Tag Archives: Kwame Alexander

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? “How To” Books for “How To” Writing

1445217197666

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Sometimes the discovery of a new book leads me to making many connections to other books and that sparks me to want to make a new blog post!  Such is the case for this week’s post – focusing on books written as “How To’s”, inspired by the new book The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog by Paul B. Janeczko.

One of the tendencies for students writing instructions is including too many words:  “First, you have to ….”  When teaching “How To” Writing – I tell students to follow the S.A.D. FormulaSequence word, Action word, Detail.  For example, First, (sequence word) squeeze (action word) a little toothpaste on the bristles (detail).  If you don’t follow the S.A.D. formula, your reader will be SAD because they won’t know what to do!

While it is important to learn how to write realistic “how to’s”, I also love to invite students to add a little creativity and imagination to their instructional writing.  The following are books to inspire creative “How To” writing.

Image result for the proper way to meet a hedgehog

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog Paul B. Janeczko

This delightful collection of “How To” poems, from practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) or fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake) are written by a collection of amazing writers including Kwame Alexander, Ralph Fletcher, Karla Kushkin, and Douglas Florian.   There is creativity, gratitude, and joy in these poems and the soft, watercolor illustrations make it delightful to look at.  Love this brand new book!

40062839

How to Give Your Cat a Bath: In Five Easy Steps Nicola Winstanley

Laugh out loud, hilarious new “how to” book features a little girl, a know-it-all narrator, and a cat who refuses to take a bath.  This book will have your students cracking up and would inspire a lot of funny “how to’s” in your class!

How To Be – Lisa Brown

I LOVE this charming book and have used it as an anchor book for many writing lessons.  Simple instructions on how to be various animals, written in a clear “how to” format.  Added clever bonus is that it doubles as instructions on how to be a person – brave, clever, friendly, curious, and charming.  Delightful illustrations.

Writing Idea – students write about an animal they researched in a “how to” instructions format.  Include diet, habitat, behavior, special skills, enemies and a human character trait.

Live___________,  Eat____________,  Catch _________________,  Fly______________, Swim_______________, Beware___________, Be _________________  and _______________________

How to lose your friends

How To Lose All Your Friends – Nancy Carlson

Hilarious tongue-in-cheek “how to” guide to loosing your friends.  Lots of connections to the child-like behaviors Carlson describes:”Be a bad sport – When someone touches you playing tag, lie and say they missed” (LOL!)  This is a great book to use at the beginning of the year.  I like to have the class ‘re-write” the instructions, focusing on positive behaviors –  “How to Keep Your Friends”.

how to read a story

How to Read a Story – Kate Messner

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

Delightful book to encourage reading and sharing, with the steps on how to read a book to a friend.  Simple but effective reminders to use expression, make predictions and read with feeling.

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle Chris Raschka

A young girl provides step by step instructions to learn to ride a bicycle…complete with some falls and lots of practice and determination…but ultimately with success!
Could be used to discuss determination or to discuss growth mindset.  Signature Chris Raschka watercolor illustrations.

The Astronaut Handbook – Meghan McCarthy

Delightful guide to becoming an astronaut.  Interesting and entertaining, full of fascinating facts and adorable illustrations. (Kids are particularly fascinated by bathroom instructions!)  Back notes provide more detailed information about space life.  Fun read-aloud and great anchor for writing “How To Become” with different occupations.

things to do

Things to Do – Elaine Magliaro

 Things to Do If You Are A Honeybee

    Flit among flowers

    Sip nectar for hours

    Be yellow and fuzzy.

    Stay busy.  Be buzzy. 

I remember being surprised by how much I loved this book when I first read it.  Whimsical  illustrations and gorgeous, rhyming text.  This book is really a collection of poems focusing on the small moments and secret joys of a child’s day, including animals and insects they encounter.  This book is delightful invitation to write!

eddie ready

Eddie Gets Ready for School David Milgrim

Morning routines are different for everyone, including Eddie!  While Eddie’s check-list says one thing, the illustrations tell a different story!  Fun read aloud and perfect anchor book for younger writers to write their own “How to Get Ready for School” (or hockey practice, swimming lessons, soccer game) instructions.

How to Teach a Slug to Read – Susan Pearson

Clever, witty, delightful, useful and engaging – full of practical advice for teaching slugs (and human kids) to read.  Adorable illustrations and hilarious “sluggish” titles and slug-related stories (think Little Miss Muffet with a slug instead of a spider!)

33414849

How to Make Friends with a Ghost – Rebecca Green

A great book to share at Halloween but with a universal story of friendship and kindness, it could be read anytime.  A whimsical story about ghost care, this story is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and written in lovely “how to” format.

How to Read a Book – Kwame Alexander

This book will not be released until June, but I’m so excited about it, I just had to include it!  Created by the dream team of extraordinary poet Kwame Alexander and collage-style illustrations of Melissa Sweet –  this ode to reading is a must have for me!  “Once you’re comfy, peel its gentle skin, like you would a clementine…Next, put your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and POP the words out.”   Squeeeee, can you stand it?

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found a book that caught your eye!

