I read Yankee Doodle sing and read storybook that is published by Scholastic. I like this one because the illustrations help students understand the song and what is happening in it. As I read, I am reinforcing the foundational skills of directionality (right to left progression), return sweep, turning pages, picture/text connection and fluency. This song also supports the theme of Patriotism.
If you do not have the storybook, you could use this video and song:
After I read the book, I let the kids listen to the song. I practice the first few lines with the kids using echo reading of the book. I say: Yankee Doodle went to town. Kids repeat: Yankee Doodle went to town. I say: riding on a pony. Kids repeat: riding on a pony. I do this through the song line “…called it macaroni.” We then practice that far with the music.
I tell the kids that we will continue to practice this song and learn more words tomorrow.
I show students the cover Patriotism by Lucia Raatma and read the title aloud. I tell the students that a patriot is a person who loves his or her country. I ask: How could we show that we love our country? I accept student answers. If they are struggling, I prompt them by hinting: We show every morning that we love our country when we way something with our principal as a school. What do we say with Mrs. Avarhi every morning? (Pledge of Allegiance)
I then show them a map of the US. I ask: Does anyone know what this is? (our country) What country do we live in? (USA or United States of America) What state do we live in? What city do we live in? I encourage students to name other cities or states they know and to show me on the map if they know where they are.
We now browse the selection, looking at the pictures on each page.
We browse the text to get the ‘gist’ of the story. This helps students to determine what they are taking into the story(what they know) and where they need to focus a little more attention and effort (what they don’t know, what they need to learn) It also gives me an opportunity to revisit the concept of picture/text connections. I can also informally assess whether or not students are actively engaged in this prereading by noticing their facial expressions and/or focus levels.
I am usually animated, showing that I am thinking, wondering and noticing things on the page. Before I browse, we review vocabulary words: country, patriotism. Ask: What country do we live in? (USA or United States of America) I ask: How do we show every morning that we love our country? (we say the Pledge of Allegiance)
As we browse, I stop on then following pages and model the comprehension strategies of making connections and asking questions:
Page 2 I wonder if I am a patriot? I think I am because I try to obey the rules of our country and I say the Pledge every morning.
Page 4 I try to be patriotic by voting in all elections. You have chances to vote on things in class and that is how you show you are patriotic!
Page 6 My family loves to go to parades! We go to one on the 4th of July every year and we wear red, white and blue. Why do you think we wear those colors?
Page 8 How are these students being patriotic?
Page 10 I like to watch the Olympics and all sports on TV. But the Olympics are when our country competes against other countries.
Page 12 How are these students showing patriotism? Do we do this? When? With whom?
Page 16 Thomas Jefferson was our president a long time ago. What is the name of our president today?
Page 18 A citizen is a member of a country. People who are not members of the country are called visitors. What country are we citizens of?
Big Books are for shared reading experiences and are more about instruction than evaluation. These questions are used more for modeling and thinking aloud by both teacher and students. I evaluate comprehension when I have reading conferences with them. That is not to say that I cannot informally assess who is comprehending the text based on participation and answers given.
American Symbols book-supporting and extending the theme of Patriotism
I show the student the book that they are going to make about our country. We look at the front cover and browse each page of the book. As we come to each symbol, I tell them the name of it and they repeat it. This book supports the theme of Patriotism. Through the picture walk we 'think aloud' and I question as I browse. My questions address how we 'see America' and 'see Patriotism' in the pictures.
I say: Today we are going to color the cover of our book. I model good coloring and ask: What do you think the main three colors are that we are going to use on our cover? (red, white and blue) Why would we use mainly those colors? (those are the colors of our country)
Students color their covers. As they finish they glue them onto a 11 x 18 or 5.5 x 9 piece of red construction paper and put them on our back table to dry. I have made the book in two different sized versions over the years and here is how they both lay out!
Students then put their two vocabulary words in their dictionaries. (country, patriotism)