Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries - A New Series Kicks Off with FROGS!

Yes, today's normally my Nonfiction Picture Book day, but I am excited to announce that there will be a new feature that will be showing up periodically called Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries. I'll be teaming up with Great Kid Books, 100 Scope Notes, & The Nonfiction Detectives  to explore nonfiction texts around a theme that can be used by teachers or librarians to support the new Common Core State Standards being adopted and implemented in many states.  I would like to thank Mary Ann Scheuer for getting the ball rolling on this great idea, and Travis Jonker for creating the wonderful image/logo (see above).     

Today's spotlight will be on Frogs.  Don't forget to check out the other posts as part of this series.  Each site will feature different books for different grade levels.

     * Louise Capizzo, children’s librarian & Cathy Potter, school librarian: The Nonfiction Detectives
     * Travis Jonker, school librarian: 100 Scope Notes
     * Mary Ann Scheuer, school librarian: Great Kid Books

Check out the following Early Readers and Book App about Frogs for Pre-K to 2nd grade:

From Tadpole to Frog (Scholastic Reader Level 1) - Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld; Photographs by: Dwight R. Kuhn
Publisher: Scholastic (February 1, 2011 - original publication date: March 1, 2001)
ISBN: 978-0545273374
Read Aloud Level: PreK to 1st
Independent Reading Level: 1st-2nd
Source: Purchased; Personal Copy

My thoughts on this book:
This more traditional-style early reader takes children on the journey of the life cycle of the frog from frog eggs in the pond through the transformation into tadpoles and then as a small frog.  The book ends in some ways with the beginning by reminding readers of the start of the life cycle.  Key vocabulary words are highlighted in the text and also contained in a glossary at the end of the book.

The style of this story lends itself well to a read aloud and for assisting young children in gathering basic facts about the life cycle of a frog which can be used in a presentation or simple report.  Though geared towards Kinder to 2nd grader students, the book can be used effectively with English Language Learners or children with special needs in upper elementary who may require high interest books with less text on a page.

Frogs! (National Geographic Kids Readers Level 1) - Elizabeth Carney; Photographs by: various
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (January 13, 2009)
ISBN: 978-1426303920
Read Aloud Level: PreK-1st
Independent Reading Level: High 1st grade to Low 3rd grade
Source: Purchased; Personal Copy

My thoughts on this book:
National Geographic has created a series of Early Readers on a variety of topics.  Every one of these readers I have looked at I have also loved.  Each feature the amazing photographs typically associated with National Geographic.  However, I find that these books are really a bit more than your standard early reader.

FROGS! not only features informative and engaging text written for younger students, but it also has a mix of questions and answers, vocabulary text boxes, fun facts, a poem, and even a touch of humor. The book shares with students where frogs can be found, why they make the sounds that they make, what kinds of food they like to eat, and what size and colors they come in.  The life cycle of the frog is also briefly explained.

The combination of photographs and a well thought through design for each page, not only makes this a winner for children in Kinder to Second Grade, but also an excellent resource for English Language Learners in 2nd to 5th grade.   

Rounds: Franklin Frog: A Book App - Barry and Emma Tranter
Seller: Nosy Crow
Updated: April 4, 2013
Version: 1.0.3
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad.
Audience: Ages 3 to 6
Source: A copy was sent for review; App was a Cybils 2012 Finalist

Description from Nosy Crow:
The first in an innovative new series of multimedia, interactive life-science/non-fiction apps based on circular characters whose real life stories start where they end. Rounds: Franklin Frog follows the life cycle of a frog through three generations.
• Hands-on opportunities to take part in the life of a frog: tap , swipe and guide frogs with your finger to make them jump, swim, catch flies, avoid predators, find a place to hibernate, croak to attract a mate, lay eggs, hatch, and transform from a tadpole into a frog.
• 100s of frog facts: did you know that frogs chew by pressing food against the back of their eyeballs with their tongues?
• High-quality child-narrated audio accompanied by text highlighting (but you can also turn the voice audio off so the child can read the text by themselves if you prefer)
• Original , high-quality illustration, made of circles and parts of circles to reflect the circle-of-life theme
• Original musical sound-track by an award-winning games composer

Check out this video:

My thoughts on this book app:
Just as publishers are creating or featuring more informational texts to address the growing demand for nonfiction books as part of the curriculum, there will certainly be book app designers seeking to address this issues as well.  Nosy Crow has created a series called "Rounds" which will look at life cycles of various animals.  In it's first release, the focus in on frogs.

Readers are introduced to Franklin the Frog and eventually his mate, Felicity.  The narrator of the book is a child and this book app leads children through the life cycle of a frog. 

Over the course of the book app, students will meet Franklin and two generations of off-spring which is where the concept of "rounds" comes in.  With each introduction of a new off-spring, the story again moves through reproduction, infancy, child-rearing, and into adulthood.  The app provides readers with enough prompts and guides to keep the story moving, but also allows children to continue to make Franklin (and the others) move repeatedly (both swimming, and jumping), as well as allows for interaction on each page.

Franklin Frog is clearly a book with special enhancements and extra features.  As I explored this app, I never had the sense that this was a game or simply another form of entertainment.  Instead, the balance between text, and interaction with the book was well thought through making this an enjoyable book for young children.     

Common Core Standards Associated with Texts listed above:

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.8 With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.9 With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures)

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

First Grade:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.10 With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.