Monday, November 24, 2014

Booktalks with 1st Graders: Book Suggestions, Tips and Tricks

Last  month I gave a series of booktalks to kindergarten classes in my local schools. This month it is the 1st graders' turn. My goal for these school visits is to promote the library and reading at all grade levels.

Here are the books I promoted at my school visits:

Waiting is Not Easy by Mo Willems: In the latest additon to Mo Willem's "Elephant and Piggie" series, Piggie has a surprise for Elephant. The catch is that Elephant must wait for it. I included this one for two reasons. 1. Mo Willems is awesome. 2. I wanted to use the opportunity to promote my newly rescheduled "Elephant and Piggie" party at the library.

Frog's Lucky Day by Eve Bunting: I love the "Frog and Friends" series by Eve Bunting and wanted to include a longer beginning reader in my visit with this age group. I would definitely say this book is on the upper spectrum of what first graders are usually reading. Frog and his friends must search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and also must prevent a fisherman from fishing at Frog's pond.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Turn the Page by Cynthia Rylant: Mr Putter and his cat Tabby visit storytime at the library. This is also a beginning reader with multiple short chapters. The library connection was a big plus for this one.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox: I wanted to include a nonfiction title, and thought this one would interest the kids. It is a true story of a 1,500 pound elephant seal who liked to sunbath on the road in New Zealand. The kids seemed to love speculating what happened when Elizabeth was returned to the ocean.

The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham:
As a picture book suggestion I included this story of a girl who finds a door to the zoo in her bedroom.

Tap by Play by Salina Yoon: Readers must assist a creature named Blip in his quest to win the game before the time is up. A very interactive and entertaining picture book. It appeared to be the favorite of many of the kids.

Tips and Tricks:
  • 15 minutes definitely remains the magical time period. 5-6 seems to be the magical number of books that can easily fit into this time frame.
  • For series books, make sure to give a quick summary of what the series is about before introducing an individual titles. The kids in the classes I went to ranged widely in which beginning reader series they had read.
  • Fun and interactivity remains key with this age group. Very glad I included "Tap to Play" because it fits both these criteria extremely well.

Next month I will be booktalking to the second graders. Any great books you can recommend?

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