Red: A Crayon's Story is on a 1.6 AR level. This story is about a crayon who is labeled as red but is actually blue. Throughout the story, the crayon sees himself as a failure because everything he draws that is supposed to be red is not good enough. However, he realizes his worth when he is able to draw something that is supposed to be blue. With this text, I would hope to teach children that it is important to not pretend to being something you aren't. As an activity, I would like to give students a crayon with a misleading label and have them write how they would feel if someone thought something about them that simply was not accurate. In the end, I would hope children would feel that it is okay to not be what people always expect you to be.
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle is on a 3.7 AR level. This text tells the story of a hermit crab who has outgrown his shell. He finds a new one, but he feels that it is a little too plain. Therefore, he takes the time to carefully decorate it with sea life. Unfortunately, he eventually outgrows his decorated shell and gives it to a different hermit crab. He must find a new home, but he is excited by the endless decoration possibilities. I would like to integrate this text into a science lesson. With this text, we could discuss the various places animals call home. I would them have my students illustrate and describe different animals and their homes. Also, this text follows a month by month pattern. Therefore, I could use this text as a sequencing activity. The students could pair the action that occurred with the month the action occurred.
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is on a 3.5 AR level, but I would not hesitate to use this text in a lower elementary classroom also. The text is centered around a young girl, Molly Lou Melon, who embraces her imperfections because her grandmother always said encouraged her. Because of her confidence in herself, Molly Lou Melon is able to befriend the boy who is bullying her by the end of the story. At the very end of the story, Molly Lou Melon writes a letter to her grandmother to say,"I wanted to tell you that everything you told me was exactly right!" In a younger grade, I would use this text to help children embrace their imperfections and uniqueness. However, in an upper grade, I would use this text as an opportunity to have students write thank you letters to someone who has inspired him or her.
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is on a 3.2 AR level. This picture book tells the story of Christmas. The text includes two people wondering into a barn and having a baby. However, the text never explicitly names the characters. I personally treasure this book, but I see it might be controversial to share it in the classroom. If I did share it though, I think it would be a good text to share around the Christmas holiday. Also, this would be a good text to include when doing an author study on Margaret Wise Brown.
Can I Play Too? tells the story of Gerald and Piggie playing catch. Snake approaches the two and announces he would like to play too. After much effort, the three realize Snake is unable to play catch because he does not have arms. To adjust the game so Snake can play, Gerald and Piggie decide that they will simply throw Snake in place of a ball. Snake loves this idea and all three agree that they love playing catch. I think this book would be great to introduce in a classroom and explain to students that sometimes we have to make adjustments for our friends that are not just like us. I would emphasize that we can adapt our games and activities where the events are fun for everyone. To teach this lesson, I would have students role-play and problem solve to accommodate diverse needs. This story is on a 70L Lexile level.
The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School is on a 2.9 AR level, but could undoubtedly be enjoyed by readers of many ages. The Pout-Pout Fish finds himself in many classes that are challenging for him and he starts to get upset. He is even to the devastating point of wanting to give up. However, Miss Hewitt informs him that his class is with her and they are in fact going to learn all of the things that he thought were "too hard" eventually. With Miss Hewitt, the Pout-Pout Fish has a wonderful day. I would like to read this book in my classroom at the beginning of the year. I would like to make a bulletin board using the quote from the book, "Fact One: You are smart. Fact Two: You can get it. Fact Three: You belong. So Four: Don't forget it!" I would have a class picture posted with the quote and also allow each student to sign their name to the board. I think this would be a great reminder for myself and the students to refer to throughout the school year.
The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish is on a 3.6 AR level. Mr. Fish is a beloved character for many children and he surely doesn't disappoint his readers in this story. Mr. Fish needs to get gifts for his friends, but he's faced with a dilemma because, "A gift should be big, and a gift should be bright. And a gift should be perfect-guaranteed to bring delight." Mr. Fish searches for the perfect gifts all day long, but in the end, he leaves every store empty-handed. He's undoubtedly sad that he has come up short with gifts for his pals. However, Miss Shimmer helps Mr. Fish make his very own gifts to distribute, and this turns out to be the best idea of all. I would like to use this in my classroom around the Christmas holiday. Ideally, I would have students draw names from a hat and then encourage them to make a gift for their friend just like Mr. Fish. Then, we would all share our gifts with the class on a designated day.
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons has a Lexile level of AD350L. This text tells the story of a cat named Pete who starts out with four buttons on his shirt. Throughout the story, one button at a time pops off of Pete's shirt. Did Pete Cry? Goodness, no! I think this story could be used in the classroom as a fun introduction to a lesson on subtraction. Also, I think this book could be used to build character by teaching children that there is no need to get upset over small mishaps. While reading the text, I would like to have a picture of Pete with buttons attached to his shirt with Velcro. As Pate lost a button in the story, the interactive Pete would also lose a button. This would help give students a visual for subrtraction.
