Classroom Book A Day

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?

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Treasure

You know how dragons have their hordes?

Well, mine happens to be books. Five years ago when I moved to my current school I installed a wall of a Billy bookcases. I gleefully filled them with books to entice kids to develop a love of reading. Student choice is paramount in creating a positive attitude towards reading, so I mindfully curate a diverse and engaging collection, all at my own expense.

Imagine my dismay, when walking into my room today after an extended medical leave, to find sections missing. My graphic novel section is a shadow of what it once was. Narwhal and Jellyfish series no more. Bye bye Bunbun & Bonbon. Dog Man is done. So are many other series. My heart left a lump in my throat.

Graphic novels are vital in getting reluctant readers hooked on reading. I am now missing an important tool in my reading program.

Students are gone for the summer. We reconvene the day after Labour day in September. The first day back before kids switch to their next grade, I plan to sit kids down and show them exemplars of past student work – One Pagers and Title Acrostic posters – based on missing books. I’ll explain that kids in the upcoming school year will miss out on doing projects on these books unless they are found. I’ll request that students go home and take a close look in case books accidentally made their way home, and would gratefully appreciate their return, no questions asked.

In the interim, I am left with a visual of kids creating their own horde at home, and that books are their treasure.