There are a lot of lessons out there that focus on author studies, and Laura Numeroff is a popular choice. In order to support my students at the beginning of the year in fully engaging with our author study of Laura Numeroff, I felt it important to back up a bit and introduce my students to the different components of books. For many of my students the very basics of holding, opening, and turning the pages is a new and bewildering experience. Looking at the common core standards I thought to myself: how could I expect my students to analyze the structure or texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole (CCRA.R.5) if they have no or little experience with books and basic book components? This lesson is designed to make students more familiar with the basic components of the book so that, later, they might be able to expand into the more rigorous elements of reading comprehension, especially those that relate to the Author's Craft and Structure grouping of the standards. For these reasons, I focused on RL.K.5, knowing that it's the beginning of the year, and, later, we'll move into more challenging material.
This is the second day of our book study, and I used the time to introduce my students to the parts of a book, going a little further than what my students came in from kindergarten. It is estimated that 32 million adults in the U.S. can't read. That's 14 percent of the population (U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy). With an emphasis on a wide range of reading students will need to know and understand what each part of a book is and how to use it. In an article published on April 9, 2012, The Reading Connection, sums up the importance of taking time to introduce children to books and parts of books:
While Read-Alouds are about getting kids excited for the stories inside books and giving them information on all their favorite subjects, there’s another part that we talk about less frequently: helping kids learn about books in general.
Children who grow up in families where books aren't an integral part of daily life may not be as familiar with the parts of a book as kids who use books every day. Helping kids at Read-Alouds get comfortable with the way books are organized is just as important as inspiring them to read on their own or teaching them how to sound out words. It’s part of the mechanics of reading. In Read-Alouds, take time to emphasize the parts of a book.
On this second day of our author study I began by reviewing what we focused on yesterday and posed the question, “Who can tell the class a fact or two about Laura Numeroff?” As hands immediately shot up, I reminded my students to think about their answers first. The students who responded shared that Laura Numeroff enjoyed collecting stamps and reading, and that her favorite possession was a microscope. Impressed with their answers, I stated that they knew a lot about Laura Numeroff.
I then held up several different If You Gave a … books I asked one more question, “Do you know what all the parts of a book are called?” This time my students were able to tell me books had pages, pictures, and a cover. I noted that this was a good start and explained today they were going to learn more about the different parts of books. I furthered explained it was important to be able to identify parts of a book because this was the beginning of being able to understand what the book is going to be about and what the author is going to be telling them about.
I then introduced A Book is Just Like You and instructed my students to listen carefully as I read this book to them, because it compares children to books. As I read I slowed down and used my best voice animation to emphasize and compare how students are like a book.
When I finished reading I gave my students a moment to think about how they were like a book. After a short minute I had my students turn to and greet their rug partners. I then directed them to share 3 ways they were similar to books with their partners. When my students were finished sharing I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select 3 student pairs to share their comparisons with the rest of the class. These students shared that they had addresses and homes like a book’s call number and place of the shelf, they had a face which was like the book’s title, and skin which protected them similar to the way a book cover protects a book. As these students shared, the rest of my students showed me they agreed by showing a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).
As my students finished sharing I explained that they would work with their partner to complete the Parts of the Book activity sheet. However, before they partnered up, I had a surprise for them.
I wanted my students to have something they could hang on to and remember 50 years later. Over the years I have had some exceptionally inspiring teachers, and the lessons that still stand out are the ones that were fun and hands on. I want my students to know and remember the parts that make up this thing we call “a book,” what better way than through song and dance. Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. I had heard the ”Hokey Pokey Book” song before, however do not remember all the words. What follows is a modified version of what I taught my students.
With my students in a circle we sang Hokey Pokey Book Song, to the tune of ‘Hokey Pokey’, and acted out the parts:
When we finished singing I instructed my students to partner up and sit in the seat of the table of the partner they were closest to. Once all my students were situated I displayed Parts of a Book Activity Sheet on the Promethean board and explained that they would work together to examine the book I was about to give them and complete the activity sheet together. I then passed out their Parts of a Book Activity Sheet and books by Laura Numeroff. As my students began to inspect their books, I met with each group to check on their progress. During these types of activities where students are working in pairs or small groups, is is important to meet with each pair, as demonstrated in Meeting with Student Pairs, to let your students know that you expect them to be focused on their work and to support students with misconceptions that emerge.
As my students began to finish, I instructed them to partner read the book Laura Numeroff book they were using. Once all my students were finished I collected their work and randomly called on 2 student pairs to display their work on the doc-u-cam and point out the book parts to the class. It is equally important to display finished student work because it adds value and meaning to what your students are doing. This Student Work Sample is very neat and the students who presented it to the class were very confident sharing their completed project. As these students shared the rest of the class showed me they agreed by showing me a thumb up.
Once my students were finished with the collaborative activity I had them re-group in their leveled reading groups for differentiated reading instruction. While my students are in these groups they rotate every 15 to 20 minutes through different work areas. One of these areas is journal writing because I believe journal writing helps students to further develop their understanding of what was learned in the rest of the lesson and apply what they just learned about during the guided and collaborative activities.
Here is the prompt I put on the Promethean board: Explain how you and books are alike. Tell which parts of books match which part of your body.
I checked each journal for completeness and understanding as each reading group rotated to my leveled reading table. This student, Journal Check: High Reading Group, was quite thorough in her explanation.
For a sticker my students identified and explained the importance of 3 different parts of a book.