Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 For 10 Picture Books

This year it is so much fun writing this blog post because I have had the opportunity to get to visit with both Mandy @ Enjoy and Embrace Learning as well as Cathy @ Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community.  Both of them have helped me grow through their blogs, books, and tweets.  So I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful opportunity.
I have decided to focus my 10 picture books on Word Study.  My heart and passion is in vocabulary and increasing my students love of words as well as transitioning BIG words into their writing. I believe picture books are a powerful tool for word learning.

#1 I always read Big Words in the beginning of the year just to start our conversations about collecting words-searching for BIG words.  Follow up activity: Have the students choose any article or internet site ie: Wonderopolis and choose some BIG words. We then create a large anchor chart of BIG words.

#2 Max's Words another favorite because of the story. Max collects words and his two brothers see know use in this collection and is unwilling to trade their collections for words will have to read the book to find out what happens.  Follow up activity:  I have students collect words and this is our introduction to their Word Study spiral.  They glue all the words on the first page and then we share!!

#3 The Boy Who Loved Words:  a great follow up to Max's Words because the story line is more detailed.  I like this book because the boy walks all around town collecting words.  Follow up activity:  We walk around our school (inside and outside) I even take them into the teacher's lounge, back into the kitchen, and the hidden staircase-- they LOVE it  As we walk, the students collect words in their Word Study notebook. 

#4 How I Spent My Summer Vacation is an adventure picture book with a surprising ending.  I enjoy this book for voice as well as perspective.  Follow up:  We discuss how the young buckaroo uses his vocabulary to give great description to all of his journeys including the horrible stampede at dinnertime!

#5 Postcards from Pluto connects with our Earth and Space unit. I love to read it to launch off our unit. Follow up activity: students write all the space words they can think of on the left side of a T chart then I read the book and they write down the new words on the right side while circling the words they already know on the left side.

#6 Courage is an all time favorite-just discuss the title for a while. Follow up activity:  simple sentences describe situations that you might need courage. Students make a list of words that describe a time when they felt they needed courage. Then we share the list of words and guess the event when the student needed courage.

#7 Agatha's Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story is a great book about puns and introduction to figurative language.  Follow Up Activity:  I pass out the puns ahead of time and ask students to write down what they think they mean then as I read with a colored pencil they * if correct or write a new meaning if they want to change their thinking.

#8 You Read to Me, I'll Read to You is a group of picture books that are perfect for Poetry Friday.  Students take turns reading the poems in choral reading.  Follow up activity: I start the year with the Very Short Stories one, and we discuss the flow and sound of words extending into rhyme patterns and the spelling of these patterns. Here is a follow up blog post about our Halloween Poetry Friday share time.  

#9 My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks is an excellent book to review similes in word study. By 5th grade, most students are blue in the face when you mention similes and you get the same definition; however the hook comes with what do they mean and how do they effect the story?  Follow up activity: The students wrote their own poem about themselves using new similes they learned from the book. Our class displayed their poetry out in the hall.

Finally #10 pardon me if I go off the beaten path, but I have to tell you about Donovan's Word Jar true not a picture book but a very quick and powerful chapter book.  Follow up activity: As I read it aloud, the students listen to the power of words and how Donovan uses his words to change his friends lives. Many students end up building their own word jar similar to the one on the right.  Sean collected words all year and then donated the jar to me but kept the words :)

So there it is my 10 for 10 almost all picture books-enjoy reading all the other posts at Enjoy and Embrace Reading. Again thanks for hosting Cathy and Mandy!! 


  1. Thanks for sharing your list! I am anxious to grab a few of the titles and start reading!! There is another book just like My Dog is as Smelly as a Sock, it focuses on describing a person and their personality. It is by the same author titled, My Best Friend Is As Sharp As A Pencil. I am probably going to use it once in word study and then bring it back for our character study.
    You mentioned your word study spiral a few times...could you explain more about it? Would love to know how it is organized, what type of notebook you use, etc...!

    1. I would also love to hear more about the word study spiral.

  2. I'm going to have to look for My Dog Is As Smelly As Dirty Socks! That looks like a blast! :)

  3. I can post later on more specifics about my word study spiral if you need me too. But it is really simple we use a spiral notebook and we just put all of our word work in it: sentence observations, word observations, word lists, mini lessons on figurate language etc. Here is a link with a picture of the spiral

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I love the ideas of word collecting. My preschooler has just started noticing words in text and that they are different from letters. There are some really useful books here! I'm particularly interested in the boy who loved words. I love your twist on the event!

  6. I appreciate you including tips on using each of the these titles. Thank you.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  7. Thanks for joining us today. I love the focus on words and will have to find Courage to look at in person. What a strong word to think about daily.

  8. Thank you for your list and for suggesting follow up activities as well!