Real Princesses Read

Real Princesses Read

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island."

-Walt Disney

Review
4 Stars
Bully B.E.A.N.S.
Bully B.E.A.N.S. - Julia Cook

This is another great book for teaching character education in the classroom! After the story's main character finally stands up to the class bully, other students start standing up to her as well. Students could really learn a lot about not only standing up to a bully, but understanding that a bully might also get bullied themselves. I think this story would go over great in a first grade classroom! The earlier bully education programs are implemented in schools the better! As an educator, I would read this book to my students, have them discuss what they would do if they were in a situation like this, and then have the whole class fill out an activity sheet on how to handle a bully. This would open the door for open and honest discussions on bullying and give students the necessary tools on how to handle difficult situations like the one in the book.

Review
4 Stars
Horton Hears a Who!
Horton Hears a Who! - Dr. Seuss

Another great story by Dr. Seuss, this book would be an excellent text to use for character education in a first grade classroom. A teacher could use this story as a starting point to discuss with students the importance of treating others with respect no matter what! This could also be used to demonstrate rhymes/rhyming with students. While this next idea is not necessarily all that academic, it could still be fun for children to complete. The students could use paint and their handprints to make a Horton picture while also incorporating his famous quote, "A person's a person no matter how small!"   

 

 

Review
4.5 Stars
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle

This story is about a small, very hungry caterpillar who eats and eats until he becomes a very big caterpillar who builds a cocoon. After he stays in his cocoon for awhile, he then turns into a beautiful and colorful butterfly. I find that this book would be great to implement into a Kindergarten classroom because of its simplicity and its colorful illustrations. If I were to use this with my students, I would have them color in pictures of the different foods the caterpillar eats and as I read the book to them (probably for the second time) I would have them place the foods in order of how the caterpillar eats them. Then, we would go over the order of how they are supposed to go just to ensure that everyone has them correctly lined up. Next, I would have the students glue the pictures of the food onto a caterpillar cutout in the correct order. This would allow students to practice their listening skills and would even be a simple way to give them practice with their sequencing skills.

 

  

Review
4 Stars
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! - Mo Willems

This story is about a pigeon who, after the bus driver temporarily leaves, is determined to drive the bus himself. No matter how many times he asks, the passengers will simply not let him drive it! While I have not read this book, I have read other books by this same author so I assume that this story will also be very funny and would probably be most suitable in either a Kindergarten or first grade classroom. If I chose to read this story to my students, I would take a classroom survey after finishing the book to see if the children would or would not let the pigeon drive the bus. If I did this with Kindergarteners, I would have the class (as a whole) take the survey and then ask them orally why they would or would not let the pigeon drive the bus. If I did this with first graders, I would have them write a short response as to why they would or would not let the pigeon drive. Then, I would have them place their responses in the appropriate yes or no category on the large class survey poster. This would allow them to practice their writing skills and give them a chance to see if a majority of their peers would or would not let the pigeon drive.  

 

  

Review
4 Stars
The Mud Pony
The Mud Pony - Caron Lee Cohen, Shonto Begay

This book is about a young Skidi Pawnee tribe boy and his wish for a pony of his own. He makes a pony out of mud which then comes to life and helps guide him into becoming his own tribe's chief. After using this book for a guided reading lesson, I know for a fact that it is a great choice to use in a second grade classroom! There are many different activities teachers can do with students when incorporating this book into the curriculum. I picked out different vocabulary words from the text and had students go over them with me before we began reading. This not only helped to clarify what these words meant, but it also helped to enrich the students' own personal vocabulary with new words. I also had students complete a setting, characters, and plot activity to demonstrate their understanding of the story as a whole. One idea a teacher could do with this book is to read a few different Native American folktales to the students then have them compare the stories to one another.    

