Where Have All the Big Books Gone?

61R8vFnq1TL._SL500_AA300_I received an email recently from a school I am working with.  The preschool and K teachers had liked what I said about Shared Reading and they wanted to order some Big Books.  They asked me for my favorites, so of course, I mentioned Mrs. Wishy Washy, Dan, the Flying Man, The Hungry Giant, One Cold Wet Night, Who’s in the Shed?, Who Will be My Mother, The Enormous Watermelon and a bunch of others.  I emailed two other primary teachers I had worked with and asked for their recent favorites to add to the list I was recommending.  They reminded me of several non-fiction ones that were fabulous. It was definitely a GREAT list!

But here’s the catch.  When the teachers went to find out about ordering these, they ran into several dead ends.  I tried to help by researching where these could be found.  Except for some Mrs. Wishy Washy books (see Katie’s post), I didn’t have much luck either. Where have all the Big Books gone?

Then I read Shari Frost’s article just days later.  She expresses her concern about teachers who are not doing Shared Reading experiences in many K-2 classrooms. This is definitely a related issue that concerns me.  If you are lucky enough to HAVE these Big Books in your building, what are you doing with them?  I’m keeping my post short today, so that you can read Shari’s article (in case you don’t regularly read Choice Literacy.) It echoes my sentiments exactly.


  1. I too miss those wonderful shared reading experiences. There are so many skills that can be taught using big books. I have also been searching for big books for my teachers to use. If anyone has a good resource, please share.

  2. I too remember using big books every single day when I taught first grade. As a reading specialist, I no longer see big books in use and when I have asked our primary teachers there are usually 2 answers given: we don’t have time for them anymore or they don’t have any big books in their classrooms (usually new teachers). I’ve been spending a lot of time in Kindergarten classrooms lately and a steady diet of worksheets has replaced the time that used to be spent devoted to shared reading and interactive writing activities. I now understand why our incoming first graders seem to be “lower” each year in terms of their literacy development.

  3. I always loved using big books in my first grade class. Unfortunately this year we have to use a ‘program’ which allows for a big book on Monday only. The second half of the year there are no big books in the program.

  4. Perhaps shared reading’s connection to whole language has something to do with this lapse. But also resources. I was introducing a Joy Cowley book to some first graders today and got blank looks when I mentioned Mrs. Wishy Washy. I looked up at the four teachers watching and they just shrugged their shoulders and said they did not have any Mrs. Wishy Washy books. Where indeed have all the big books gone?

  5. I know that some publishers are offering e-books as an alternative to big books as they can be projected for shared reading. I am curious? Has anyone tried this and if you have, what do you think? While it makes sense, I think there is something special and wonderful about a big book.

  6. I too wornder where the big books have gone… This winter I tried ordering Jan Brett’s The Mitten and could not find it anywhere! I am returning to the classroom next year and am thankful our bookroom still has lots of bigbooks but I would like to buy all of your big books Thea Smith!!!!
    Pat–no more Reading Recovery funding for my position next year. At least we will still have 2 RR positions. Your previous post hits too close to home in FCPS I’m afraid. Looking forward to daily shared reading in my class next year with any big book I can get my hands on!

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