We are readers!

Retelling the story Owl Babies with props

My kindergarteners are readers. Every single one of them. Every day we read poems and songs together on charts, we read art, we read the morning message on our SMARTboard, we read labels in our classroom, we read books that we write, we read on the iPads, we read Tweets and blogs, we read books by ourselves and with buddies and we listen to lots of books read aloud. The kids are learning to read the pictures, read the words and talk about the books. We retell and act out our favorite stories with toys that go along with the books. We spend a lot of time talking about authors and what authors do. Some of our favorite authors are: Mo Willems, David Shannon, Eric Carle and Eric Litwin. I refer to my students as “readers” throughout the day. I am helping build  and create that identity and have them see themselves as readers. It’s the foundation we build in kindergarten that will carry our readers through to a lifetime of reading.

Who are some of your favorite authors? How are your readers building their identity?

Playing with Books

Our read aloud time is one of my kindergarteners favorite times of the day. They love to listen to books and to talk about the books we read. Whenever I can, I will use realia or puppets while reading a book to my class. It makes the story come alive, engages all my kids and helps my ELLs connect with the book. Our Pete the Cat stuffed animal and Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet are favorites for the kids to play with after hearing the stories many times. I recently got props to go with Mrs. Wishy-Washy (a tin bucket, a cow, a horse and a duck) with the intention of using them during math for storytelling problems. While they are great for that, my kids started getting them out during our literacy stations to retell the story. They were retelling the story, sometimes using the book, sometimes not , capturing the different voices, dialogue and general storyline.  They pretended to be the characters, changing their voices to go along with the story and retold the story numerous times. This is going to become a regular literacy station in our classroom with props for other books available to play with as they retell the story or make up a new story. Thanks to a picture I saw on Twitter from @TeachLearnLive, I’m planning a Knuffle Bunny station with a cardboard box for a clothes dryer, a clothes basket and a Knuffle Bunny doll. Hattie and the Fox props are ready to go next week too. I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes out of this book play over the next several weeks. I plan on observing, listening and joining in on the play during our literacy station time. What books do you use props for? So many possibilities!