I’ve been referencing and linking to Laura Candler’s awesome website since I was a new teacher. She and I have like-minded approaches to education and similar writing “voices.” So when she sent me a copy of her latest book Laura Candler’s Power Reading Workshop: A Step-By-Step Guide, I was thrilled to check it out!

Laura taught for 29 years in grades 4-6, so I consider her an expert on all things upper elementary. Many Reading Workshop books (like my beloved The Daily Five) are geared more toward the primary grades; Power Reading Workshop is for grades 2-6. That’s the first thing that sets this book apart. What does Reading Workshop look like when children are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn? Laura Candler shares a clear vision that’s easy to understand and simple to replicate.

Another notable aspect of the Power Reading Workshop book is its organization. Laura outlines how to prepare and set up for Reading Workshop, and then provides the lessons (and related forms/activity pages) for each of the first ten days.

The final section of the book and the appendix provide the best part: Power Reading Tools and additional resources which you can photocopy and use right away in your classroom. These include graphic organizers, personal goal setting and self-assessment tools, reading logs, and resources for flexible reading groups. Like the forms available on Laura’s website, these are flawlessly designed and both teacher- and student-friendly. And just as importantly, they are mainly open-ended and foster higher-level thinking skills; you won’t find boring worksheets in this book.

What I love most about Power Reading Workshop is Laura’s emphasis on getting kids to fall in love with reading. She repeatedly addresses the issue of reluctant learners and how to connect them with books and reading practices that are inspiring to them.  Laura knows that teachers are facing high levels of accountability and lots of test pressure, but she’s found a way to provide authentic reading instruction and practice for her students, anyway.

Regardless of which subjects/grade levels you teach, be sure to check out Laura’s (Online) File Cabinet, which are free printables and lessons that she created for her classroom and now shares with others. There are some fantastic resources there which I’ve used with my own students and now recommend to the teachers I coach.

WIN A FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THIS BOOK! Laura has generously offered to sign and send a copy of Power Reading Workshop to a Cornerstone visitor. Just leave a comment on this blog post (or on Facebook) answering the question “What is your favorite book to share with students?” I’ll use a random number generator to select the winning comment on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

————————————————CONTEST CLOSED———————————————————–


OK, we had 85 total entries between Facebook and the blog!  I copied and pasted them into a document (taking out duplicate comments by the same person and side comments that weren’t technically favorite-book-entries.) I listed the Facebook entries first followed by blog entries. The winner is number 35, which is Amanda Smith, who mentioned “The Interrupting Chicken!” Thanks to ALL of you for sharing your favorite books–I’ve got lots of new titles to explore! 

There are more give-aways scheduled for the next couple of months, so stay tuned! If you’d like to purchase Laura Candler’s Power Reading Workshop, she’s got some great options here.



  1. Wendy Sheets

    I love reading Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. I make sure my students understand that if they struggle as readers, that’s okay, because this year I will be helping them in every way I can!

  2. Jessica Dubois (@Jessica_Dubois)

    Whoever you are – by Mem Fox. Such a beautiful book about the differences between people but the unity that remains because we are, still, all people – who love, cry, smile and play etc.

  3. tracey viselli

    There are so many…but I love Tuck Everlasting. For so many reasons…and so do my students. I have seen 4th graders weep at the end…it is so moving and powerful and gives us so much to talk about and think about.

  4. jen o.

    I love teaching Maniac Magee–it is such a powerful book with a strong message! The kids love it and so do I :o)

    • Kathryn

      Maniac Magee is one of my favourites too. It’s such fun and as you say has strong message.

  5. Kindra

    I love sharing Poppy by Avi with my third graders. It is such a fabulous book!!

  6. Jen

    The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop because it was a favorite of mine as a kid and most kids today haven’t heard of it. I like introducing any book that is new to them.

  7. Paul

    I love to share Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry with my 6th graders. So many issues to discuss together!

    • Paul

      Sorry, don’t know why my last blog post “Paul recently posted…” was included. I didn’t notice that below the submit button that since I listed my site, your site automatically linked to my posts.

      • Angela Watson

        Hi, Paul! Would you like me to have that removed? It’s part of a WordPress plugin called Comment Luv. Your blog looks great, by the way!

  8. Linda

    Niagara Falls or Does It? by Henry Winkler. The main character of this series, Hank Zipzer, has a learning disability and the series deals with this aspect of his life in a humorous and caring way. I find that my students immediately connect to Hank and his friends.

  9. Janet W.

    I love reading short character-building stories from and for children ages 6-10: Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2. Children relate to the stories and are inspired to become a better person.

  10. Carol Hussey

    Every year I share Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree with my grade 6 students. Usually they are familiar with his silly poetry and it gives them another perspective. And I love the discussions it starts to give me an insight into my new group of students.

  11. Catherine McD

    Norman Jorgensen’s ‘In Flander’s Fields’. It’s a beautiful quatro picture book that explores the theme of hope even in the grimmest of situations – the trenches of the first world war. It’s incredible in terms of visual literacy as well!

