Read Alouds For The Fall Linky Party
The fabulous Mrs. Parker is having a Read Alouds for the Fall Linky Party! Since I love shopping for books I thought this would be a perfect blog for me! Mrs. Parker has a great list of upcoming releases - I am particularly excited about
since the series is a favorite in my home as well as my classroom! There seems to be no shortage of quality children's fiction coming out this fall.
Unfortunately, my classroom library is heavy on the fiction side and embarrassingly light on the nonfiction side. This is a big problem since I volunteered to pilot the Core Curriculum next year! Therefore, my resolve is to find quality nonfiction books to go along with my themes.
My first unit is going to be Forest themed. I always start the year with "Kissing Hand" since most of my kinders have never been to pre-k before and are leery of being in a classroom for the first time. If you need a list of forest themed fiction books, check out PreKinders' forest page here. Aside from adding a few new fiction books when I get my Scholastic catalog in August, the majority of my new purchases this year will have to be nonfiction. Here is a short list of nonfiction books that I am purchasing to go along with all the fabulous fiction books I already have:
In January 2012, National Geographic will be publishing a new addition to their "Readers" series so I will add that as well::
I have to put that in large font because in the past I did not think enough about introducing new vocabulary prior to reading aloud. I am guilty of using my own kids as a measuring stick and I have finally come to realize that my kinders come from such a different environment that it's like comparing apples and automobiles. I teach in a Title I school and although I certainly took enough education courses to "know" that a low socio-economic background contributes to language and vocabulary delays, I really didn't understand how much of a difference it made.
My "aha" moment came this year, on a field trip. One of my darlings was sitting a row behind me on the school bus as we were traveling the highway to Oklahoma City to go to the Science Museum. (thanks to a Target grant!)
Suddenly she became very excited and shouted out "Mrs. Knopf, I see a circle thing! With water in it!" She was so animated that I craned my head around to see what she could possibly be talking about. I scanned the fields we were passing and couldn't imagine what she was seeing. Then she shouted out again, "There's another one! See, it's round with water!" That's when I realized she was talking about a pond! It absolutely floored me that this child had never seen a pond before and didn't have the background knowledge to name it when she saw it.
That's when I realized that I really have to introduce more vocabulary to these kiddos. It's not good enough to just explain words that they ask me about, or assume that because my 4 year old knows certain things that my kinders will have the same experiences and knowledge. I have now embraced themed word walls, because anything that isn't contained in a 10 block radius around our school is likely new to most of my kinders.
I have very little wall space kin my classroom: our front wall is taken up by my SmartBoard and calendar, one side wall is our sink and cubbies, the other side is all windows and the back wall is too far away from our carpet to really be useful for theme words. Therefore, in order to fit my theme words, I have to paste them onto poster boards. I have a poster board for almost every unit now and I hang them off the sides of our mobile book cart. This way I always have the current unit as well as the previous unit on display.
I haven't laminated it yet but here's what my Forest Theme word wall looks like, I added stickers from Hobby Lobby to make it a bit more fun and I used real photographs so my kinders will have a better understanding of the real animals:
You can download the cards for the word wall here free.
Whew! That was a super long post! If you want some more Forest Themed activities, check out my forest unit at TPT. Also, for some good info on helping children to comprehend non fiction texts, look here.