The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Saturday Book Share: Shoots and Reading Ladders

I’m continuing my weekly “Pull up a chair, it’s a Saturday Book Share” theme, bloggers are welcome join me! Thank you to @ipushbooks for joining in with the meme! I’m focused on the positives of bed rest, one of them is that I can professionally grow by reading materials that have waited for me to read them… like today’s feature: Reading Ladders by Teri S. Lesesne, what a treasure of a professional book.


I sat and read Reading Ladders Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We’d Like Them to Be by Teri S. Lesesne @professornana from cover to cover. Sometimes I had to adapt and think primary as Teri shared her insights into YA content but overall it was one of those professional books that I appreciated from beginning to end. I initially purchased this book because I appreciate Teri’s insights shared on and secondly because I was hoping to expand my ability to identify the next book for some of my readers who are stuck in that rut… I’ve tried similar themes, genres, and writing style recommendations but they’re just not moving forward from a favorite series or book… I know some children need to reread a book a few times to get it through their system, process it, reflect and notice different nuances throughout but sometimes I want to get that student who is reading Percy Jackson series books to move into the Ranger’s Apprentice series… Sometimes I want to get that student who has read the fantastic Babymouse series three times through to move forward into reading Frankie Pickle or Geronimo Stilton. So I was quite curious about Reading Ladders.

I appreciated the powerful content all the way through this book. Learning another professional’s opinion on how to begin to build lifelong readers, motivate readers, develop and build reading ladders and additionally how to assess those readers was a fascinating experience. Often I’d jump up and say “yes!” that’s exactly what I think too! Other times I’d pause and reflect on another take on reading aloud, book talking, and helping children find the “right” book. My key quote that I’m taking from the book is: “You should aspire to be known as the book person in your classroom and in your school. Be the one who knows the good books and shares them through reading aloud and book talking. Be the person who has those good books in the classroom and how knows how to help students find them in the library as well…”

So, I really took to heart the portion on reading ladders in the book. I appreciated the realization that I already have done reading ladders in practice for years, just didn’t put a name to it. Here’s Teri’s definition of what a reading ladder is: “A reading ladder is a series or set of books that are related in some way and that demonstrate a slow gradual development from simple to more complex.” So I sat back and thought about my tried and true practices of leading students up these reading ladders, my successes and failures. As a primary teacher librarian, I’ve certainly placed the right book in a child’s hand hundreds of times over the years and then anticipated the eventual return of the child that day or a few days after with the “What’s next, I LOVED this book Mrs. Alvarez!” Often I’ve enjoyed connecting students with books of a similar genre or theme and I’ve created numerous bookmarks in the past that work towards these aims. But since I heard of the concept of a reading ladder, I’m constantly thinking of connections between the books and what I’d recommend to a student next to help them grow as a passionate reader.

My push to help children find their love of reading is one where I try to demonstrate balance. Explaining to my students that having a balanced selection of books, series, genres, and writing styles will help them grow as readers. So I think I’m a little bit of a chutes and ladders teacher librarian. Sometimes if I see a student has read Redwall by Brian Jacques, I’ll ask if they’ve enjoyed the graphic novel adaptation or the picture book connected with it before I recommend reading Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel. Other times I’ll notice an older student reading I want my hat back by Jon Klassen and remind them that A Series of Unfortunate Events has a pretty fun dark twisted approach as well. I am always trying to support my student’s reading growth but since I’m in the primary school, I also feel I have the flexibility to embrace the love of reading at many levels and celebrate a students’ opportunity to have a balanced selection while they grow as readers.

Grateful to have the time to sit back and enjoy Reading Ladders and reflect on the ideas within the book treasure. Thank you to Teri S. Lesesne for continuing to blog and inspire as well! She always makes me quietly ponder different educational situations in connection with literacy. I’m looking forward to creating my own official reading ladders.

Here is my first “go” at creating a reading ladder from one of my favorites- novels in verse… it was quite a challenge to limit myself on this creation and actually I only included four of many favorite authors who create pretty incredible novels in verse…

Novels in Verse

About Pull up a chair, it’s a Saturday Book Share: I’ve had many books I review that I just want to feature. Simple and easy, celebrate a new book encounter. So that’s what Saturday Book Share is about for me, celebrating books! Perhaps some days I’ll share the book with a short reading of a portion. Or perhaps other days I’ll just share a glimpse of the book.

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.
What book treasure will you find?

4 comments on “Styling Librarian: Saturday Book Share: Shoots and Reading Ladders

  1. chinabobnsue
    October 26, 2013

    Dear Debbie, Amazing how for years we carry on getting books into the hands of kids and then find out what are are doing has a name. I think it is wonderful how the educational establishment is always seeking to address the needs of an ever/always changing constituancy. Over the years so many academics, in  writing a thesis, seek highest and best practice, and in so doing look to find what is working in the classroom. This then becomes a doctoral thesis and can easily lead to the next wave of educational initiatives. Whether we get credit is moot, but sure feels right when someone finds what we do valuable  As always, another excellent post. 

    We are taking our fall break to see how far I can get in my next book and to see if I can finally figure out who I am and what I might have to add to the blogoshpere. It’s been a month since the blog went up and my oh my do I need to figure out, what I thought I had already figured out, figured out.  

    Best for a return to good health ASAP. Bob

    • The Styling Librarian
      October 26, 2013

      Good luck with productivity during fall break! And enjoy sorting out what you’ll add to the blogosphere! 🙂

  2. ipushbooks
    October 27, 2013

    Thanks for the mention and the meme. I am finding meme participation prevents laziness–I just can’t imagine not fulfilling the meme mission of the week. Too. much. guilt. 🙂

    As a junior high librarian, the idea of reading ladders is new to me, And it makes so much sense. Because even though I know the same readers for 3 years instead of 5 or 6, they still do a tremendous amount of growing in their reading over those 3 years. This is definitely a concept to which I will give more thought.

    • The Styling Librarian
      October 27, 2013

      Thanks for participating! 🙂 I agree, committing to a meme helps me focus in and avoid laziness. I’m always hesitant to adding more since I know once I commit I usually don’t drop things.

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