I began working on my goal of reading the Iowa Children's Choice Award nominees with the book Hold Fast by Blue Balliet.
This is a fast, moving mystery about a father who disappears and his family who ends up living in a homeless shelter. The story unfolds as Early Pearl, the daughter of the missing man,works to solve the mystery and bring her father home.
Shortly into the book, I decided to use it as my first chapter book read aloud in August. Upon making this decision I consulted my copy of the Iowa Core, the Daily 5 and The CAFE Book to see what skills I could use this book to teach.
First off this book is filled with the love of words. Each chapter begins with a highlighted word or two which the author shares the origin and definition of the highlighted words with the reader. This makes it a great way to introduce your class word collector and the skill tune into interesting words.
To go along with this I am thinking about doing Wonderful Word Wednesday. Each Wednesday we would begin our day sharing in our community circle any wonderful words we have found in our reading during the prior week. This idea is not completely original, I saw a similar idea but can not recall where I saw it!
There are any number of spots in this story where you could use the check for understanding and backup and reread skills. This book could also be used to teach using prior knowledge. You could read the inside of the front cover and discuss the genre. Then have students share what they know about the mystery genre. You could discuss what you and your students know about the author. For information about the author check out her website "Blue Balliet" After reading page 5, you could have students share with an elbow partner what experience they have had with family pictures. These are just a few ideas for teaching skills using Hold Fast. If you have others chime in!