Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Three Favorite Things - My Favorite Read Alouds

Even though I am a math/science teacher, I still love to read books to my students. Most of the time, I read books to my students that are related to a math concept or something associated with our current science unit. For example, when we were working through a unit on time, I read Game Time by Stuart Murphy.

However, sometimes I just like to read stories my students just because I love to read and I love to share my favorite stories with them. For this month's Favorite Things list, I want to share three of my favorite read alouds.

  1. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka. Jon Scieszka is a genius. I really can't think of another word to describe him. My first exposure to the writings of Mr. Scieszka was during my freshman speech class in college. My professor read the story of "The Stinky Cheese Man" and I was hooked. Each year, I read the same story to my students and it is always a highlight of the school year. If you are unfamiliar with the story, it is the adventures of a man made of stinky cheese. Sound familiar? This story, however, ends in a rather unique way. Give it a try. I promise you will love it. You can also try The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.

  2. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I have read this book at least 4 times and I am still discovering new elements of the story. For those of you who may not know the story, it is the tale of Miranda, a girl growing up in 1970s New York City and dealing with what it means to be a teenager. Add to this the homeless guy who lives on the corner, the peculiar boy from her school who punched her best friend for no apparent reason, and some rather strange notes that appear to be coming from the future and you have just a taste of the story When You Reach Me. This is seriously one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. My students are on the edge of their seats the entire time we read the story and it is very difficult for me not to cry when we reach the climax of the story and the mystery is solved. I know exactly what is going to happen and I get choked up anyway. When you read it (see what I did there?), you will not be the least bit surprised that it was awarded the Newbery Award. If you like this book, Mrs. Stead's other novel, Liar and Spy is just as good. My wife and I listened to both books on our drive home from Disney Word a few years back.

  3. Weslandia by Paul Fleischman. Weslandia is the story of a boy named Wesley who doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the people in his town, including his own parents. To solve this problem, Wesley creates his own civilization, including his own food, clothing, games, and written language. The civilization, called Weslandia, becomes quite popular and Wesley become the town hero.

    At the end of each year, after we have finished our state testing, our grade level does a project based on this book. The students are tasked with creating a civilization from scratch. They create a language, describe the foods, design the flag and government, and even describe the climate. It is a great review of all of the concepts taught throughout the school year. I am always amazed at the incredible projects that are produced by my students. If you are interested in finding out more about this project, called "My New Civilization," it can be purchased from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

So, there you go, three of my favorite read alouds. I actually put together a longer list, so if you are interested, you can read "My Seven Favorite Read Aloud Books." What are your favorite books to read aloud to your students? Please leave your favorites in the comments below.

This post was part of the monthly Favorite Things link up, hosted by The Teaching Trio. Please check out what some other great teachers are sharing this month.