Here is an excellent resource for using picture books and inquiry to delve into identity with young children. Also in FRENCH!
From the Daily 5 “Tip of the Week”, Jan 7, 2022
A lot of New Year’s resolutions are worth making and keeping, but the one I am begging us all to consider is to read aloud to our students every day.
Why? The benefits are tremendous. Our students usually have a higher listening level than reading level, so they are exposed not only to an excellent model of fluency and phrasing, but also to richer vocabulary and more complex stories than they can access independently. In addition, a shared read-aloud builds a deep, rich sense of community.
- When: In addition to shared texts during instruction, a read-aloud just for enjoyment can provide a smooth transition after lunch or a satisfying conclusion to the end of each period (for older students) or the day (for elementary students).
- What: If we choose books we love that are infused with rich language, captivating characters and story lines, and appealing illustrations, our students can’t help but be transported.
- Rehearse: Preview. I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. We don’t want to be surprised by a swear word, mature content, or dead dogs. Also, when we preview, we can determine stopping points to maximize engagement and elicit the chorus of “Don’t stop there!” that inevitably comes with a well-timed break.
- Pace and Volume: By paying attention to the words as we preview, we’ll know when to pause, get louder, get softer, speed up, and slow down. Louder and faster typically conveys excitement and drama. Soft or slow will be just right for dark or suspenseful moments. Don’t be afraid to perfect the pause.
- Expression: This became even trickier during a pandemic, didn’t it? But even with a mask on, we can impart a lot with our eyes. They widen, narrow, shine, and on occasion tear up, drawing students into each moment. And the expression of our voices will often communicate the meaning of words. A hushed voice for whispered and a louder voice for exclaimed are just two examples.
- End Well: If we want our audience to sigh with contentment when a story ends, we won’t rush the last line. Thoughtfully reading the last line releases students from the grip of the tale.
Titles: There isn’t enough room here for me to give you a complete list of all my favorite read-alouds, but I can give you 20 of my favorites. Read about them to see if they are a match for your audience. (note: these links open in amazon.com)
- Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham
- The Bug Girl: A True Story by Sophia Spencer
- Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Jeff Gottesfeld
- Hum and Swish by Matt Myers
- Cat the Cat, Who Is That? by Mo Willems
- This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
- I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
- Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
- Watercress by Andrea Wang
- The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo
- The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
- Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker
- Starfish by Lisa Fipps
- My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner
- Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr
- Almost Super by Marion Jensen
- Operation Frog Effect by Sarah Scheerger
- Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
- The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
- A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
By the time you have read this, I will already have broken my resolution to walk every day and eat a little more healthfully. But reading aloud every day is an easier resolution to keep. I hope you’ll join me, and I wish you a hundred magical moments with the students you bless with stories.
Looking to build or refresh your classroom library? Here are collections curated by Lucy Calkins.
The Power of a Great Classroom Library
Kids who have access to great books become readers. There is simply nothing that makes teaching reading easier, that gets kids reading with tremendous volume, or that lifts reading skills higher than a collection of truly fabulous books.
The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project has developed state-of-the-art classroom libraries for each grade level, K–8. Curated by Lucy Calkins and TCRWP colleagues along with a team of literacy leaders and children’s literature experts, these libraries contain 400–700 leveled books at each grade level—all organized into collections and shelves based on level, genre, topic, and available in versions for students reading both at and below benchmark.
Created and hosted by OISE in Toronto, this project comes out of the research on creating strong readers and literate citizens.
While some of the content is American in origin, this site is curated by the University of Toronto.
There are literally dozens of good videos and lesson plans here, that cover everything from Concepts of Print, to genre studies and word study, ages preschool to grade 6. It’s a treasure trove!
POPEY is the BC go-to site for all things literacy. From oral language and word work, to reading and writing assessment, they cover it all. They also have a very full YouTube channel and packed resource page of past workshops, online home learning lessons, and other supports. https://popey.ca/resources-and-support
If you are interested in learning more about Story Workshop, here are some excellent resources:
from SD39 (Surrey) a complete set of workshop slides and suggestions.
Also available here are some further readings on Oral Language, writing development and a writing continuum.