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Hooray For Reading Day!

Hooray for Reading Day! - Margery Cuyler, Arthur Howard

This story is about a young girl who seems to not have the confidence she needs. She is not excellent at reading and she gets nervous when reading aloud to her peers. She worked and practiced at night. She would practice by reading to her dog at home. Finally the day came for her to read in front of her classmates. She did great! This book will show the students what constant practice will do for one's reading capabilities. This book could also be used to build students knowledge of an encouraging environment. Students could learn knew ways to support and encourage one another. They could learn knew ways to build people up rather than breaking them down. I would say this book will work great for 2nd to 6th grade. The older grades would might need to focus more on the confidence building rather than the text itself. The text could act as a guide.

A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink. What is a Noun?

A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? - Brian P. Cleary, Jenya Prosmitsky

This whole series is a very creative way to teach students language arts/grammar. This particular book acts as a hook to teach students nouns. It could also be used as a fun way to revisit nouns. Many people do not enjoy being taught the same lesson. This book would be great to ensure the students know what nouns are whether they have previously learned it or not. I would use this in a 1st-3rd grade classroom. The activities could be more geared to the older ages if they needed to be. One activity could be that the students become noun detectives. Each student could be given a magnifying glass that they use to find their nouns. Another activity that could be used for higher grades even would be to ask the students to stand every time they hear a noun. This requires the students attention and it will allow them to be interactive with the book.


Ish - Peter H. Reynolds

This book could focus on how words or actions effect others. For an activity to ensure students understand that everyone would crumple a piece of paper and throw it across the room. (Much like he did with his drawings in the story) Everyone could pick up a piece of paper and be instructed to flatten it back out to where it is perfect again. Once realizing this can not be done, the teacher will explain the crumpled parts represent the mean and rude things we say to one another. Once things have been said they can not be taken back, they will forever have an emotional impact on the one who receives the rude sayings. This book could also teach children to never give up on themselves. Even if they don't get something perfect, it's perfect-ish. I would use the perfect-ish lesson for a younger level like first through second grade. The bullying lesson I would use for second through fourth grade.


Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes

This story is about a little mouse (girl) who has been told her whole life how wonderful and perfect she is. She truly believed this until she started school. All of her classmates teased her about her name, saying it's too long or that she was named after a flower. Each day she would go home upset and her parents would assure her that her name is beautiful and perfect just as she is. The cycle continued throughout the book until the end. Her music teacher stood up for her and shared with the class that she too was named after a flower and that her daughter has the chance to be named Chrysanthemum. This makes her feel much better about herself and suddenly all the students want to be named after flowers. This story would work well with first through third grade. It would be great to introduce bullying and also it would show that teachers are here to help, not just teach. Student could also be assigned roles of the peers in the book and act out different ways they could have responded instead of their rude comments.

The Dot

The Dot - Peter H. Reynolds

This book would probably work best in a first or second grade classroom. This is a story about a character named Vashti who did not believe she could draw. Her art teacher encouraged her by placing the dot she drew above her desk. This inspired Vashti to keep drawing and to learn new ways to draw her famous dot. In the end of the story Vashti herself encouraged a little boy that he too could be a great drawer. This story would be great for encouragement and to act as a reminder to students that they can do anything they set their mind to. It also could remind students that they need to encourage the people around them to try any task before they decide to quit. We could discuss as a group a time we wanted to quit or did quit something that maybe now we realize we can do.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin

If You Give a Moose a Muffin Book and Audio CD Set (Paperback) - Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond

This story is about a moose who wants a muffin. After wanting a muffin it leads him to want something else, then something else, and so on. By the end of the story he returns to his original want. This story would probably work best in a first or second grade classroom. An activity with this story would be to work on cause and effect with the students. The students could explain the original want (cause) lead to another want (effect). The students could also give a real life example to show they truly understand the material. I'm sure there are several other activities one could find in order to use this book in the classroom.


Should I Share My Ice Cream?