Bugs in my Hair! tells the hilarious story of a boy who gets head lice. Throughout the text, David Shannon depicts the pesky bugs as if they were humans. One illustration shows the lice lounging on the sofa, eating popcorn, reading a magazine, and watching TV. The book shows how the boy had to be treated to remove the bugs and how his mom had to clean everything to prevent the bugs from continuing to live. He eventually rids himself of the bugs, but they...COME BACK. I would like to read this text at the beginning of the school year to introduce students to the topic of head lice and discuss some preventative measures we can all take to keep bugs out of our hair. However, this would be a phenomenal story to use to discuss personification. The bugs in the story are given many human characteristics, so this would be a good text to investigate and identify personification. This text is on a 2.1 AR level.
The Thank You book by Mo Willems has a Lexile level of 180L. Throughout this text, Piggie thanks lots of characters for various things. Gerald is concerned throughout the text that Piggie is forgetting to thank someone. Piggie cannot figure out who is being forgotten. Finally, Gerald tells her that she needs to thank their readers. Piggie then thanks all of the readers and then reflects on what a lucky pig she is. I would read this in a lower elementary classroom to promote thankfulness. I would challenge the students to thank their classmates, their teachers, the custodians, lunchroom ladies, and everyone else who does something for them. Ideally, I would like to keep a running record of each time the students thanked someone and at the end of the week offer a reward.
Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney is on a 1.5 AR level. This text about Llama getting a new neighbor, Nelly. Nelly comes over and Llama has difficulty sharing his Fuzzy Llama. Fuzzy Llama ends up ripping because the two pull on the toy. Mama fixes Fuzzy Llama, but Fuzzy Llama must sit on the steps until Llama and Nelly decide to share. After playing other activities and realizing playing together is enjoyable, the two decide it is time to share Fuzzy Llama. In the end, the two have a wonderful time and cannot wait for the next play date. I would read this text at the beginning of the year to encourage sharing in my classroom. I could also revisit this book if my students are struggling with sharing materials with classmates. Also, I would like to make a class chart on ways we can share. I would hang this chart somewhere visible for the students so the chart can serve as a reminder when sharing becomes difficult.
Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa has an AR level of 1.6. This story is about Llama Llama going to visit his grandparents. When he arrives, he realizes that he has forgotten his stuffed companion at home. He gets upset, but Gram and Grandpa do their best to occupy his mind. However, bedtime comes and Llama Llama is reminded that he is missing his stuffed llama. Grandpa saves the day by revealing his stuffed llama to Llama Llama. At this moment, Llama Llama realizes that his grandparents' house offers him a home away from home. I would read this story in my classroom before Grandparents Day. I would encourage my students to take note of the fun things Llama Llama did with his grandparents. Then, I would ask my students to draw a picture of themselves doing something unforgettable with their grandparents. Also, I would assist them in writing a summary to go with the picture. Finally, I would invite all of the grandparents to my classroom for a special gathering and let the students present their work.
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat is on a 1.5 AR level. This story is about Llama Llama and his friends who are picked on at school by Gilroy Goat. Llama Llama and his friends do not like being picked on, so Llama Llama and his friends do the responsible thing and tell an adult. The teacher chats with Gilroy Goat and he ultimately becomes friends with the other children. I would use this book in my classroom at the beginning of the year to compare and contrast nice behaviors. We could then discuss which characteristics we look for in a friend and which characteristics point to a bully.
Llama Llama Mad at Mama is on a 1.9 AR level. This story is about Llama Llama who goes to the store with his mama. While at the store, Llama Llama gets impatient and begins to whine and throw a fit. However, Mama settles Llama Llama down and he realizes shopping is not too bad when he lends Mama a hand. I feel like this story could be a good start to a unit on emotions. In my classroom, I could use this story to show how we can sometimes go from mad to happy in a short span of time. I also could bring in ads and allow children to cut out groceries to fill their shopping carts and then write a summary of Llama Llama Mad at Mama to go along with the shopping cart.
This story is about a fish who has many more sparkly scales than the other fish. Rainbow Fish does not want to share his shimmering scales, and the other fish do not want to play with him since he is selfish. Ultimately, Rainbow Fish discovers that it feels good to share his jewels and gains many friends in the process. With this story, I would have students write about a time that he/she shared something precious to them and how sharing made him/her feel. I think this activity would be a great way to show off students' creativity. I could do this by posting the students' work in the hallway for other students and staff to view. The Rainbow Fish has an AR level of 3.3.
This text tells the story of a child who realizes aspects of herself that are not most desirable, but she likes who she is regardless. I see myself reading this at the beginning of the year to help students feel more comfortable and confident in who they are at the moment. This book can teach kids that it is okay to have warts or freckles, and most importantly that it is still okay to like yourself with those things. After reading, I would like to encourage my students to draw a picture of themselves and write about the things that they like about themselves. The DRA level for I Like Myself! is 18.