Sharing my love of literacy

December 9, 2009

December Read Alouds

Holiday Read Aloud !

Classes are preparing for holiday parties. Students are too excited to learn. Here is my installment of holiday read alouds before you all head off to winter break! 

The Gingerbread Girl
Story: The old woman is lonely because her gingerbread boy ran away and was eaten by the fox, so she makes a gingerbread girl hopping she will no longer be lonely. Well, the gingerbread girl runs away. People and animals begin to chase her. Once again that tricky fox shows up. Will the gingerbread girl escape the same fate as the gingerbread boy?

Ideas: Compare to The Gingerbread Man or The Gingerbread Baby. I like using a Venn diagram for this activity!

Who Will Pull Santa’s Sleigh Tonight?
Story: Santa goes to check on the reindeer and they are all sick. He needs a plan to find some helpers for his sleigh ride on Christmas Eve. He holds reindeer auditions and all these animals show up. When that doesn’t work, he comes up with a new idea. But will it work?

Ideas: A great read aloud for grade K-3!

This is a great story for predicting with second and third graders! I read the beginning of the book to the class. Then they take out their journals and make predictions. We share and discuss as a class. Next, (This can be during the same lesson or the following day). Then I read up to how Santa has a new plan and the kidos make a second prediction in their journals. We share and discuss predictions. I then read the rest of the story and we talk about how Santa and Mrs. Claus save the day.
Hope you get a chance to share these stories!

Hanukkah Read Aloud!

In honor of Hanukkah, I wanted to post two holiday books to share with your class. Enjoy!This is the perfect story for a primary classroom. I love the Biscuit books and how curious he is in the stories. This is a nice way to introduce Hanukkah and some of the traditions that are related to this special holiday!

Story: Come along with Biscuit as he helps his owner make a beautiful menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. It's a great time for stories, songs, food and friends! The story explains how eight candles are used during the Hanukkah celebration.

This is a nice way to introduce Hanukkah and some of the traditions that are related to this special holiday! A nice class discussion comparing this story to their own holiday traditions is the perfect way to share this book! Then have your students draw their family holiday tradition.

I love this story because it intertwines a holiday story with a lesson. This story would lend itself to a comparison of family traditions.

Story: It's the last night of Hanukkah and there are only three little potatoes left. This is just not enough to make latkes for the relatives. Rachel has the solution and she will borrow some potatoes from Mrs. Greenberg. Then she will invite Mrs. Greenberg, who is all alone, to share Hanukkah with them. But though Mrs. Greenberg has a heart of gold, she is a stubborn as an ox--she doesn't want to be a bother.

Have your students fold a large piece of construction paper in half. They can then draw and describe their own holiday tradition on one side. On the opposite side have them write a summary of the story and draw their favorite scene from the book.

Reindeer Book!

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by: Jan Brett
I have read this in grade 2 and grade 4... the kidos always love it. There are a few fun things I have done with it too!
Story: Teeka has to fetch the reindeer for Santa's big ride and she wants everything to be perfect. She has trouble training the reindeer and becomes very bossy. Teeka realizes she needs a new approach.
1. While reading I stop and ask "Do you have any text to text connections?" Kidos usually talk about how the reindeer have names different than the Rudolf song.
2. With my fourth graders I give them copies of the Rudolf story and with a partner they make a venn diagram to compare the two stories.
3. With my second graders we make a T-chart and discuss Teeka and her character traits in the beginning of the story and at the end of the story.

SO Many Holiday Books.... so little time!!

Santa's Noisy Night by Julie Sykes
I love this cute story of Santa being so jolly, he needs to be reminded by his reindeer, the family dog and cat, and even a snowman that he needs the be quiet so he doesn't wake the children on Christmas Eve.
This is a great story to rewrite as a reader's theater. The repetitive text is also great for choral reading.
I read this book aloud to my fourth graders one year. We then wrote our own Noisy Santa stories where elves, moms, talking parrots, and little goldfish told Santa, " SHHH! Don't wake the children!

