Grade-Level Reading Days

For the three days of school this week, I'm pulling in the 2-5 grade classes for group Reading Days. What are we reading? The North Carolina Children's Book Award Picture Book nominees!

Why are we reading them? My goal is to help the students begin to evaluate "candidates" running for an election. They are to look at them critically beyond just the cursory glance of the cover. Why? Someday, these very students will elect the President who will make decisions regarding my country. I want them to begin to think for themselves, and think critically.

As I sit tonight thinking about the last 2 days of reading, I am smiling with these responses:

To Jacqueline Woodson's This is the Rope: The story of the great migration: 

  • Applause: why? Because her words elicited strong feelings in the kids. (Their answer not mine.)
  • Questions: What was the great migration? Why did people treat each other that way? 
  • Giggles: Diapers hanging on a line? Why would they do that? (Today I took in a cloth diaper.)
  • Me: How could a teacher use this book in class? 
  • S: To introduce historical fiction~ to explain heritage~ traditions. 
To Mo Willems' That is Not a Good Idea:
  • S: It makes a difference if you know who the speaker is in the dialogue!
  • Me: What grade could use this book and why? 
  • S: Any! It teaches perspective! (Love these kids)
To John Coy's Hoop Genius: How a desperate teacher and a rowdy  gym class invented basketball:
  • S: Ohhhh- that's how it got the name basketball! 
  • Me: Tell me something you learned from this book you didn't already know.
  • S: Naismith invented basketball~ football and soccer were older than basketball~ that it was created by a PE teacher..
  • Me: Where in the library would you find this book? Everybody, biography, or informational? Students discussed the merits of each, and landed on informational as the majority of the book was providing facts. 
To Helen Docherty's Snatchabook:
  • S: I think this would be a great read aloud for Kindergarten. It wasn't too long and rhymed. 
  • S: I think this book would be a great read aloud for 2nd and 3rd graders because it models independent reading for fun. (I like the way she thinks!)
  • Me: I think this would be a great book for 1st or 2nd grade. Think about the writer's craft. What did they use? 
  • S: Rhyming!
We then went on to discuss that the rhyme scheme changes- and that not all the words that rhymed followed the same spelling conventions. Yes, I used those words- it was fifth grade. 

To Debi Gliori's What's the Time, Mr. Wolf? :  (reactions came as I was reading it!)
  • S: Ohhh-  it's the 3 little pigs!
  • S: Hey Diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle....
  • S: It's the 3 blind mice!
  • S: Is that Little Bo Peep or Mary had a little lamb? 
  • Me: How did the author leverage familiar characters in this book?
  • S: They made me guess who was coming next. 
The students connected to the stories in this book and anticipated which character would appear next. It was fun to watch them get excited about them, and then to "relive" their nursery rhymes through chants! 

To Drew Daywalt's The Day the Crayons Quit
  • Me: How could a teacher use this book for a lesson? 
  • S: A Kindergarten teacher could use it to teach colors!
  • S: Teachers could use it to teach letter writing.
  • Me: I could use it as a writing prompt. In fact- tonight: draw for me a picture where the colors are used in non-conventional ways. 
  • S: Why? 
  • Me: I want you to stretch your thinking. It's not as easy as you may think..... show me your thoughts. 
I'm looking forward to tomorrow- to finding joy in their reactions to books. I'm always amazed at how deeply they can think. Blown away, sometimes. And that's a good thing~ as some day, these kids will make decisions that can affect my life. 


Popular Posts