I plan on reading this at the end of the year (this year) to encourage my kiddos to write over the summer and then next year I will read it at the beginning of the year to help kiddos come up with some great journaling ideas about their summer experience. I think I will use my document camera when reading aloud so my students can see how interactive the story is.
I would categorize this story with Gooney Bird Green in it's future importance in my class for writing motivation!
In Maier's children's novel, twins Max and Maggie just started their summer after fourth grade. Their mom, who is a former English teacher, gives them a journal in which they must write throughout the summer. WRITING... TOGETHER... IN THE SUMMER.... yikes!!! They each have to write 12 entries, switching who picks the topic. They are expected to read each others' entries and are allowed to comment on each others' entries (as long as they're polite). The back and forth comments between Max and Maggie in addition to seeing each twin's perspective keeps the reader engaged! Their comments to each other are funny and sarcastic and keep the narrative moving. I guarantee your students will love the uniqueness that the opposing views, different handwriting, variety of doodles and more. Max and Maggie are very likable characters and I found myself wanting to know even more about them!
Journaling books are super popular right now (and honestly, I LOVE them!) and this book is certainly accessible and of interest to students in grades 2-6 which as a 2nd grade teacher is a huge deal for me.
I find that many journaling style books although high interest, are not necessarily as accessible or "appropriate" for 2nd and 3rd graders, so I'm loving the possibilities this series will present for my 2nd graders who can't seem to get away from the journal type books no matter who the intended audience is!
This journaling story is also unique because of the two different views... this truly is a book that boys AND girls will enjoy equally! Not to mention ANYONE with a sibling!!!
Do you want to check out this book yet? You should!!!
Reading Level: This book is very new and has yet to make any lists with DRA, Guided Reading or Lexile levels. I will update this when one of these levels is available.
Everything I read said this story was appropriate for grades 2-6.
Teachers: here are some resources to help you use this book in your class...
- Video - Show this video of a 4th grader reviewing the story to get students excited about reading Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer
- Character Blogs - Okay so the website for this book is outstanding... it includes character blogs... how exciting for students to be able to interact with the book's characters after reading!?
- Journaling - Yet another source from the book's website... this page offers a set of links for using a journal at home or at school!
- Book Website - All of the above resources are available through the book's website, which has even more for you to look through, so go check it out!
- Facebook Page - go check out the facebook page for this series so you know all about it when a new book comes out! Right now there are create your own journal books available as a part of the series.
As I read, I jotted down any words students might need exposure to ahead of time or could be great words to ask students to create a 4-square for (during reading) and maybe even jigsaw to help ALL your students understand the words. Your need to focus on these words will certainly depend on the grade level & ability level of your students.
All words that I chose are tier 2 words... exceptional, interchangeably, innocent, hysterical, irritated, defiance, sarcastic, excessive, petrified, arrogant.
Before Reading: Have students discuss their experience with keeping a journal.. Have you ever had a journal? What did you/would you write about? Would you ever share a journal with someone?
- Choose an entry and have students compare and contrast Maggie and Max's points of view.
- Choose an entry where Max and Maggie have opposing views. Ask students to discuss why they think Max and Maggie have different points of view. This would be a great opportunity to discuss point of view in regards to characters in reading as well as problem solving issues between classmates when there are differing points of view!
- Launch student journals after reading this book!
- Use the pages at the end of the story for students to brainstorm what they will include in their journal and answer questions about their journal.
I really enjoyed this book and I hope you will consider using it in your classroom! You can purchase a copy on Amazon. I see no better way to encourage students to write than using books like this one that are both about children writing AND high interest!