Happy Reading

November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Read Aloud

Thanksgiving Read Aloud

I have always loved Arthur and so did my first graders!
Story: Arthur's teacher makes him director of the school's Thanksgiving play, it seems like a fun job at first. But things start getting difficult when he must assign the roles, especially since no one wants to play the part of the turkey!
This is a great story to make into a Reader's Theater.
You could make a T-chart with your class about the pros and cons of being a director of a play.
As always, reading aloud this book for pure enjoyment always makes the kids happy!

Thanksgiving Read Aloud #2

I was working in the library the other day and came across this book that I just fell in love with while reading it! The story is so beautiful!

The Firefighters Thanksgiving
By: Maribeth Boelts
Illustrator: Terry Widener

Story: Station 1 is a busy place. When there aren't fires to put out there are plenty of chores. On Thanksgiving Day there's a big feast to prepare. Lou is in charge of dinner this year, but just as they finish preparing the meal, a call comes in. They drop everything to get to the fire. It looks like there may not be a Thanksgiving dinner after all.

Ideas: Theme of Thanksgiving and bravery. There are SO MANY teachable concepts here. Have students write their own Thanksgiving narrative. Have them pretend they are a character in the story and write a letter of thanks to Station 1. Go a step further and write a letter to your own local fire station!
Word Patterns: This text is filled with rhyme patterns. Give the students post it notes and have them write patterns as they listen to the read aloud.
Reader's Theater: Take this text and rewrite it with a narrator and Lou. Have students partner up and practice reading aloud for fluency!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

October 9, 2009

My Favorite Poem

Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" by Shel Silverstein
1. Visualization: I read this poem aloud twice. I ask the kids to draw a house filled with the garbage Sarah did not take out!

2. Alliteration: This poem is filled with this poetic device. It is even in the title. I introduce the concept and give some examples. Then each student gets a copy of this poem and reads it aloud to a partner. The partners then underline all the examples of alliteration. We then write our own alliteration poems.

3. Word Choice: This is a great way to teach this writing trait. First I hold up an empty mini trash can. I ask the kids to describe it which isn't easy because it is empty. I then add different objects to the trash bucket and use descriptive words and then discuss word choice. Next, I read the poem to my students asking the students to write the descriptive word and phrases that stick out. After my second reading of the poem, we discuss the word choice the author used and why. The students attempt to write their own poem with descriptive word choices. 

Happy Writing! 

August 26, 2009

Back to School Read Alouds

Here are my three favorite books I have read aloud on the first day of school. I also included the writing activity I have use with each story. All these books can be used in Grades 3 - 5! 
A Fine Fine School by Sharon Creech is a humorous story about a girl who loves school, but then the principal wants the students to come to school more and more. They have to go on the weekends, holidays, and during the summer. Someone has to tell the principal this is just too much school!
After this read aloud, on chart paper, we make a list of reasons why our school is a fine, fine school. Then students write a poem or short paragraph about why they think their school is a "fine, fine school." They publish their writing on paper of a school house I have reproduced. I then hang them outside the classroom for open house.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is the story about a name.
Chrysanthemum thinks her name is perfect until the first day of kindergarten when her classmates laugh at her name. I read this book aloud to talk about feelings and self esteem. As a class we make a T-chart and list how the characters try to make Chrysantemum feel better about her name and how they hurt her feelings. After a class discussion about how we should treat our classmates, I have the class write an acrostic poem using their name. I post them in a bulletin board that I keep up the whole year called, " What's In A Name?"

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg is a book about how the main character, Sarah, does not want to go to school. It tells the story how her first day jitters as she imagines how the day may go wrong. A cute story with a surprise ending. (This is my personal favorite!)
I read this book first thing in the morning. We talk about the surprise ending and share how each one of us felt before we arrived at school. Then students write a paragraph about their "first day jitters."

Happy First Day of School! 
Happy Reading! 

July 22, 2009


JULY 22, 2009

Welcome to Reading Really Rocks! 

Reading Really Rocks is my connection to students, teachers, and parents who are a part of my school community.
My hope is that this blog will be for anyone who wants to learn more about literacy!