Yesterday I was browsing my Facebook page and came across a post by Scholastic about Book Lover’s Day. Is there really such a day I thought? Went to handy dandy google to check it out and found out that, yes there is such a day. Today, August 9, 2012, is Book Lover’s Day. I thought this would be a perfect day to share some of my favorite books to use in my classroom. These are the books that I have found and used during the last 3 years teaching 3rd grade. Some of these I use for specific lessons and some just for read aloud, but hands down these are my favorites!
1. The World According to Humphrey
So I discovered Humphrey last year when it was time for a new read aloud book and we were beginning to learn about first and third person. Wow – this was a great find! The entire series is written in first person point of view from the perspective of Humphrey, the class hamster. My kids and I all quickly fell in love with Humphrey and his classmates. They quickly learned the difference between first and third person, and most of all we had a great time reading this book and reviewing our reading skills along the way. The kids loved this book so much that when we finished we read another Humphrey book, Friendship According to Humphrey. Although this breaks my first in a series rule (I generally only read the first book in a series to get my kids hooked then off they go reading the rest on their own), we loved the next book equally as much! When we were done with the book, Humphrey made a visit to our classroom (Webkinz Hamster) complete with his little notebook and pen. The students were able to take him home for a week. While at home they would write in the notebook about their adventure with Humphrey. When they brought him back they shared the notebook with the class. They loved this and so did I. It was a great extension for building writing skills outside the classroom.
2. I Wanna Iguana
This is my go to book for introducing persuasive writing. In this story a series of notes between Mom and child go back and forth as the child tries to persuade Mom to get an iguana. Awesome illustrations match this funny story. This is a great intro for discussing what makes a persuasive argument.
3. The 39 Clues – Maze of Bones
So I have to admit that this is one of my all time favorite book series! I personally love the young adult fiction genre. Although this series was at a higher reading level than most of my 3rd graders, it made a great read aloud book! I like to call this series a combination of kids on The Amazing Race with a little bit of craziness like Keifer Sutherland in 24. For the last 3 years, this has been the read aloud that I have started the year with. It doesn’t take long for the kids to really get into the adventure with the main character Amy and Dan Cahill. The end of the book leaves them wanting more (my underlying plan) and they spend the rest of the year reading the series. My class has been known to keep the library out-of-stock of this series after I finish book 1. One thing I love about this book is the bits of history that are included. More than once has the historical facts from this book come back later in the year as we make connections to something else we are learning!
This is always an early in the year introduction for our Social Studies unit on communities. This is a great little book on a group of kids that create their own community in a vacant lot out of rocks, sticks, and other things they find lying around. I generally use this introduction to review and find out what my kids already know about communities. We generally follow this with the creation of our own class community, which we add to all throughout our community unit.
This was a new book for me this past year and it was fantastic! A little more serious and mature than the other books I have read, this was a great end of the year read aloud. I would recommend it for 3rd grade and higher. This is an adventure/survival book about a boy who is stranded in the Canadian wilderness after the plane he is in crashes and the pilot dies. Besides being totally drawn in and begging for more on many occasions, this was a great book for discussing how a character changes. We also got an awesome class mantra from this book “Patience, Think, Do it Right” as we were reading. My awesome classroom aide made us a sign and we hung it in the front of the room. It was such a great reminder to slow down and do it right the first time, an important survival fact for Brian but great practice for us!
That’s a little glimpse into my classroom and my favorite books to use. With the impending change to kindergarten I’d love any suggestions you might have for books to use. What are your favorite books to teach with in your classroom?