May 20, 2013
The air is getting crisper, the leaves are changing color and falling gently to the ground, and hints of the holidays are starting to appear everywhere. Fall is such a beautiful and exciting time of year, and such a cozy time to snuggle close with your kids and read a great story. Here are my Storia eBook picks for the changing autumn weather.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! [Teachers|Parents] is an autumn take on the classic story “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” It follows the same singsong rhythm as the classic story, but the old lady is swallowing different items that have to do with autumn. My daughter loved this book as soon as I brought it up in Storia because the cover is so colorful and inviting. She has noticed the signs of fall outside and quickly recognized the fall leaves on the cover, and she wanted to read it immediately.
Because of the repetition of lines in this story, it is easy for small children to “read” along with you. They can also make predictions about why the old lady is swallowing each item. Ask your child, “What do you think the old lady will end up making with the leaves, the shirt, the pumpkin, etc.?” each time you get to a new item that she swallows. Kids will have fun guessing what all of these silly things will come together to create.
Another beneficial reading strategy that can be linked with this book is ordering story events. You can print out or draw pictures of each item that the old lady swallows, and have your child put them in order after reading the story. It is okay to have them do this with or without looking at the book. If they look at the story to find the order, they are going to be using very early “look back” skills that will come in handy when they get older.
You can read this story over and over all season long, and have a different activity or conversation each time you read.
Early Chapter-Book Readers:
Children of all ages love this time of year, when their family and friends join them in all the “pick your own” fun. Apple picking and pumpkin picking are always a topic for discussion and writing in my classroom during this season. So, for early chapter-book readers Ready, Freddy! Apple Orchard Race [Teachers|Parents] is a great autumn book choice. Not only is this a fun book to read, but it teaches young readers valuable lessons such as following directions, being honest, playing fair, and treating others well.
Young readers can relate to the events in this story, so it will give them confidence in their comprehension as well as the schema (background knowledge) to make inferences as they read. Since they are probably familiar with apple picking and class trips, they will be able to make predictions about characters and events as they read.
These predictions and inferences can be done by using the notes feature in Storia. Since chapter titles usually give a clue about the main idea of the chapter, have your child make a prediction about what will happen in each chapter based on what they have already read and the chapter title. This can be done at the beginning of each chapter. At the same time they can also check their prediction at the end of each chapter when they are ready to make their next prediction. Since you can go into the notes feature and see what they are predicting, you can monitor their comprehension and inferring skills even if you are not able to read with them all the time. Their notes will be saved within Storia for you to review at your leisure. At the very end of the book, you can discuss the theme or lesson of the story with your child.
Keeping notes and having discussions about reading is essential to building comprehension, and this is a great book to use to begin practicing these skills.
My book pick for advanced readers doesn’t follow my fall theme for this blog. However, I chose The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch [Teachers|Parents] because it reminded me so much of The Hunger Games [Teachers|Parents] . Why does this matter? Well, The Hunger Games is such a recent fad, but it is written at a very high reading level. I think The Eleventh Plague will be well received during this time by older readers who may not have the comprehension skills to handle reading The Hunger Games just yet.
The premise of The Eleventh Plague is that America is ravaged after a brutal war. The idea may sound familiar. The main character, Stephen, is a 15-year-old boy who was born after this war, so all he knows is the nomadic life of a salvager. The story keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and wanting to find out how he will possibly survive. This is a must-read to keep older readers in the discussion of alternate lifestyles in a “new” America.
Nonfiction is written for and appealing to all ages. Let’s not forget about sharing this exciting and enriching genre with young children. Welcome Fall[Teachers|Parents] is a nonfiction series that includes books about leaves, apples, and pumpkins. All three books are sold as a pack for Storia. What a great deal! Three eBooks for the price of one. Stunning seasonal pictures and easy-to-read text make these books a great way to introduce young readers to nonfiction.
Read Welcome Fall: Leaves (Parents) [Teachers|Parents] and then take a nature walk with your child around your neighborhood to look for and collect different-colored leaves. If they can’t find many different leaves on the ground, have them notice the different colors still on the trees. Here are some leaf activities that my daughter loves, which you can do when you get home:
Welcome Fall: Pumpkins [Teachers|Parents] and Welcome Fall: Apples [Teachers| Parents] would be a great introduction to a pumpkin- or apple-picking adventure. If you have a mobile device such as an iPad, you can bring it along with you and read this story in the car on the way to the farm or while you wait for the hayride to pick you up and bring you to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard. When you get home, here are some activities you can do with your child:
Fall is such an amazing time of year with fun literature and enjoyable family activities for every weekend. Happy reading and happy fall!
About Laura Murray:
Laura Murray is a fourth-grade teacher in Paramus, New Jersey. This is her second year using Storia in her classroom and at home with her daughter, and she loves it! We hope you join in with comments about her ideas for using Storia with your children.
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October 24, 2012