Favorite Characters and Character Traits:
I’ve really LOVED sharing popular, well-loved characters as a focus with my littlest incoming readers. I like for them to form a relationship with authors that have created several books with lovable friends. It also encourages students to check out these books with their families and experience a meaningful read-aloud time together – considering these books are extra special and meant to be shared on the laps of their parents :).
Below are some of my favorites….old and new! I love creating projects about these characters, drawing comparisons between them, and having fun discussions about character traits, which characters remind us of ourselves (Betty Bunny reminds me of my kids!) and also teach character education….Corduroy being accepted for who he is, Pete the Cat not worrying about the ‘little things’, Scaredy Squirrel overcoming his fears, etc. These books would be fascinating for older kids to study and discuss the deeper author’s message behind them as well. The possibilities are endless with great literature. Seriously I could go on forever.
My favorites: Pete the Cat, Corduroy, Hedgie (Jan Brett), Arthur, Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, Poppleton, Clarice Bean, Curious George, Betty Bunny, Leo the Crocodile, Scaredy Squirrel, Pigeon, Strega Nona, Alexander (Judith Viorst), Clifford, Berenstein Bears, Fancy Nancy, Froggy (Jonathan London), Peter Rabbit, and so many more….
There are so many variations to showcasing authors and their works! I like to focus on their education/writing background and inspirations, check out their website with my students and then find common themes in their stories. The first thing I always do before I introduce an author is display all their books to my students and just ask them to simply share what they notice…I love hearing their response and some of them really surprise me! Kevin Henkes is always a favorite and we love focusing on his ‘mouse’ books…However the books that exemplify a child’s imagination (Little White Rabbit and My Garden) are my personal favorites. Although who can resist Lily and her Purple Plastic Purse? (She reminds me of my middle daughter 😉 )
Around The World
Before I became a library teacher, I had no idea the incredible VARIETY of fiction books that take place around the world. This inspired me to create lessons centered around the seven continents and share the fiction and nonfiction books that are immersed in these places. I love starting out with displaying all the books from that continent (F and NF) and then asking students what they notice (inferences about the culture too). It allows them to spark an idea about a place and then scaffold their knowledge from subsequent non-fiction read-aloud, videos, and photos. What an incredible way to showcase TONS of different resources! Plus….it allows me to tap into different kinds of literature that might not always be “grab off the shelf worthy”. My favorite continent to read stories from is Asia….I think…Or Europe…But the lessons in some of the Asian folktales are phenomenal and usually very thought provoking.
Continent Note Taking Sheet (I did not create this. Please let me know who the creator is so I can give them proper credit!)
Tis’ the Season
My absolute favorite holiday stories are anything related to the Gingerbread Man. Eric Kimmel’s re-told version is one of my favorites, but a simple Google or Pinterest search reveals dozens of others. A popular unit I’ve taught is comparing and contrasting the different versions with students. I love using Jan Brett stories (Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends…The picture surprises at the end are the best!) and then discussing different elements to each story…Repetitive phrases, characters, setting, other animals/characters, and of course the ending ! One of our most requested holiday activities is students creating a gingerbread man into their favorite BOOK character! Children’s creativity is so inspiring!
Fiction vs. Non-Fiction
Rhyming, Repetition, Personification, Onomatopoeia, Speech Bubbles, Spicy words, Stories with a twist
Caldecott Hall of Fame…
Compare and contrast stories that have a common element (i.e.; Grandpa Green versus Green, Simms Taback stories, Kitten’s First Full Moon versus Owl Moon, Creepy Carrots versus Muncha, Muncha, Muncha, A Sick Day for Amos McGee versus A Zoo for Mister Muster…so many!!!)
Fairytales, Folktales, and Fables
How are fairy tales, folktales, and fables different from one another? Most include:
- 3 and 7
- Happily ever after
- Animal characters
- Good and Evil
- Long time ago, faraway