A way to build that community is through Read Alouds. Every year for the last several years, I would receive an email or phone call from the fourth or fifth grade teachers in one of my elementary schools. The call would be asking if these teachers could borrow my "community" books. I would pack them up in a box or basket and head over to deliver them personally. There was just something about actually seeing the children who would be interacting with these books.
Now that I am retired that phone call never came. I still have those books in one of my baskets here in my "space" at home. I glanced through them today. Here are a few of my favorites and why they were picked to go in this beginning-of-the-year basket!
- Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes: I always started my second grade year with this book. It was a way to show students that everyone is special and names are important. We then would do a study on where our names came from and where our parents got our name.
- Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud: what a wonderful book on helping children to look outside themselves and think of others.
- Don't Laugh at Me by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin: this actually is a song. It again helps children to treat others as they would want to be treated.
- Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna: This is an old story retold, but with a wonderful message everyone needs to be reminded of again and again. Be careful what you say, you can never get those words back.
- Wolf! by Becky Bloom: This is a great book to show the power of reading. A great one to start off your independent reading time!
- The Conversation Club by Diane Stanley: with the common core state standards emphasising the art of conversation, this book is a perfect way to kick off discussion about talking!
Let me know how your community of readers and writers is doing!