Should I Share My Ice Cream? - Mo Willems

This book is about an elephant who purchases ice cream then later decides he should share it with his friend. He expresses his own interest in the ice cream, trying to convince himself that he truly does wish to share it. Once he does decided sharing would be the best decision, he drops the ice cream. He felt so bad that he did not get to share it with his friend. As the story continues, the reader learns that his friend had an ice cream the whole time. He even shared! Both friends managed to be happy with their decisions. I would use this book in a k-1st grade classroom. The book teaches the students the importance of sharing and caring for another person. It shows that good things come from good thoughts, this may not be an actual physical item but it could simply be a good feeling. An activity could be each student has a paper cut out of a scoop of ice cream and they have to go around the room and share with their peers. At the end of the lesson, it would be especially influential if the teacher had actual ice cream to give the students as a reward of their great sharing capabilities.

Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson

This story is about a boy who wishes to excel in running. He practices all summer long to be the fastest one in the class. However, when he arrives to school to show what he has been working on, his new neighbor shows off her speed by beating him in a race. Instead of being jealous of her, he actually finds it intriguing. The two children become instant friends. They spend everyday after school in the woods using their imagination by creating a magical kingdom. The book ends with a major tragedy. I would use this book in a 4th-6th grade classroom. This book would be a great book to express the value of a friend. This book is constantly expressing the value of friendship. I would also share this book to teach the children the importance one's imagination is. Imagination is the gateway to many things and I think it is extremely valuable that children always use imagination. I also think this would be a good book to learn how to deal with tragedy. Even though the boy lost his friend, he learned how to be strong and continue with his life. He even learned how to include her in his life though she was no longer there. This book obviously has several purposes.

Bud, Not Buddy

Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

This story is about a young orphan who is on a mission to find his father. His mother has recently passed away and he does not particularly like the foster homes in which he is place. He chooses to travel until he can get closer to finding where his father might be. This story is placed around the time of Jazz. I feel as though this will give students a different outlook on history and time frames, it is a great opening into history of this era. I would use this book in a 5th-6th grade classroom. It might be too advanced for any younger of a classroom. Not only will this book be a good resource for the history of Jazz, it also might show children another insight on how other student's home lives might be. It could be used to be a great lesson on how some students are not as well off as their peers. It could also be used to explain the importance of family. Many times families are taken for granted because we do not know what it is like to not have one. This could lead into the topic of thankfulness of what we are blessed with. Overall, it might just teach students how to be more sympathetic of their classmates.

Fancy Nancy: The 100th Day of School

Fancy Nancy: The 100th Day of School: I Can Read Level 1 (I Can Read Book 1) - Jane O'Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser

This book is about a student who has an issue thinking of a creative item to bring to class for the 100th day of school. The assignment is to bring 100 of whatever object the student has chosen. During the week she noticed that it seemed as though every student already knew what they were bringing. She asked for help from both her parents and teacher. Her teacher continuously assured her that she was creative enough to come up with something. Then finally, she though of an item that was both sentimental and creative. She chose to make a poster using the fishes pebbles, spelling out its name on the poster. I think this book would work well with k-1st. The activity could include  of that similar to the book. The students could be required to bring 100 of a certain item, whether that be 100 pieces of cereal or 100 buttons from their collection, anything that means something to the student. This would be a great book to introduce as the 100th day of school was approaching. I feel as though 1st grade would be able to do the activity better than that of a kindergartener.

Go To School

The Berenstain Bears Go To School (First Time Books(R)) - Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain

This book is fairly dated but I feel as though it would still get the point across to the students. This story is about one Berenstain Bear who is afraid to start kindergarten. Throughout the book she finally conquers her fear. This book would be a great book to read to all kindergarteners. This book would allow them to know that they are not alone in feeling scared to start school. It might even calm their nerves. I think this book could open a group discussion to see what the class, as a whole, was afraid of before they got to school that day. They could go into detailed and explain what made them feel comfortable about starting school. They could then do a drawing or who or what made them excited to be at school that day. I feel like this book is simple but could act as a great "ice breaker" for the kindergarteners. 

Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids (Bucketfilling Books) - Carol McCloud, David Messing

This book is basically a long version of "treat others the way you want to be treated". By doing something nice you are filling another person's bucket, while also filling yours. Negative actions cause negative results. By treating others poorly, you take away from both their bucket and your own. I think this book could relate to all grade levels (k-6th). Every age student needs to know that words have such a powerful impact, as do positive actions. I would incorporate this book into my classroom by having each student have a "bucket" of some type and they would have the opportunity to fill it and it could be treated as a goal. The students could write what they did that day to help fill their bucket then place it in. At the end of the year they could look back on all the positive things they did. It could be an individual or group activity. I think this activity could even have the potential to go school wide.

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling - Jerry Pinkney, Hans Christian Andersen

This story is probably considered to be well known throughout society. It is about a duckling who is born not quite as beautiful as the rest. The duckling gets treated as though he does mean as much to the world as the others due to his image. Later in the book, the duckling grows up to be the most beautiful duck. This book would probably have the best results if used in 1st-3rd grade. I believe the older students might have more of an opinion on the book than the younger ones. The book could open a lesson for students to not judge their peers by their looks. Though this book will probably take students in the direction of their peers who are not well off, it could also go the other way. Students should also not judge the ones who seem as though they come from wealth. Every student has a story; it is our job as teachers to make sure all students are treated as equals. 

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace - Mary Hoffman, Caroline Binch

This story is about a young girl who believes she can do anything. She expresses her strong imagination throughout the entirety of the book. She constantly puts on "shows" using herself as the main role. Later in the book she shows her hopes in becoming Peter Pan in the school play. She was told a girl can not be Peter Pan. She was also told that she could not be Peter Pan due to the fact she was an African American. She decided to practice all weekend to prove to her classmates that she could indeed be Peter Pan; she would be the best Peter Pan at that. When auditions came, she deservingly got the role of Peter Pan. I would use this book for grades k-6th. This book could be used with younger ages by simply reading it and showing them they can do anything they put their minds to. It could be used in an older classroom by allowing them to use creative writing and explaining a time someone didn't believe they could do something and they did or even to simply share what they dream of doing one day. 

Bunny's New Shoes

One Red Shoe, the Other One's Blue! (Little Golden Book) - Stephanie Calmenson, Lisa M. Karsten

This book was my favorite book to read while growing up. It is actually the first book I ever remember reading. This story was about a bunny who had outgrown her shoes. She did not want just any shoes however, she wanted one blue and one red shoe. There was another character in the book who had to get new shoes as well, he chose the blue ones. The bunny chose the red ones. Each pair of shoes came with shoe strings to match the shoes chosen. Later in the book the bunny and alligator ran into each other and notice each other had the shoe color they needed (but they were different sizes). They decided to trade shoe strings with each other. This way the red shoes had blue shoe strings, the blue shoes had red shoe strings. I would say the book would work best with k-1st. The book could be a lesson on compromise, giving, or even simply how to work with others. The characters had something the other wanted, they decided between themselves how to make each other happy.

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

This story is about a young boy and a tree that is willing to give the boy everything it (she) has. As the boy was young he would play with the tree, swing from branches, climb her trunk, and eat the apples. As the boy matures and grows older he spends less time with the tree, usually only visiting when he needs materialist items. The tree continues to give the boy whatever she has, such as: her apples for money, her branches for a house, and her trunk for a boat. Even giving away everything that made her a tree, she was still happy. The boy later returns as an elder man to meet the tree once more and states he wants "a quiet place to sit and rest", this made the tree happy. I would level this as 1st-3rd grade. This book could be used in the classroom to explain children the importance of love and giving. Students could learn how children come from different economic levels and may not have as much as a higher income student. This might even motivate the class to bring in items they no longer use or play with and could "give" such items to a lower income student who is in need. of course the student would remain anonymous.