Since I love children’s books – and it’s also the holidays – I can’t help but share a few now. If you wait until the last minute to shop (like me!), maybe you still need a few gifts for the children in your life. But even if you’re finished shopping, these books are still ones to consider buying or at least borrowing from the library to use in your classroom (or to read at home).
A is for Musk Ox
This is my new favorite read aloud and if I hadn’t already finished shopping, I would buy it for my own children. (Maybe I still will!). It’s not only an alphabet book, but the story of two characters: a zebra and a musk ox that don’t get along. The book is humorous, silly and also filled with good tidbits of information about musk oxen, such as:
Did you know that they form a ring around their calves to protect them from predators? And their fur is sometimes called a skirt?
Grab the book today to learn more about musk oxen and also for a few good laughs!
Teaching Idea/Home Connection: After you’re done reading, have your students choose their favorite letter to create their own alphabet page. See the example here from a first grade classroom:
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
A teacher told me about this book before but I never read it cover to cover until the other day. I had goosebumps at the end! It’s the story of a boy who falls in love with books at an early age. If you want to promote a love of reading in your classroom (or at home), read this book to your students! Also, it inspired a short film that won an Oscar. Need I say more?
Love insects? Or great poetry? Informational texts? Beautiful illustrations? This poetry book is a combination of all these features and more. Each page has a different poem about bees, along with a short informational paragraph that further explains the content explored in each one. For example, what is a worker bee, a drone, etc.
This is a great way to expose your students to poetry and informational texts, in a fun, engaging way. It’s also fun to read and like all poetry, can be read in short doses. For example, keep it out and read a poem or two whenever you have a couple minutes to spare. And if you haven’t seen any of Douglas Florian’s work before, his illustrations are original paintings. It’s worth the money just for that!
John, Paul, George & Ben
Do you teach the American Revolution? Are you a history buff? Then you HAVE to get this book. It’s written by Lane Smith, author of Math Curse and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, among others.
This book tells the story of John Hancock, Revere, George Washington and Ben Franklin, in a humorous and engaging way. I laughed out loud several times. Trust me, you will too!
A great way to provide context and real life examples of how we measure (and use math) on a daily basis. This book is the story of a girl, her dog (Penny) and the multiple ways that she measures Penny. Not just in height and weight, like you would think but also in time (how much time does she spend taking care of Penny?), money (how much money does she spend on dog food, etc.) and even volume (how much water does Penny drink?). As you can see, this illustrates multiple math concepts and can therefore be read and re-read several times throughout the year.
A is for Angry
Are you looking to improve your students’ vocabulary?
It’s obvious that this book can be used in K and 1st grade classrooms for alphabet recognition, letter sounds, etc. But what I like about this book is that it also leaves room for vocabulary development. Alphabet books aren’t just for emergent readers and this book is a great example of that. Could a third grade teacher use this as a way to show examples of more sophisticated language that students can then use in their writing? Absolutely! This book is filled with rich vocabulary like:
T is for tangled
O is for Outraged
Z is for Zany
You could even use it as a springboard to have your students write their own alphabet books. The possibilities are endless and it’s also fun to read…
So start your shopping list and grab one (or two or three) of these today!
Happy reading and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!