Mutts - Copyright 2012 Patrick McDonnell. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.
Tag Archives: read-alouds
A few days ago I blogged about a beloved old copy of The House that Jack Built illustrated by Randolph Caldecott that I will not weed along with equally tattered relics. At the end of the article I mentioned how I’ve had fun in the past comparing it with other books that have mimicked the catchy pattern in the story.
Today, while working on the ongoing project of reorganizing my K-2 section I ran across another two titles that I’ve used with this activity.
The Cake that Mack Ate by Rose Robart and joyously illustrated by Maryann Kovalski chronicles all that goes into the cake that Mack (the naughty dog), in the end, eats. “These are the candles/ That lit up the cake,/ That was made by the woman,/ Who married the farmer,/ Who planted the seed,/ That grew into corn,/ That fed the hen,/ That laid the egg,/ That went into the cake that Mack ate.”
In Jon Scieszka’s inimitable style:
“This is a Book that squashes a Man that stomps a Bug that frays a Rug that trips a Hatter that knocks an Egg that startles a Pieman that flings a Pie that beans a Baby that tosses a Cow that spooks a Dog that chases a Cat that eats a Rat that falls in a Picture in A Book That Jack Wrote. Quantum physics explained in an oil-painting nursery rhyme.”
You can see how much fun it can be to read these take-offs (along with the ones mentioned in the earlier post) and then try some out with the students’ imaginations in gear.
A couple of winter story books recommended by our regional library consultant were hits with primary students during our annual “Share the Gift of a Story” program. They were even chosen and enjoyed by the Grade 8′s whose reader allowed the students to chose several books for him to read aloud. (It’s my experience that teens enjoy a good picture book read-aloud just as much as the little ones do.) I’ve linked the cover images to their Goodreads page where you’ll find reader reviews.
Froggy Gets Dressed by Johnathan London is a great way to kick off a discussion on seasonal adaptations and hibernation. Asking why might Froggy have so much trouble remembering everything he needs to go outside to play in the snow, fits the story neatly into Alberta’s Grade 1 & 2 Science curricula.
As a bonus it has the word ‘underwear’ in it, which is always a guaranteed a good laugh.
The best video narration I found is embedded below. It is particularly interesting as the clothing words are substituted with the Oneida terms, exposing children to this eastern North American First Nations language and encouraging them to guess the English words from the illustrations.
Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is a wonderful ‘winter’ story about the value of individuality. Tacky is not like the other penguins, so they don’t really like him very much; that is, until they discover how his unique qualities can be a life-saver.
I’ve ordered several of the Tacky books, including Tacky’s Christmas (with CD music) for next year. They fit in very well with the Alberta Social Studies curriculum for Kindergarten as well as character education outcomes for all grades. A Google search alone turned up many teaching units.
Many of our teachers are beginning to use iPads and may find it worthwhile to download the iTunes App which includes, “professional narration, background audio and high resolution artwork for each scene”.
Enjoy this delightful narration. Show it on the Smart Board during this busy week to come or anytime on through the winter.
I wish I could show you the smiles on the faces of the students as they enjoyed guest readers for our annual “Share the Gift of Story” program in the library. Community members from the RCMP, Town Council and general public are setting aside time from their busy schedules this week to share seasonal stories with classes from Kindergarten to Grade 9.
Beside a virtual crackling fire on the Smart Board (which doesn’t show up in the photos very well), students enjoy a story and great conversation with people they may see in the grocery store and excitedly greet with recognition. As a huge bonus, I discovered that we have a talented storyteller in our community who entertained the Grade 7′s with a personal story of Christmas’ past.
See this post for past favourites.
I hesitated to write about this beautiful book because it is out of print like my previous recommendation. However it might be wasting away on a library shelf somewhere and fully deserves to be brought to light.
And light is the perfect symbol for this book. Telling a story of an ‘enlightening’ candle by that candle’s own light, it was the illustrations, reminiscent of Rembrandt, that first drew me to this book. Painter Jacob Collins is described on his website as, “…a leading figure in the contemporary revival of classical painting”.
Luminous and rich, the paintings demanded a story with equal depth, and Richard Paul Evans was equal to the task. This is a story of the awakening of empathy, told without reference to any deity and thus open to any receptive listener.
I wanted my students to get the full impact of the images, which I believe have the potential to open the heart in ways that words might not. Although I knew it would compromise the quality, I scanned the images and showed them on the Smart Board while I read the story to the Grades 4 & 5. I turned off some of the lights so the paintings would show up better and read by the scant light emanating from the board itself. If I dared, I would read this by candlelight.
The students were completely absorbed throughout the story and were highly appreciative of the message and of the art. I expect to have a chance to show this to Grades 6-9 before Christmas and although I expect the junior high students to demonstrate the obligatory ennui, I have confidence that it will touch them all and perhaps light a little candle of empathy within many of them.
In a previous post I mentioned a few books that are popular for my Christmas “Share the Gift of a Story” program, which will take place this week. Last week I tested Stickman by UK author Julia Donaldson with the Grade 1 class. (Alison Green Books, September 1, 2008)
Donaldson’s Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book and The Gruffalo are favourites in my library. All three are whimsically illustrated by Axel Sheffler. Stickman did not disappoint. The kids loved it, empathizing with Stickman’s adventures (which any stick might endure) as he tries to get home to his family for Christmas.
Unfortunately it appears to be out of print, so if you can’t get your hands on the book, you might like to show the following video. The video is a little shaky, but the narration is lovely: who knew that Stickman has a french accent?
Every year, just before Christmas I invite members of the community to “Share the Gift of a Story” with my kindergarten to Grade 9 library classes. They are given the choice of bringing in a favourite Christmas story from their own collection or choosing one from books I pull for the purpose.
It’s a great way to bring the community in and the kids learn that it’s not just parents, teachers and the librarian who love stories and sharing them.
Although not all the books below are humourous, I find that funny definitely works best for this project. Children always react well to a funny story giving a boost of confidence to the community member who may not have experience with reading to a class.
Throughout this post I’ve linked some of our favourites to their Goodreads entries with reader reviews.
I’ve done this for many years now and although I try to add one or two new ones every year I’m afraid that my tried-and-true selections have just about run the gamut through the appropriate grades. It’s time for something new!
What funny Christmas read-alouds for children from ages 5 through 14 can you recommend?