Second graders featured on literacy blog

Four students seated in bean bags read booksLiteracy teacher Shannon Black’s second graders are starring on a blog after connecting with their favorite character in a book series.

Grayson Isabella, Gabriella DaBiere, Anthony Bowen and Fredrik Keller recently wrote letters to Meli the Dog. The students got letters back from the pup, and as an added bonus, they have been featured on a monthly blog called “Ask Meli.” The blog is published by Fountas & Pinnell, an educational organization that the district uses for reading and writing instruction.

Meli is a character in a nonfiction book series in the elementary school’s leveled literacy library of “just-right” reading materials (i.e., books that are at each student’s reading level). Meli is series creator Irene Fountas’ real dog — she is a West Highland Terrier.

Series of books on a table

The students have read all about Meli and her adventures, including “Meli at the Vet,” “The Problem with Meli,” “Meli at School,” “Meli at the Pet Shop,” and “Taking Care of Meli.”

The “Ask Meli” blog features questions submitted by students across the nation. Students can submit questions either online or by mail.

“The students read all of the books to research as much as they could about Meli before choosing which questions to ask her,” Black said. “They learned how to write a friendly letter, then we wrote to Meli and sent them in the mail.”

“We received responses back, and I shared them with the students,” Black said. “They were so thrilled to get their letters from Meli!”

The district reached out to Fountas & Pinnell through Twitter to share appreciation for the letters, and the organization tweeted that Fonda-Fultonville would be starred on the blog.

“Meli took some time over the holiday break to catch up on some of her mail!” the November blog reads. “With a belly full of turkey scraps, she settled down to read through your well-written letters. You all are doing so great with your writing and reading! Here are a few examples from her friends in Fonda, NY from Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School.”

The students’ questions and their responses are below.

Grayson: Do you like Milkbones?
Meli: Milkbones are yummy, but my favorite treat is peanut butter! Woof!

Gabriella: How many tricks can you do?
Meli: I am very good at sitting when told and shaking my paw. Woof!

Anthony: Meli, do you behave?
Meli: I try to behave as well as I can, but sometimes it’s just so hard! But, when I do behave well, I get a treat! Yum! Woof!

Fredrik: What is Meli’s favorite toy?
Meli: My favorite toy is either my red rubber ball or my rubber chicken. I love them both so much! Woof!