Celebrate This Week: Read Alouds

It has been months since I have had a chance to do a Celebrate this Week Post. However, what better way to celebrate than to celebrate with read alouds. This past week was a huge week for read alouds. It's my favorite week of the year because I get to go into so many classes and read to students and share new books. 

First up, #SpecialDeliveryDay - Macmillan coordinated a special event around the release of Special Delivery written by Philip C. Stead and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. 

The Special Delivery book arrived wrapped in brown packing paper, with a special message from Philip C. Stead. There were also beautiful postcards that students wrote messages to students in another city. Two of my classes were paired with two of Sherry Gick's classes at her school. 

Above some second graders write about what they would like to send to a friend. 

In the afternoon, I spent time sharing the book with a class of kindergarteners.  They worked hard with the help of their teacher to write notes about what they want to mail to someone. 

On Wednesday, I had a chance to share with students about World Read Aloud Day as I stopped by to read for Read Across America Week. 

World Read Aloud Day is still new for many of the teachers and schools that I work with. As I went into various classrooms to read, I talked about the importance of learning how to read and how not all children have the opportunity to learn to read. Though we didn't have a lot of time to discuss this important issue, I hope it starts to bring an awareness of Global Literacy and the right for all to learn how to read.

My read aloud choices included:

The 2015 Caldecott Winner - The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña; Illustrated by Christian Robinson 

Raindrops Roll By April Pulley Sayre - I actually had to leave this book with the kindergarten teacher. Her students were so fascinated with the photographs that I had trouble getting through the book. I decided the students needed more time with this one. 

Finally, Read Across America is celebrated on different days by the elementary schools in our District making it Read Across America Week. 

One of our elementary schools had the best decorations and snacks. The green eggs and ham made from m&m's and pretzels were super tasty. 

Some of my additional read aloud choices included

Zombie in Love 2+1 by Kelly DiPucchio; Illustrated by Scott Campbell was a popular book with students. 

Rodeo Red by Maripat Perkins; Illustrated by Molly Idle was one of the most popular read alouds of the whole week. 

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman; Illustrated by Zachariah OHora was as popular with students as Rodeo Red

The 2015 Schneider Family Book Award Winner for Young Child - A Boy And A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz; Illustrated by Catia Chien was well received by students. 

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella; Illustrated by Simone Shin - This was a great book for introducing students to a way that a donation of a bicycle made a huge difference in the lives of those living in another country. 

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner; Illustrated by Mark Siegel - Popular with teachers and students.

I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld  

As I read aloud to classes this week, I remembered why I love reading to classes. Aside from being enjoyable and a lot of fun, I find that I learn a lot by how students respond to the books and to the questions being asked. Even when I am reading with students for pure fun, I find that I am monitoring student reactions and thinking about how I can use what I am learning to pick new books or support student learning.  Every time I read aloud, I have no doubt that it is an important part of getting to know students, building community and shared experiences, and more.

Yes, I am celebrating read alouds but I am also celebrating learning. 

Apples, Pumpkins & Read Alouds

When I first began teaching, October was the month where I focused on apples, pumpkins and leaves. Despite being in Southern California and the temperatures sometimes being in the 80's in October, I was still a New Englander at heart. I wanted students to experience some of the things that made me think of fall. 

Several weeks ago, one of the teachers I work with and I spoke about working together on a special lesson. Her students were studying apples. Here was an opportunity for me to look for some new and revisit some old books about apples to find the perfect one to read aloud for her class. My twitter friends (Carrie Gelson, Paul Hankins, Mary Ann Scheuer, Cathy Potter, and a few others) were great at recommending a number of titles. After looking at so many books, I fell in love with Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray (Disney-Hyperion, 2011).


I loved the phrases and vocabulary in this book.  It would be perfect for what I wanted to do. Of course, it was no surprise that students loved the book.  With a little effort on my part, I found a book that worked perfectly as a read aloud and could be an instructional opportunity. However, students thought of it just as a book that we were having fun reading. 

After reading the book, we had fun making a special snack. Since apple pie can be a bit time consuming to make and requires a lot of equipment (like an oven) that we don't have at school, I thought about another option - Apple Nachos. Yum! Thank you Alethea for introducing me to Apple Nachos. Here is the original recipe from Allyson Kramer, and check out this great post where Alethea created more variations.

I love that the recipe is really simple and we could talk about some great action words like slice, arrange, drizzle, and sprinkle. 

It appears that Apple Nachos are so good that students couldn't help licking their plates. 

After enjoying our apple snack, we gathered around to generate some words and phrases to describe how they tasted. Students would be able to use these words and phrases later for journaling.

At the end of the day, I received a special text message from the teacher. Students had told her "we don't want to go home, school is fun, and I don't get to do things like this at home". Now, that is what I want to hear after a lesson. 

As I searched for books to read with students, friends on twitter recommended books. And I was also reminded of old favorites. Here are some newer and older apple, pumpkin, and leaf books that jumped out at me from the pile....

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell (Aladdin, 1998)

Apple by Nikki McClure (Abrams, 2012)

Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love by Julie Paschkis (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall; Illustrated by Shari Halpern (Blue Sky Press, 1996)

The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade, 2013)

How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman (Dragonfly Books, 1994)

The Apple Doll by Elise Kleven (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)

How Do Apples Grow? by Barbara Maestro; Illustrated by Giulio Maestro (HarperCollins, 1992)

Apples for Everyone by Jill Esbaum (National Geographic Kids, 2009)

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2005)

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1991)

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson (Tricycle Press, 1999)

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade, 2007)

Why Do Leaves Change Colors? by Barbara Maestro; Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski (HarperCollins, 1994)

Leaves by David Ezra Stein (Putnam Juvenile, 2007)

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum (National Geographic Kids Books, 2009)

From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer; Illustrated by James Graham Hale (HarperCollins, 2004)

What are some of your favorite fall books?