Free ebook for 2nd Graders to Help Launch Book Review Site: Because Reading Changes Lives

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With the launch this month of a book review site for parents and teachers of second graders, 2ndGradeReading.NET is celebrating by giving away free copies of an ebook. 11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph, winner of “The Help” Children’s Story contest, by Darcy Pattison is a second grade book about a military family who has to survive a year with the father deployed overseas.

21st Century Kids deserve contemporary literature.

A new children’s book review site, (http://2ndGradeReading.NET/about) is giving away a free ebook during September. Author Darcy Pattison had never entered a writing contest. In 2011, though, the movie, “The Help” sponsored a Children’s Story contest about someone who made a difference in someone else’s life and she decided to enter. “Wow! I was so surprised when I won,” Pattison said. “I have a 100% record of winning writing contests. Best of all, I have a new book to share with kids about a family with a father who must travel for work.”

11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph ( is the story of a girl whose father is in the military. While he’s stationed overseas, the girl decides that it is NOT a family photo album with her Dad gone. She won’t let any photographs of her turn out right until her Dad returns. Funny, poignant—it’s a family story with humor and a happy ending.

2ndGradeReading.NET believes that 21st Century kids deserve contemporary literature. An analogy is to ask, “What does your child or student watch on TV? “

  •     Reruns of “I Love Lucy”?
  •     Reruns of “Gomer Pyle”?
  •     Reruns of “Lassie”?

There’s nothing wrong with classics, but if student only watches reruns, something is out of whack. Yet, Renaissance Learning recently reported that the most popular author in K-3rd grades is Dr. Seuss. Everyone agrees that these classics are great. But 75-80% of students are only reading classic books.

Instead, 2ndGradeReading.NET wants to encourage kids to read contemporary literature, nonfiction and fiction. Publishers are turning out exciting, engaging, contemporary work in every genre. Kids are missing out on books meant for their generation.

Education reform, specifically the Common Core State Standards, also requires more complex texts at an earlier grade. For second grade readers, the recommended Common Core reading levels are 450-790 Lexile. Lexile is a measure of the grade level and text complexity of a book.

However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. For example, the classic novel Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck falls within the fourth grade Lexile range. But the topics and emotional content of the book means it is really a high school level book. With the switch to new standards, parents and teachers are looking for great books that are on grade level and have the right emotional maturity.

The offices of 2ndGradeReading.NET are full of books. As their staff opens new packages each day and it’s always like Christmas. They hope for something great to pop out, something that second grade readers will like. It takes more than just a great cover.

They measure the reading level of each book, read through the book, and look up information on authors and extra resources. Why? Because they believe that reading changes lives and that kids need the right books. Only when we are certain the book is appropriate—a great read—do they send it out to reviewers. It takes work. But 2ndGradeReading.NET is convinced that second graders are worth the extra work.

About: For the month of September, sign up for’s ( free e-newsletter and you’ll receive the free ebook, 11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph. Three times a week, you’ll receive a review of a grade-appropriate, contemporary, fun book that is recommended for second grade students. For more information, see the FAQ at In the planning are companion websites, 3rdGradeReading.NET and other grade level book review sites.

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Darcy Pattison
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