Review
5 Stars
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White, Garth Williams, Rosemary Wells

Another classic piece of children's literature, "Charlotte's Web" is about a small runt of the litter pig who is saved from being killed by the farmer's daughter, Fern. Fern loves and cares for the baby pig and even names him Wilbur. Once Wilbur starts getting bigger, he is transferred to his new home in the barn of Fern's neighboring uncle. Fern is able to visit Wilbur, but is unable to see him as often. Out of boredom, Wilbur begins to befriend other animals in the barn, but his most important friend turns out to be a spider named Charlotte, who occupies a web in the corner of a doorway above him. Her love for Wilbur, coupled with her ingenuity, will save Wilbur's life. With this book's tale of love and friendship, I think everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime! If I were to use this in a classroom, I think it would work best in either a third or fourth grade class. After finding this activity on Pinterest, I would have my students create an interactive lap book on the story. Different aspects of the lap book would include an area for setting, predictions about the story, cards on the main characters, problem(s) and solution(s), compare and contrast (book vs. movie), book sequencing, and a vocabulary portion. Each student would create their own lap book so while all the lap books will be similar, they will not be exactly the same in each of the different sections.     

Review
3.5 Stars
A Bad Case of Stripes
A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon

This was one of my favorite books growing up and I think using it in a second grade class would be a great idea! While this story is incredibly imaginative and the illustrations are truly remarkable, the main purpose of this text is about learning to be yourself which is so important to teach in an elementary school setting. There are many different activities that can be done with this book and I have selected two that I think would be most beneficial for the class. The first activity is to discuss (as a whole class) the way they think the main character, Camilla, feels from the beginning to the end of the story and compare them. The next assignment would be to have students complete an activity sheet where they draw and write about the story and even answer a question about themselves.  

Review
4 Stars
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss

Although I have never personally read this book, I have heard many great things about it. Dr. Seuss is famous for his wonderfully written children's books especially for their creative rhymes so I am sure this story is equally as great as his others. If I were to incorporate this into a classroom, I believe it would best fit in with either a first or second grade classroom. I love the idea of having a full week of studying Dr. Seuss in the classroom and then reading "Oh, the Places You'll Go" on our very last day of the study. I would like to have the students create a "suitcase" where they will have three different sections to fill out with full sentences and illustrations. The three sections would include "Where I'm Going," "What I'm Bringing," and "Why I'll Be There." Once they have completed each section, they will fold the suitcase to where they will have the opportunity to put their names on their suitcases and decorate them as they would like. 

 

Review
4 Stars
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle

With its use of repetition and colorful illustrations, this book is a great choice for a first grade teacher to use within her classroom. I actually used this book during my time as a tutor for a first grade ESL student and she had great success with reading this book aloud. While she did struggle with some of the more difficult words (like purple for example), the use of repetition within the text helped her to become very familiar with the words and the more I had her read it to me the more fluent and confident she became with her reading ability. If I were to implement this in my first grade classroom, I would have students complete their own version of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" using a paper fill-in book. After reading the book together as a class, each student would get their own paper fill-in book and would get to fill in the blanks on each page with their own colorful animal they would like to incorporate into the book. Students would also get to draw and color the animal they have written into the book. This activity gives students the freedom to choose what they want to see in the book and allows them to practice writing different animal names and colors.  

Review
4 Stars
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

"The Giving Tree" is another wonderfully written and illustrated children's book by Shel Silverstein. I find that this story would be most beneficial to read along with a Kindergarten class or maybe even a first grade class. By reading and talking about this story, the teacher is sharing with students the importance of giving and love. Since this text is well written and well illustrated, even the youngest elementary students will be able to easily follow along with and understand the story. One activity a Kindergarten or first grade teacher could incorporate into the class curriculum would be an "I Can Help" writing and illustration sheet. Each student would be given a sheet of paper that will say something like "I Can Help People in My School by..." or "I Can Help Out at Home by.." and they will fill in the blanks by writing out what they can do to help. Then, the students will illustrate what they have written in the blank picture square at the top of the page. By doing this activity, students are working on their writing skills, thinking of different ways they can help out or give to others, and creating an illustration to go along with what they have written just like real authors do when writing a story.

 

 

    

Review
3 Stars
The Bailey School Kids
Ghosts Do Splash in Puddles - Marcia Thornton Jones, Debbie Dadey, Joëlle Dreidemy Reindeer Do Wear Striped Underwear - Marcia Thornton Jones, Debbie Dadey, Joëlle Dreidemy Pirates Do Ride Scooters - Marcia Thornton Jones, Debbie Dadey

"The Bailey School Kids," also known as BSK, book series would be great to incorporate into a first grade or second grade classroom! This series follows around four friends, Liza, Howie, Melody, and Eddie, as they interact with some pretty peculiar characters in their town. These pals encounter an assortment of people from Santa Claus to Hercules. Talk about interesting! With such a large book series, a teacher could very easily pick out different BSK books to read with her students. Through different online resources, I have found a great variety of activities students could complete while or after reading these books. Students could rename the story or completely change the plot in order to create a brand new book of their own! The teacher could also lead the students in discussions on comparing the "strange" character from one BSK book to the next (example: comparing Santa Claus to Hercules) or she could even ask students to list out reasons as to why the children in the story think the "strange" characters could actually be mythical creatures/people.   