  12. Kim Compton

    I love any book by Robert Munsch, but particularly, “Mortimer”. His books allow the reader to “ham it up” and provide opportunities for the students to chime in and have fun right along with you. “Clang, clang, rattle-bing bang…”

  13. Shana

    “The Birthday Presents” by Paul Stewart. I love the illustrations and the way they support the story line. There can be lots of discussion about being friends.

  14. Amanda Carmichael

    My favourite read is ‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulson – it hooks in my boys in a snap and keeps them thoroughly mesmerised. I read it on a two yearly rotation in my senior class it’s that good.

  15. Terri

    I like to read Big Al by Andrew Clements. It is such a good book about not judging the outside of a person, but the God given qualities of the heart of the person.

  16. Kathryn

    Because of Mr Terupt by Rob Buyea is my latest favourite book to read aloud, my class loved it so much we did a skype session with Rob, who lives on the East Coast of USA. We live in New Zealand. It was a stand out for the year. We are looking forward to a follow up coming out in 2012.

  17. Cristina Herrington

    Reading is so vital! Always looking for new ways to engage students.

  18. Tara Mulvany

    I love to share “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” it is such a beautiful story.

  19. Nari

    I have several favorite books to share with my 4th graders, but one of the best is an old, old book called Dangerous Island. This chapter book is full of adventure and bravery as 3 children accidentally become castaways. It has a terrific ending that always pleases my students as they imagine making the same discovery the main characters do.

  20. Amy

    There are too many to choose just one! We just read “And Here’s to You” by David Elliot last week–it is always a favorite!

  21. Sally

    Like everyone else who has commented, I find it difficult to narrow beloved read alouds to one. In no particular order, I’d list Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George as being my all-time favorites to share with kids.

  22. Debra Gosnell

    I read Letters From Rifka to my 5th Graders when we are studying immigration. The first year I taught 5th grade, I wondered if they would like the book. They loved it and begged me to read more each day.

  23. CoraLee Ott

    The Boxcar Children and Mr. Popper’s Penguins

  24. Kathy h

    Scardy Squirrel

  25. Rose Mitchell

    I love reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and The Harry Potter Series to my 4th Graders.

  26. Michelle Perkins

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Kids shy away from the size of this fabulous book and are surprised how accessible it is.

  27. Donna Acre

    Right now my favorite read aloud is Extra Credit by Andrew Clements but I also love Freak the Mighty.

  28. Lori Labrum

    I love to read The Seekers by Erin Turner. Great descriptive language for visualizing. Kids are hooked the first page.

  29. Lori Labrum

    Sorry! That author is Erin Hunter. I had a student named Erin Turner….

  30. Jane Kinsel

    Tuckets Travels (actually 5 books in 1) by Gary Paulsen. Follows the Utah 4th grade history core…Indians, Mtn. Men, Pioneers…..adventure, friendship ,family. Its long but VERY engaging!

  31. Anna

    I don’t just have one book I love to share – there are 3!
    Wrinkle in Time – the ideas and vocabulary are fantastic for grade 6-7;
    Touching Spirit Bear – always gets the boys sucked into the story, but also for its powerful anti-bullying / restorative justice message; and
    Freak the Mighty – great for teaching kids that being different is a good thing.

  32. Michelle Pfeiffer-Johnson

    My favorite book to share with students is “Stellaluna.” Not only is it a nice story, they learn about the science of bats and birds as well. 🙂 The pictures are incredible as well. 🙂

  33. Ester

    One book I like to share with my students is “the Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister, I like to use it to solve classroom problems with my older students, and also for pleasure with my younger students.
    Another one that I love, and I use during winter is “The Snowman” by Raimond Briggs. Last year I found the video and we had a great time with my 3rd and 4th level students, they loved story but also the music.

  34. Karen

    I think my favourite is “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis. It’s an old one but a good one. My kids really enjoyed “Santa Paws” last year, and “The Boxcar Children”. Then again, there is a picture book called “Roar” which even my 4th graders love. Too many to choose from, and I hope I’m not too late with my entry.

  35. marha

    For my introduction to a poetry unit in late September, I share “Skeleton Bones & Goblin Groans poems for Halloween” with my students. The humorous poems are short and the artist beaded on canvas to create the exquisite illustrations for this book!

  36. Angela Watson

    For those of you who subscribed to comments to see who won:

    We had 85 total entries between Facebook and the blog! I copied and pasted them into a document (taking out duplicate comments by the same person and side comments that weren’t technically favorite-book-entries.) I listed the Facebook entries first followed by blog entries. The winner is number 35, which is Amanda Smith, who mentioned “The Interrupting Chicken!” Thanks to ALL of you for sharing your favorite books–I’ve got lots of new titles to explore! There are more give-aways scheduled for the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

Post a Comment

Want to join the discussion? Feel free to contribute!