Monday, November 5, 2012

Great Fall Books for Read Alouds

Both of the books I am talking about today are by my favorite author, Cynthia Rylant. These books are a 'must read to students' for November. They have been around for a long time and are nothing new, but I had to remind teachers that they are out there. These are books that students can hear over and over and over and still learn something new from them. I know I do!
In November, just makes you feel warm and cozy. Even though we know that winter is around the corner, coming fast, this book helps you feel that maybe that's okay after all.  The craft in this book would fill a writer's workshop for a whole month of mini lessons.  From the descriptive words and phrases to the repeated lines, it is full of ways to make your writing better. The illustrations by Jill Kastner are amazing. I just LOVE this book and look forward to November when I can read it again!
I can't read Scarecrow without hearing Katie Wood Ray's voice reading it and even picture her delivery of it.  She would read it in her Carolina voice as she walked around the room.  No book in sight. She really wasn't reading it, she was reciting it. I didn't look at the typed text in front of me as she read...I watched her. She loved that story. She believed in that story. She WAS that story.  She always told us that we should know the books we read so well that we don't have to look at the words. She made that book sing for me. I could actually see that scarecrow in the field.

Again, Cynthia Rylant has used loads of craft in her writing. Again, there are tons of mini lessons in this one book.  If I had to pick only two books to be in my library to use in workshop, these would be the two. They are so full of craft that you have everything you need to help children be great writers.

One of my former second graders, who is now in college, used Scarecrow as her mentor text when she was a student in my classroom.  Here is her story about The Rocking Horse.  Thanks, Paige!

His legs are made from oak wood.
His back is made from oak wood.
His tail is made from oak wood,
even his head is made from oak wood.
But maybe his mane was made
from that special cloth that your grandmother gave you back in 1983.
So, do you think he is just there to be a decoration?
Or do you think he is there to brighten your day
and  to make everything seem easier?
Well, maybe he doesn't talk and maybe he doesn't walk,
but he is still there to make you happier
or to be your friend.
Or maybe he is just there to sit around
and rock in the breeze on a breezy fall morning.

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