Many Pre-Kindergarten teachers align their programming based on themes or literature selections. I try to incorporate both into my planning. In planning for next year, I am attempting to organize the literature selections I want to use. I based these selections on the skills I want to teach both academically and socially. I thought I would share my tentative planning in order to possibly help trigger some ideas. This is for the first half of the year and is also the sequence in which I plan to introduce the alphabet letters. This sequence has worked very successfully for me. I concentrated on the letters my students would see and hear the most readily. This sequence also gave me greater flexibility to start my guided writing groups sooner. I also tried to align this with the printing sequence suggested by our O.T. (starting with dive down letters).
In my last blog post I outlined the five major components in teaching reading: phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary building, comprehension and fluency. In the first half of the year a great deal of my focus is on phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary building and understanding the reading process (what a word is).
In the later half of the year I focus more on writing, comprehension and fluency.
Note: I will post the literature selections I plan to use for the later half of the year in the next blog posting.
The Lion and the Mouse – Aesop Fables – Letter “Ll”
The book “The Lion and the Mouse” is an Aesop fable book but there are different versions of it. This is a wonderful book to read in relation to the importance of being a good friend. I will also introduce the letter “Ll” and its related sound in conjunction with reading the book and emergent reader “Lion Laughs”.
Concept – Letter “Ll” heard in “lion” and its corresponding sound.
Note: Another book that could be used in “Library Lion” by Kevin Hawkes. It introduces proper behavior that should be followed when going to the libary or listening to a story (uses humour).
The book “Hands are Not for Hitting” is great to use at the beginning of the year to establish rules and virtures of being a good friend.
Concept – I will also introduce the letter “Hh” and its related sound (heard at the beginning of “hands) in conjunction with reading this book and emergent reader “My Helping Hands”.
I use this book to help my students understand the concept of sharing.
Concept – I also use it to introduce the letters “Rr and Ff” (heard in “rainbow” and “fish”) in conjunction with the emergent reader “Rainbow Fish Retelling” which is a simple retelling of the book.
I use this book and the emergent reader “Noses” to help my students appreciate individual differences.
Concept – Rhyme and the letter “Nn” for “nose” and its corresponding sound introduced in the printable emergent reader “Noses”.
I use this book to introduce the concept of self-control.
Concept – Letter “Qq” for “queen” and its corresponding sound is introduced within context of the the reader, which is a simple retelling of the book.
I try to maintain this sequence, however, it may change depending on what activities that are occuring within the school.
The book “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” would be used to introduce colors and color words. I use the simple retelling emergent reader “Pete the Cat’s Shoes” to reinforce colors, color words and introduce the letters “Cc and “Kk” and their corresponding sounds. The students are required to color the shoes according to the text. Note: I also introduce the letter “Kk” because it also makes the same sound as “Cc”.
I use this book to introduce the concept of numbers and phonological awareness. The follow-up emergent reader “Apes Apples” is used to introduce the two sounds of “Aa” and also sound of “Tt”. The students are required to draw the correct amount of apples indicated in the text.
How Many Seeds In A Pumpkin? – Margaret McNamara - Letters “Pp and Ss”
I will use the book “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin” to further our counting experiences. The emergent reader “Down at the Pumpkin Patch” introduces the letters “Pp and Ss” for “pumpkin and stars” within the story context. The students are also required to draw the correct amount of pumpkins inidicated in the text in the interactive version of the reader “Down at the Pumpkin Patch”.
I use the book “Mouse Paint” to introduce colors, color mixing and color words. The emergent reader “Mouse in the Monster Parade” is used as follow-up to introducing the letter “Mm” sound, as well as, the students are required to color the monsters according to the text.
Dr. Suess books are great to use for phonological awareness activities as they use rhyme and play on words. The emergent reader “Enormous Eggs” would be used to further the concept of colors (students must color the eggs according to the text) and introduces the two sounds of “Ee” for “eggs” and “enormous”.
Pets, Animal Adventures and Seasons (Focus on Winter)
This is a beautifully illustrated wordless book that really inspires children to use their imagination. The story is told through the pictures of the little dog’s adventure throughout one day of being swept up into the air while holding onto an umbrella. Beautiful landscapes with jungle, sky, ocean, and many animals and birds. This book could be used for days to create endless stories, talk about adventures, seasons and different parts of the world.
Concepts - I will use the follow-up emergent reader “Under the Umbrella” or “Unicorn’s Umbrella” to introduce “Uu” sound.
