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Making Read Alouds Come to Life: Creepy Carrots

Teacher read alouds are just as important as giving students time to read independently.  Read alouds take the student's focus away from having to decode the words and gives students a chance to really hone in and focus on the meaning of the story.

I love it when I read a story to children, and they love it so much that they beg me to READ IT AGAIN!  
It's so important to reread books to children and give them time to:
hear you thinking aloud as you try to make sense of the story,
 fall in love with the characters and get to know them, 
 think deeply about the story and discuss it with their peers.
respond to reading through writing and drawing.

In our Guiding Readers units, we've developed a reading program that does all of the above!

Let me share some examples with you.  The following examples are from Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (October Set two)

We read part of the story and then stop to give them a chance to predict what they think will happen next.  

In kindergarten, most of the meaning will come through drawing this early in the year.
This little sweetie thinks that the carrots will get stuck in a pit.  
So she drew a picture and wrote the word, pit.

These are differentiated so that the students who are ready for more can do more.

Her prediction says,  The Creepy Carrots will get stuck in the pit.
This version then asks them to write about what happened in the text.
She wrote,  The Creepy Carrots are locked in the fence.

On Day 2 we read the story again and focus on retelling.

We work together to complete the retelling and then the kids do it independently.

On another day, we wrote about our favorite part of the story.

Upper left,  I like the part when they were creeping at the grave.
Upper right, Jasper "loved to eat carrots."
Lower left,  When he gets scared.
Lower right,  I like creepy carrots when they suddenly reappear.

Depending on the story, we work on inferencing, comparing and contrasting or making connections.
Creepy Carrots is the perfect story for working on making connections, because we've all been scared at one point or another.  We know that some of our boys will say, I've never been afraid.  (yeah, right.  Weren't you the one hiding behind me last week when there was a spider in the room?  haha!)  We worded our question with that thought in mind.
The paper says,  Readers make connections.  In our story, Jasper was really afraid of the creepy carrots.  Write about a time when you or someone you know was afraid.  

Upper left,  I was scared of ???? (bonus points for you if you can figure it out!)
Upper right,  I have been in a tornado.  It was scary!
Lower left, My mom is afraid of heights.
Notice that the one on the right looks totally different.  We wanted to also provide a solution for those of you who are limited on copies.  These are made to fit in a composition or spiral notebook.  
The writing on this page says,  I was afraid of the Tower of Terror. 

We are so proud of these units!!!
Giving students the opportunity to respond in writing makes their thinking visible.  

This is also a great story to use for working on Cause & Effect.

A few tips!

Show your students how to draw the characters in the story using simple shapes.

Please, I'm begging you...Don't spell for your students and don't correct their spelling.
I know it's hard, but we are building young authors and if you do either of these things they will STOP trying and rely on you!  You can read more about my philosophy of writing here.  

It isn't necessary to read the book EVERY day!  We use the same book for five days.
However, we usually only read the book all the way through two times.
Each day we focus on the page in the story that correlates with the comprehension strategy we are working on.  

What about phonics skills?  When do you work on those?
We work on phonics skills during the Interactive Writing portion of the lessons and we also have word work included in the units.  You can be flexible and do the word work during the time of day that works best for you!

Happy Reading, Y'all! 

Guiding Readers: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and a FREEBIE

I realize that I'm a little late posting the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom pictures, but Katie Mense from Little Warriors shared some of these pics with me
 and they are too cute not to share!

We are so excited to see so many teachers using our Guiding Readers units.  The feedback has been phenomenal, and it makes our teacher hearts happy to hear from you!
These reading units cover all of the Reading Standards for grades K & 1.

Sequencing Pictures to retell the story.

Individual sequencing activity made into a hat!
So cute!

We want students be able to think explicitly about what is in the story,
 and to also use their critical thinking skills to go beyond the story.

On Day 4 we posed this question for our little readers to think about.

The letters kept getting hurt.  How could they solve their problem?

Kindergarten students may only be using pictures to create their meaning early in the year.
Here are a few examples:

They could use a ladder and climb up one at a time. 

2.  Throw the coconuts out of the tree so it won't be so heavy.

Each day we focus on a different strategy: Predicting, Inferring, Comparing & Contrasting, 
Retelling, and writing about our favorite part.  

This story is so fun to read at the beginning of the year.

Here are a few activities that you can do with coconuts.

Explore the five senses using a coconut.

After tasting the coconut (I cheat and just use a bag of shredded coconut!),
you can introduce them to math surveys.  
Click on the image to download it for free.

Will a coconut sink or float?
They love learning BIG words, and this is the perfect time to teach them the word, HYPOTHESIS!
Have them show their hypothesis by adding their picture or name to the chart.

Then, perform the experiment to see if a coconut will sink or float.
I've always used a clear plastic tub. (see picture 1) Then, Katie shared her picture with me, and I love how much better you can see it in the glass pickle jar.  

This is the recording sheet I used to have them draw and write about the experiment.
Click on the image to download it for free.

I LOVE these pattern block mats that Katie made to go with the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom story!
You can click on the picture to check them out.

If you haven't checked out our monthly Guiding Readers series, you can click on the image below to check them out and see what others are saying!  The stories for October are some of our favorites!!
NOTE: We have two sets of units for each month so that K & 1 teachers at the same school can both use them.   The only difference between the two are the story titles that we used.

If you're looking for 2nd or 3rd grade units, check out Amy Lemons' and Katie King's new unit.


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