The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.
-- Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881)

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Gotta Keep Reading Video

I try to be on top of the latest news about reading. I missed the train on this one!! In 2009, students (along with help from their teachers) created a flash-mod style video of an alternate version of the Black Eye Peas "I Gotta Feelin". If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.

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Decorating My Nook

Last week, I got my new NOOK Simple Touch™ eBook Reader. I am a tinkerer so the first thing I did, or course, was customize the "screensavers".

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Unusual Author Visits My School

Authors are usually very busy people. They are always writing or editing or revising or researching or doing who-knows-what-else to get their next book ready for the presses. So it is rare that authors get to visit local elementary schools. In February, the school where I work, Mission Bell Elementary, was fortunate enough to have a real-live author visit. This visit was unusual for us, not because we never have authors visit, but because we never have authors like this visit us!

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Where Are the New Readers?

In this age of Kindles and iPads and texting and twittering and updating social sites, it seems we are surrounded by words. All these people "reading" would seem heartening, yet the statistics show that book sales are declining. Apparently, people enjoy spending hours reading and writing 160 character "word-bytes" but they do not see the benefit or joy of engaging a considerably longer text, i.e. a book. One author recently made a strong argument that modern society is no longer organized to "recruit" new readers.

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Illustrating My Book - I Finally Start

A number of years ago I wrote a few stories. I was planning to submit them to publishers in the hopes of becoming a "real' author. Recently, I finally began the process of developing images for one of the books.

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Adam Carolla Stands Up for Schools

I often get frustrated that teachers get blamed for the ills of modern society. From my point of view as a teacher, the media and news outlets frequently bash teachers and schools, saying we are to blame for children doing poorly, that it is our fault there are so many dropouts. Furthermore, when we teachers stand up for ourselves, we are accused of shirking responsibility or trying to blame others or our situation for our shortcomings. In this climate, therefore, it is so refreshing to hear a "regular guy" stand up, albeit indirectly, for the teachers.

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Website is Almost Ready for Prime Time!

Finally, after working for hours and hours, I am almost ready to release the new site into the wild!

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Read, Click, and Win!

Mr. Flores may have found a new favorite site! Read books, take quizzes, earn prizes. Does it sound like something you'd be interested in?

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Online Homework Help

Are you having trouble getting your homework completed because it's sometimes just too difficult? Then you should check out this FREE feature from the Riverside County Library System!

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Borders Bookstore Opens in Mira Loma!

If you have ever been one of my students, you probably already know that Barnes & Noble is my favorite store. HOWEVER, a new Borders store opened in Mira Loma, CA. My current students and many of my former students live in this area, so I am very excited to have a bookstore so close by, even if it's NOT Barnes & Noble!

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Does Accelerated Reader Work?

Acclaimed language researcher Stephen Krashen (one of Mr. Flores's heroes!) did a meta-study about the effectiveness of the reading incentive program called Accelerated Reader(AR). He was trying to determine if these types of programs help struggling readers become better readers. What did he find?

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Tunnels: The Next Harry Potter?

Have you heard yet? It might be the "next big thing"! A new book out of England has been released with plenty of fanfare and is finding new fans here in the States.

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WIRN - The Schwa Was Here

08-04-06 – YOU MUST CHECK THIS BOOK OUT!!! I just started this new novel and so far I love it! How can you NOT love a book that starts with a chapter called "Manny Bullpucky Gets His Sorry Butt Hurled Off the Marine Park Bridge"?!?! Plus, it's written in first-person Brooklynese (like they speak in Brooklyn, New York). It's making me laugh out loud so far and I don't even really know what it's about yet! I think it has something to do with a kid named Calvin Schwa that is "invisible" to most people. I'm loving it so far. You should check it out!

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Awesome Student Review

I love reading books, of course. But I also love reading about books, especially when the person writing the book writes as well as Inuzuka45!! (Chelsea Garibay) Her review of the Japanese manga Lagoon Engine Einsatz is impressive! Even if you don't really like manga, you have to be impressed by how well Chelsea summarizes the story and explains why she enjoyed it. It is easily the best student-written review I've ever received!! I wonder who'll write one next!!!!