5 Comments

Filed under 2019 releases, How To Writing, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, New Books, Poetry, Read-Aloud, Writing Anchors

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Februrary Fun!

IMWAYR

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers.

I have discovered some wonderful new picture books this week that I’m excited to share!

22249668

Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall

I love books that have different layers of interpretation and I can see Red as having the potential to stimulate some deep discussions with older children. Red is a crayon who doesn’t fit in – he has a bright red label, but never quite feels as if he belongs and is miserable. The reason is – he’s actually a blue crayon with a red label. Readers know this, but Red doesn’t realize until a new friend offers him some insight on his true color. This story is simple, clever celebration of inner diversity. Simple prose, colorful illustrations – this book is a gem! 

22318389

6162DsZCZZL[1]

I Don’t Want to Be A Frog! – Dave Petty

I absolutely LOVED this book!  It’s hilarious and carries a great message about self esteem and self acceptance.  Little Frog does NOT want to be a frog – in fact he would rather be ANY other animal than a slimy, wet, bug eating frog!  Beautiful illustrations, funny and I am already thinking it would be a great writing anchor for “What Animal Would You Rather Be?”   Fantastic book!

22546632

Click Clack Peep! – Doreen Cronin

Here’s another “Click, Clack” book to add to my collection, and while it doesn’t quite live up to the original “Click, Clack, Moo!” – I enjoyed it very much!  The story centers around a little duck who is not going to sleep.  The cows, and all the animals provide amusing suggestions on how to get this little duck to sleep, while Farmer Brown has no clue what is going on.  This book would make a great gift for new parents! 

21965059

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich – Julia Sarcone-Roach

This is a VERY clever book with a surprise ending that your students will love but likely not suspect!    You left your sandwich on a park bench while you left to play with your friends and when you come back – it’s gone.  What happened to it?  And so begins the detailed recounting of what happened to your sandwich – a bear at it!  Or did it?  Hilarious and fun – this book is a perfect read-aloud and would make an excellent anchor for re-telling an event in sequence with lots of examples of transition words. 

20759653

One Big Pair of Underwear – Laura Gehl

Fun, rhyming text and hilarious illustrations – this is an excellent book for teaching counting and the importance of sharing!  Silly and fun – and we all know how much kids love listening to us read the word “underwear”!

20791092

Sick Simon – Dan Krall

Simon is sick but he still goes to school… and spreads his germs to everyone!  Hmmm…I was not quite sure about this one because the illustrations were pretty disgusting – graphic illustrations of phlegm and mucus – Blech!  But I believe that was intentional!  This is a must book for the classroom during cold and flu season as it is an effective way to talk about germs and how illness is spread.   

17364851[1]

Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons – Sara Levine

“Have you ever wondered what we would look like if we didn’t have any bones? It wouldn’t be pretty.” These are the first lines from this interesting, interactive Nonfiction book. A conversational, question-answer format, this book introduces young readers to different skeletons – from humans to animals. Great for introducing comparing and a perfect read-aloud in a primary classroom. Engaging, interesting and fun!  Thank you, Carrie Gelson, for introducing me to this book!

18014736

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission – Judith Viorst

I first learned of this book from our amazing teacher-librarian at my school.  She told me how much her own two girls had loved this beginning chapter series and now it was a very popular book in our library.  I also noticed on Alyson Beecher’s blog post Kid Lit Frenzy  that it had recently won a Cybil award (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards) for best early chapter book 2014.  And who doesn’t love anything written by Judith Viorst?  So… I knew I had to read it!  This is actually the third installment in the Lulu series – and begins with Lulu’s parents going out of town and leaving her with a babysitter – Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinsky!  Lulu is NOT pleased and concocts many different plans to bring her parents home, until Ms. Solinsky reveals a secret!  This book has simple enough text for beginning readers but is chocker-block full of fun!  I loved it and am now going to put my name on the wait list in our library for the other two!

crossover
 The Crossover – Kwame Alexander

Josh Bell
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame
Folks call me that
’cause my game’s acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame.
My hair is long, my height’s tall.
See, I’m the next Kevin Durant,
LeBron, and Chris Paul.

WOW! Oh Wow! From the second you start reading this book, you will not be able to stop! Basketball loving, dread-locked Josh Bell stole my heart and he will steal yours. This book was recently awarded the Newberry for 2015 and has been getting a lot of buzz. I was reluctant because I don’t really like basketball and am not a huge fan of books in verse. But this book is nothing like anything I’ve ever read: dazzling characters with amazing voices; rollicking, rhyming, bouncing rhythm; extraordinary writing; a powerful ending; themes of sportsmanship, family, siblings, coming of age, diversity, death, courage… This book is brilliant, funny, poignant, entertaining. And in case you haven’t inferred – I LOVED this book! YOU MUST READ IT! And if you teach grades 6-9 (I’d go as low as grade 5) YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK TO YOUR CLASS! Okay, I’ll stop.

Extended book trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BONWz5Ao82E

Funny clip by the author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO2-u1258UU

 

Thanks for stopping by!  What book(s) caught your eye?  I’d love to know!

17 Comments

Filed under Award Winner, Beginning Chapter Book, Book in Verse, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Sports