I am linking up with Kimberly of Funky First Grade Fun and Courtney from Swimming into Second. They are both having fabulous linky parties, which I just had to combine!
First up is Courtney's Read Aloud linky party. I love reading aloud. Seriously, if they would pay me to just sit and read aloud to kids all day long, that is what I would do, unfortunately I have to do all those assessments and lesson plans and such, which really gets in the way of my reading-aloud-groove. I try to read aloud at least two books a day - right now we are doing a Mo Willems author study. My firsties are in love with Elephant & Piggie! Unfortunately our library only had 1 Elephant & Piggie title, and our local book store only had 2 more, so I haven't been able to fully indulge their desire for more antics from that adorable duo, but luckily they also enjoy the Pigeon books.
What I love about all of Mo Willems' books as read alouds is that the illustrations are so simple, but so skillful. Even my ELL kiddos have no difficulty following along. The books are also fun and interactive - at one point my firsties were being so loud, telling Pigeon that he couldn't drive the bus, that our principal stopped in to see what the heck was going on! Since they were all so clearly engrossed in the story - seriously, no one even looked at her when she walked in, they were that into the book -she walked right back out, satisfied that even though we were noisy we were obviously still learning. So, hands down, Mo Willems earns top spot for my favorite read aloud author (if you pinned me down, "Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" would be my ultimate favorite.)
Now, moving onto the Mentor Text linky party...I choose Mo Willems for that too! Yep, his books are the perfect springboard for writing in my classroom. The illustration are very simple - plus Mo gives a guided drawing lesson for Pigeon here. In this video he even explains that he makes his characters simple to draw so that kids can make up their own stories with his characters!
Half the battle of getting kinders/firsties to write is getting them comfortable with illustrating too! If they can't draw the pictures, then it is very difficult for them to imagine the story and come up with the words to write! Plus, since we're not up to speed on quotation marks etc, speech bubbles are definitely the way to go! I find that for my not-artistically inclined kiddos, providing them with a guided drawing experience definitely helps to alleviate some of their "stage fright" when it comes to writing. For my kids who are already budding artists, they can concentrate on adding details and personalizing the drawings, while at the same time developing their story. Once we have the illustrations down, the stories flow so smoothly!
We're currently working on a class book featuring the Pigeon, and my firsties are so excited! Aside from each of them writing their own page in the class book, several are collaborating with friends to make their own stories. It is amazing how good they are getting - not just at drawing, but at writing complete sentences and making sure their story has an actual sequence/plot! We're not ready to share it just yet, but by the end of next week, be on the look out for our Pigeon book - we even get to color it with...gasp! colored pencils! (It was hilarious how excited they got when I told them that lol!).
So, there you have it, two linky parties for the price of one! Also, a brief shout out to Karen from Flamingo Fabulous in 2nd Grade who is having a giveaway for a pair of her super-cute custom shoes! Make sure you head over to enter, it ends on Friday the 21st of October! Please also vote for my blog for the Top 25 Teacher Blogs on Circle of Moms!