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WIRN - The Secret School

04-04-06 – I like the way this book starts. A fourteen year old girl, Ida, is steering an old, falling-apart Model T truck down a dirt road yelling to her brother to hit the "Brake and clutch!"! She's too short to work the pedals so her seven year old brother, Felix, is lying on the floor pushing the pedals with his hands! All this just so they can get to school without having to walk the five miles from home.

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WIRN - Eldest

01-09-06 – I enjoyed reading Eragon so much, and it ended with such potential, that I rushed out and borrowed Eldest, the second book, from Luis (Koala)! It picks up exactly where the first ended, though it begins with a synopsis of the first book in case you forgot what happened (or you didn't read the first). So far, it's moving kind of slow. First, there was some political finagling between Eragon and the leaders of Farthen Dur, the giant hollow mountain that houses the Varden, a rebel group, and the dwarves. Eragon then left with Orik, a dwarf, and Arya, an elf, to head to Ellesmera so he can continue his training. Back at Farthen Dur, Nasuada, daughter of the fallen leader of the Varden, is planning to attack Albatorix, the evil king of Alagaesia, once she has moved the Varden to a friendly country to the south...

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WIRN - Eragon

12-18-05 – Well, I guess I'm a little behind the ball on this one. I am just now reading Eragon, the first dragon book by Christopher Paolini, about a month after his SECOND book came out! So far, I am quite enjoying it. I must warn you, however. This book is like "Lord of the Rings - Lite". The language and detail in LOTR is about college level, but this book is still at least 8th or 9th grade level (if you already read a lot).

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WIRN - Joey Pigza Loses Control

11-25-05 – The further adventures of Joey Pigza, the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) kid who swallowed a key in his first book. Joey is one of those kids who is a really neat kid, but I'm not sure I'd want him in MY classroom! But, I do like him. I first met him in Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, which I totally enjoyed. I finally got around to reading this sequel. As this story starts out, Joey has gone to stay with his dad for six weeks. His mom and dad are not together because his dad had drinking problems and could not keep a job.

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WIRN - The Supernaturalist

10-11-05 – I had really enjoyed the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer so I decided to give The Supernaturalist a try. This book begins with a 14-year old orphan, Cosmo Hill, living in a horrid institution where he tests new and potentially harmful products (deoderant, prepackaged food, etc) in the future. When he escaped, he almost died and he saw this small blue creature climbing on his chest and he could feel his life being sucked away. Fortunately, he was rescued by three "kids": Stefan, the 18-year old morose, yet charismatic, leader; Mona, a teenage Latina ex-gang member; and Ditto, a 28-year old young man who looks like he's only six years old. So far, I like this book. It's pretty science-fictiony and you kind of have to read between the lines because the author throws around a LOT of terms without explaining them, but that's okay by me. It's pretty interesting so far.

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WIRN - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

8-13-05 - Well, I've finally started the latest tome from Ms. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. One thing. I've noticed is that reading one of her books reminds me of reading a Stephen King book. I'm only 7 pages into it so far. The only thing that's happened is that Cornelius Fudge has visited the British Prime Minister. What reminds me of Stephen King is that while the visit only takes two pages to describe, the other five are describing the first time Fudge visited the PM. Rowling, like King, gives a LOT of extraneous details (and uses a lot of big words like "extraneous"), and while these things are not necessarily important to understand the path of the story, they build a world that is "real" by filling you in on all the little things going on in it. That is probably one of the reasons why both these authors are so popular.

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WIRN - Ramona the Pest

Jul 7, 2005 - Today I started my first "Ramona Quimby" book. I'm reading Ramona the Pest. She started her first day in school (kindergarten) and try as she might, she can't help getting in trouble! When her teacher tells her to "sit here for the present" (meaning "for now"), Ramona thinks she is going to get a gift. It leads to more and more misunderstandings! I like this kid. She's mischievous but not malicious (yet).

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