Read a Back to School Book and Begin Building a Community of Readers
Wondering how to turn a class room full of strangers into a community of learners?
Try reading back to school themed books aloud to your students. Whether you teach kindergarten or tenth grade, reading books aloud is one of the best ways to break the ice during the first days of school.
When you share well written, engaging stories with your students, you provide them with a sense of common knowledge and give them something to connect with. A well stocked arsenal of back to school books can also serve as a springboard for discussing classroom expectations, bullying, and team work. The following are some back to school book suggestions that you might use with your students:
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
This is an irresistible choice that will bring comic relief to the most weary of readers. First Day Jitters is the story of Sarah Jane Hartwell, a girl who does not want to go to her first day of school. She, like most students, is worried that she won’t know anyone. As she drives to school, her hands are clammy, and she is short of breath. She has a terrible case of the First Day Jitters. It is not until the end of the book that the girl’s identify is revealed. Sarah Jane is actually a brand new teacher! Readers will delight in the surprise ending as they realize teachers get first day jitters too! When you combine this book with reading comprehension lesson plans for First Day Jitters that support that support the use of reading comprehension strategies, you can teach your students to enjoy books and better comprehend while reading.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum is another good back to school book pick. Before going to school, Chrysanthemum thought her name was the most wonderful name in the world. She loved the way it looked when it was written with ink on an envelope, she loved the way it looked when it was written with icing on a birthday cake and she loved the way it looked when she wrote it herself using a fat orange crayon. In summary, Chrysanthemum thought her name was absolutely perfect. Then she started school where jealous bullies made her feel badly about her name and about herself. Chrysanthemum’s experience with her first few days of school will remind readers how important it is to treat one another with respect. Chrysanthemum will find a way into your students’ hearts and quickly become a favorite among your back to school books.
When you choose books like First Day Jitters and Chrysanthemum you provide students with a common experience. That common experience is something that you can return to time and time again as the school year progresses.