I’d be willing to bet that most book lovers who follow my blog have read the Wayside School books by Louis Sachar.
I remember reading it as a kid and it’s an annual treat for my second graders. We spend the year reading picture books together and then the last month of school they “graduate” to a chapter book. Wayside is the perfect book for this purpose.
In Sideways Stories From Wayside School the kids get to meet the meanest teacher in the world: Mrs. Gorf. Careful, once she wiggles her ears, first her right and then her left, and sticks out her tongue…*poof*…she’s turned you into an apple! (I love acting this out. I can’t wiggle my ears but I point to them and always stick out my tongue.)
I do find some of the language in the book is very 1980’s. The kids say things like “stupid” and “shut up” and other phrases we teach kids now are hurtful and mean. The kids also tend to punch and kick, and of course it’s not okay to do that, so I always point out to my students that we would never act that way.
The kids eat these books up. I always start with Sideways Stories because of Mrs. Gorf, but most of my students race to read the other Wayside books as fast as they can. I also love the pigtail pulling chapter – I get to do a silly voice!
Most kids don’t know about the two bonus books with math riddles in them:
I have never read anything from these books to the kids, but it might make for a fun game day. I’ve been brainstorming rewards for good classroom behavior and I think this would be a hit with the kids.
I hope you’ve read these books. I hope you laughed out loud and enjoyed them immensely. I also hope you’ve shared them with a young reader in your life. If not, there’s no time like the present.