Monday, October 26, 2009

Apologies and Updates

I apologize for being remiss in posting new picture book reviews! I had the opportunity to attend KidLitCon09, well about two hours of it -- and then my husband called to inform me that my three year old had a fever of 103.6. Needless to say, I had to leave to attend to my sick daughter! A total bummer for me, because I was learning a lot and was looking forward to learning so much more. In any event, I have decided to revamp my blog a bit. I'm still going to post picture book reviews and ways they can be used in the classroom or for home schoolers, but I'm going to create a bit more organization -- more on my end anyway! I'm hoping to post books based on monthly themes, either content related, strategy related, or traits related.
In addition, I've started another blog -- Literacy Tool Box -- that I'm planning to use as a place to post tips and tools for parents and educators related to literacy. Check it out -- it should be up and running soon.
I hope you will check back in for the kick off of the "new" Teaching with Picture Books on November 1st!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Special Edition: Books by Tara

In this special edition post, I bring you Books by Tara. Though intially created by Tara to aid in the education of her son, who is on the autism spectrum, these books can be used by children of all ages and ability levels. I had the opportunity to review two of her fall themed books, Autumn Leaves and Jack-O-Lantern.
As with Autumn Leaves, the first thing you notice in this book are the amazing photographs. Bright, colorful, cheerful! I really like the fact that real photographs are used in these books. Jack-O-Lantern is not a wordless picture book. Instead, Tara, in photographs and short rhyming text, shows us the steps for making a jack-o-lantern, starting at the pumpkin patch and ending on the front porch.
Preschool to Primary Level
This book is a great resource to build background knowledge in a preschooler. If teachers take children on a field trip to the pumpkin patch, this book is a great lead-in to that trip. Or, it's a perfect read-aloud upon return from the pumpkin patch. What are we going to do with our pumpkin now? Let's read and find out! It's also a great resource to show how procedures work. After reading aloud this book, teachers of primary grade students may want to create a class book (a shared writing experience) showing procedures of particular activities in the classroom. Students can even use a digital camera to take photographs for the book! What a fantastic resource to have in the room when new students arrive.
Elementary Level
Jack-O-Lantern is a good resource to read aloud to students when discussing procedural writing in the upper elementary grades. While the text is not actually written in procedural form, the photographs demonstrate the order of a procedure. Students can use the photographs to write a procedure for creating a Jack-O-Lantern using procedural words, such as first, second, then, next, etc. Or students can use the photos as a model to write a different procedural piece. Have students take photographs of the steps of a process and create their own procedural book.