Thanks to Katie at Mind Sparks for starting this great linky idea! We're digging up old blog posts and bringing them back for a second go-round. The post I'm revisiting is one that I wrote on my first blog, "Making Waves in 2nd Grade." It's all about my favorite read-aloud ever...
I don't know about you but the hardest part of my job right now is teaching writing. The kids either love to write and won't stop...even when they've gone wildly off topic... or they won't even pick up the pencil. One of my goals this year is to really build their vocabularies and hope (pray, fingers crossed) that it transfers to their writing. But I've done the explicit vocabulary instruction, the "colorful words" charts, etc. and decided someone else could probably do a better job of it. And who might that be, you ask? Edward Tulane. More specifically, Kate DiCamillo, author of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.
I decided to jump straight into really good chapter books as read-alouds... chapter books full of challenging vocabulary. Edward Tulane just happened to be the first one I tried and wow, did it pay off. First of all, the kids were totally captivated by this book. I even had two little ones cry in the middle of it (not that I want to make my students cry) and they begged, yes BEGGED, me to read it as soon as they got to school every morning.
But the vocabulary... that's the best part! We talked about all of those big words and we practiced using them and they put them in their writing notebooks. And guess what...I'm seeing them in their writing, along with other fantabulous words we've come across in books.
So, first I'd like to suggest reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to your class. But I'd also like to ask for your suggestions. Do you know any really great chapter books that will challenge our kiddos to think harder and deeper? Leave me a note if you do. I'd love to hear what must-have books are on your read-aloud list.