt while reading the first Harry Potter novel. I have since read the first four books (there are only four released in the US) and have enjoyed them all immensely.

If you are looking for a series to read to your students try “The Ranger’s Apprentice” it will keep you and your students captivated for hours. For more information about “The Ranger’s Apprentice” please visit the website. I believe this series would be suitable for Grades 4 and up.


AudibleKidsFor a number of years teachers have used books on tape and CD as an effective educational tool. These audiobooks have been used in a number of ways, such as exposing children to books above their reading age, developing reading skills and, of course, enjoyment.

The online audio book store Audible have over 45 000 audiobooks, predominately for adults. With the help of parents and educators Audible has launched AudibleKids. AudibleKids has over 4 000 children’s books by authors such Morris Gleitzman, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Christopher Paolini and John Flannagan. These books are generally downloaded as one file which makes them easy to use and store on a computer or mp3 devise. Audible has certain geographical restrictions. So please check to see if the book you want is available in your country before you sign up. Audible audiobooks can be played on an iPod and on over 230 other devices. Audible is also working with Reading Is Fundamental and as a result are offering some books for free.

I have recommended that parents of the students in my class use audiobooks at home. Audiobooks can be enjoyed as a whole family and by a child while they are travelling or playing.

If you have any comments or questions please email me.

Comprehension Strategy: Here, Hidden, Head

readingTeaching children how to comprehend written information is one of the most fundamental aspects of teaching. However, what does it mean to comprehend? This is a complex question and one that is often debated amongst educators. While some teachers may argue that children learn to comprehend as a by product of learning to read, I have found that children’s comprehension improves when they are taught specific comprehension strategies.

The following comprehension strategy is very useful when teaching children how to approach and answer written comprehension questions. The children are taught that comprehension questions often fall within three broad categories; here, hidden and head. Here (right there) refers to questions that are easy to locate and generally found in one sentence. Hidden (think and search) are answered by joining together information in a text and Head (world in your head) questions ask for the child’s opinion or for information that is not contained in the text.

Click on the link below to download a Word file outlining this strategy. I have found this poster useful to enlarge, laminate and put up on my classroom wall for the children to refer to.

Here, Hidden, Head.doc

For more information please see Adrian Bruce’s wonderful work on comprehension.

101 book series for children

One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is watching children develop a love of reading. The Harry Potter books inspired many children to read, however, a common question teachers and parents hear is, “What do I read after Harry Potter?” To help answer this question I enlisted the help of the children in my class. I asked them to list the book series they have enjoyed over the past few years. I compiled their responses and with some further research, came up with a list of 101 book series for children. The wonderful thing about book series is they develop a sense of expectation. As a child finishes one book they automatically have something to reach for.

I hope this list helps teachers, parents and children find book series that foster a love of literacy. Please print out the list and let children explore their favourite library or book store. Remembering that school and local librarians are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to children’s literatutre. I compiled the list with the the ages 8 to 14 in mind. In my experience children have particularly enjoyed reading the following authors; Eoin Colfer, John Flanagan, Anthony Horowitz, Robert Muchamore, Garth Nix, Christopher Paolini, Emily Rodda and Carole Wilkinson. If you have other book series you would like to share please contact me by clicking the about tab. The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge site has an extensive list of children’s novels sorted by grades.

101 book series for children

101 book series for children.doc