Note: I like using the interactive versions of the readers. I use the version where the students cut and paste the pictures or color them as indicated. This adds a comprehension component to the reading process.
The book “Help Me, Mr. Mutt! Expert Answers for Dogs With People Problems” is written from the dog’s persepective. It is a funny book that lays the foundation for a discussion on how a dog should be properly looked after. The activities related to this book and emergent reader could be used to meet your informational content outcomes. This is quite a lengthy book; I am planning to only read a few pages each day and really concentrate on developing reading comprehension strategies.
Concepts - Letter “Dd” for “dog” and steps that need to be addressed to care for a dogs and other pets. This would be introduced through reading the book and emergent reader “Taking Care Of A Dog.”
I Wanna Iguana – Karen Kaufmann – Letter “Ii”
The book “I Wanna Iguana” makes use of persuasion through letter writing. It follows a similar format to the book “Help Me, Mr. Mutt”! This is something that can be further developed in class activities.
Concepts: Letter “Ii” for iguana. I will also do further research about iguanas and also discuss use of persuasion. I will use either emergent reader “Iguana On Ice” or “The Best Pet” that concentrate on developing reading strategies.
This is another funny book where animals take on human characteristics.
Concepts – Letter “Gg” for gorilla and “Zz” for zoo and zebra will be introduced within using the emergent reader and we will also do further research on gorillas. The emergent “Zoo Escape” is a simple retelling of the book. I use all emergent readers during my guided reading groups.
This is not Christmas book but I use it as a base for introducing the emergent reader, “What Does Brown Bear See?” The reader is another version of the book but with a Christmas focus. I also use the same repetition of text in my Christmas writing activities.
Concepts: The letter “Bb” for bear and I also do activities related to using our five senses.
Ocean Animals – Informational Content
The focus in this theme will be on retrieving information. The emergent readers also allow students to read informational content.
The book “Jenny Jellyfish” is both fictional and informational. The students will enjoy hearing the story and learning facts about jellyfish. The follow-up reader “Jellyfish Jiggles” will also support the book and would be used to introduce the letter “Jj” for jellyfish within its story context.
The book “An Octopus Is Amazing” is an information book about the octopus. The emergent reader “Exploring the Sea With Ollie Octopus” would be used as a follow-up to introduce other sea creatures and the letter “Oo” for octopus within its story context.
“Humphrey the Lost Whale” is a true story about a whale that got lost. The students will learn a great deal about whales by listening to the book along with the related video found in the link below. They will also enjoy reading the emergent reader “Whale Watching” which is a funny and fictional story about what happens to a boy when he goes whale watching. It introduces the letter “Ww” and its related sound within its story context.
Valentines, Friendship and Kindness and Final Letters
This is when I begin to focus more effort on conventional writing (letters used to represent words, not scribbles). The majority of the students have developed the ability to hear sounds (phonemic awareness) and associate these with the correct letters (phonics). They have also gained greater control over their pencil skills in forming letters correctly. It is now time for them to apply what they have learned about letters and their related sounds to writing. I often forego guided reading groups for guided writing groups because of time restraints. At this point, they still need considerable assistance in applying what they have learned about letters and sounds. I also place more focus on sight word recognition. I usually start each writing assignment with a number of patterned writing templates they can use where focus is on specific sight words.
I continue to use the emergent readers during shared reading time (projected on my Smart Board) which I use to introduce new reading skills (example, sound of “sh”) but now the students have the ability to read the color copied versions more independently.
Letters “Vv, Xx, Yy and sometimes Qq” are the final letters introduced in the Alphabet Program. During Valentines week I read “Valentine Mice” by Bethany Roberts and “Franklin’s Valentines” by Paulette Bourgeois. I introduce the letters “Vv” for valentines and “Xx” for fox used in the follow-up emergent readers “Valentine Mice” and “Fox Play Rhymes”.
“What Can You Stack on the Back of a Yak?” is a brand new published book that I decided to order to entertain my students. It will integrate well into the mini Transportation theme and rhyme focus in the Literacy Centers. It will also serve as a good foundation to reading the emergent reader “The Yippety Yaks”.
These are the main books I plan to use for an integrated literature based learning classroom that are related to the skills I want to focus on. I use many other books but they are not directly related to my main focus. This helps me ensure that I have these books readily available to me. I do not necessarily own all these books but will have easy access to them.