Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone could start their work day by having a picture book read aloud to them?
Jillian Heise championed #Classroombookaday in schools.
#Classroombookaday promotes the goal of reading aloud a picture book every day of the school year to students of any age, inspired by Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday.
Every morning we gather on the carpet where I read aloud a picture book. These books later become anchor texts for writing lessons. After I read a book, I leave it on the ledge in front of the class. At the end of the week, students vote on their favourite, then I take a photo of the books we read and post it on Teams.
I focus on specific skills throughout the year:
- Identify author, illustrator, title
- Identify plot (beginning, middle, end)
- Identify setting (where & when)
- Identify character traits of main character – both internal and external
- Identify fiction/non-fiction & author’s purpose (entertain – fiction; inform – non-fiction)
- Identify theme (big idea)
- Explore vocabulary
- Analyze sentence structure & grammar (use of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs)
- Analyze art and how it supports the story
I make a point during every read aloud to admire the art and highlight the craftsmanship of the illustrator. I like to highlight how the artist effectively used an element of art, and how the choice of medium impacted the mood of the story.
If an author powerfully used an element of the Narrative Writing Diamond, I would highlight that after reading aloud (Winning Beginning, Elaborative Detail – Setting, Main Character, Object, Suspense, Main Event, Conclusion)
During the read aloud I also model reading comprehension skills (connect, question, visualize, infer, transform thinking) and ask students to apply said skills.
I find that all the discussions we have during #Classroombookaday lays a strong foundation for literature circles. In addition, it prepares students for when I run a Mock Caldecott in January. Students confidently analyze and evaluate the selections.
Not only can kids enjoy picture books, but so can adults. I encourage you to peruse your local public library or bookstore. What gem could you find?