Review
5 Stars
Where the Red Fern Grows
Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls

The story of "Where the Red Fern Grows" is about hard work, love, lose, and hunting dogs. A young boy named Billy Coleman is determined to get himself a set of real hunting dogs no matter what it takes. He spends months and months working and saving every single penny he earns to finally buy the dogs he has wanted for so long. Follow Billy along as he raises and trains his lovable pups into the best set of hunting dogs on his side of the Ozark Mountains. This is a tale that brings tears to every reader's eyes no matter how many times they have read this classic book!  After reading this story in elementary school, I instantly fell in love with it and knew that I wanted to share it with my own students one day. I think having students do a study on the text using the five major questions (Who, What, When, Where, and Why?) would allow them to delve deeper into the story and bring meaning to it in a way that is important to them. This would most appropriately fit into a fifth grade classroom and the study could be done as a whole group activity, but I believe it would be more beneficial to have students work on this individually or within a small group setting. By having students complete this study, they will get to write about characters, events, and/or meanings within the text that stood out to them personally.    

Review
4.5 Stars
The Giver
The Giver - Lois Lowry, Ron Rifkin

"The Giver" is a wonderfully written story about a boy named Jonas and his life in this Utopian society where everything is in order and as close to perfection as humanly possible. As Jonas is assigned to his career in life, he quickly learns about the hidden secrets of this "perfect" society. Lois Lowery does an outstanding job of making the reader feel as though they have stepped inside Jonas' world and are experiencing everything as he does. This would be an excellent book to have fifth grade students read in a reading group or small group setting. The teacher could have students read specific sections of the book each week then allow them to discuss their thoughts within their reading group. This would also be a great text to have students use their pre-reading skills in determining what they think will happen within the story. Going back to the reading group idea, students could complete a group written compare/contrast worksheet on how Jonas changes from the beginning to the end of the story.

Review
3 Stars
Tico and the Golden Wings
Tico and the Golden Wings - Leo Lionni

I would highly recommend using this book in a second grade classroom, especially if the students are doing a study on the author, Leo Lionni. The fictional story about a bird and his gift of golden wings teaches students about the importance of giving to others and how you can use your talents/gifts to help those in need. After using this text for my guided reading lesson plan, I found that there are multiple activities that can be done with this book, preferably in a small group setting. Some of the different lesson ideas include a picture walk, pulling unfamiliar words from the text and reviewing them with students before reading the story, completing a graphic organizer featuring characters and major events, or even having students discuss what they thought the main idea was. This book can very easily be implemented into the classroom! 

Review
3.5 Stars
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator - Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl has written many successful children's books that are still widely popular today, but perhaps his most famous one is "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Step into this "world of pure imagination" and follow Charlie Bucket as he goes from a poor boy working a paper route to the lucky winner of a golden ticket that gives him access to the best candy factory in the whole world! With such a wide array of truly unique characters in this story, I would have students in a third or fourth grade classroom choose one of them and create a "wanted" poster of that character. The wanted poster would include: different traits of that character, an illustration of them, and include anything else that could help other students try to figure out who that character is. Another idea would be after reading the story, watch scenes from the movie and have students write out differences between the book and the movie. Maybe even find the recipe for an "Everlasting Gobstopper" and bring it in for the students as a treat!

Review
4 Stars
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon - Patty Lovell, David Catrow

Molly Lou Melon is small, clumsy, has buck teeth, and the confidence to be herself no matter what! There are many times in the story where people try to discourage Molly Lou Melon from doing something, like playing football because she is small, but she never once lets anyone stop her from achieving her goals. This story has a great message of accepting others and the wonderful illustrations will always make your class laugh! I think this book would be great in a first grade or maybe even a second grade classroom and could be used to teach social skills and the importance of being yourself. A whole group discussion on what Molly Lou Melon looks like on the outside compared to how she feels on the inside would give students great insight on building confidence and self esteem.