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October 6, 2016 October Read-Aloud Books and Activities By Amanda Nehring
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    October is my favorite month! I love all of the fall themes and holidays that my students and I can learn about and enjoy. A great way to incorporate Fire Safety Week, pumpkins, Halloween, School Bus Safety Week, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Day of the Dead all into one month is by selecting a read-aloud picture book for each topic and extending the learning experiences through crafts and activities. I have selected seven picture books that I read with my students each year as well as a writing page, craft, or whole class activity to follow each story. Take a look at these books and activities and pick a few to try out with your class this October. 

     

    Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos by Susan Middleton Elya

    This year Fire Prevention Week falls within Hispanic Heritage Month, so Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos is a perfect book choice. As you read this story about a day in the life of a group of Hispanic firefighters your students will be introduced to many new Spanish words in context. I love how the whole story rhymes, even as it incorporates two languages. At the back of the book you can find a glossary with definitions for all of the Spanish terms included throughout the text.

    After you read Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos, help your students learn more about what firefighters do by visiting Scholastic’s Community Club Activity “Meet a Firefighter.” There the students can read along as a firefighter shares all about her job protecting people in her community. I love that the e-book format is simple for students to use independently or you can share it with the whole class on your projector. At the end of the nonfiction story there is a short comprehension quiz to check for understanding.

    Read Scholastic's Community Club "Meet a Firefighter" as a follow-up to the book Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos

     

    The Haunted Ghoul Bus by Lisa Trumbauer

    October 17 begins School Bus Safety Week, so why not share a silly and fun bus-related Halloween story with your students. The Haunted Ghoul Bus recounts the tale of a boy who gets on the wrong bus one morning and ends up meeting new spooky friends as they take the bus to Ghoul School. It is a fun rhyming story that features fabulous illustrations and many descriptive verbs and adjectives.

    Once you have read the story aloud to your class, allow students to work independently or in pairs to search the book for examples of creepy verbs and ghoulish adjectives. Students can record each part of speech they discover on my worksheet, Haunted Hunt for Descriptive Verbs and Adjectives

    Hunt for descriptive verbs and adjectives in The Haunted Ghoul Bus.

     

    It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

    The text in the book It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! is simple and short, making it a great story to use with emergent readers. Each page contains a jack-o'-lantern painted by Mouse to portray a different type of emotion.

    After reading the story, lead a discussion with your class about all the different emotions we experience. Make a list of emotions on the board and have the students make faces to express those emotions. Then tell the students that they will get the chance to make their own emotion jack-o'-lantern like Mouse. First, each child should choose an emotion that they have experienced at some point in their lives. Using the pumpkin template on my worksheet, Jack-o'-Lantern of Emotion, have students cut out pieces of black construction paper or use black markers, crayons, or paint to give their jack-o'-lanterns an expressive face. On the writing lines below their jack-o'-lanterns the students should then write a short narrative recounting a time when they felt just like their pumpkin face. Hang each jack-o'-lantern in your room for a pumpkin patch full of emotion!

    Make an expressive jack-o-lantern after reading this book.

     

    The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams

    This is one of my favorite stories from my own childhood and I love getting to share it with my students each October. In The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything, an old woman walks through the woods to collect some food only to encounter, bit by bit, the pieces of a very scary surprise. Since she isn’t afraid of anything, this little old lady comes up with a creative new purpose for the strange objects she meets.

    When I read this story to my students we create motions for each of the various articles of clothing the little old lady encounters. As we read the story the students participate by acting out the motions for each item. You can also provide pieces of clothing from your dress-up center or that you've brought from home for students to use as they perform the tale. I love that the text gradually adds the clothing actions to the story and repeats them frequently, allowing the students to stay actively involved in the read-aloud. A special side note to my fellow bilingual teachers: there is a Spanish version of this story as well, so you can have your little ones read and perform in their native language.

    Act out the motions as you read The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything.

     

     

    The Day of the Dead/El Día de los Muertos by Bob Barner

    Beginning on Halloween and continuing through November 2, the Day of the Dead is a colorful and festive holiday celebrated in Mexico and throughout much of Latin America as people pay tribute to their loved ones who have passed away. It is a big part of many Latin American cultures and also a great way to teach students about ancestry in a bright and upbeat way. The book The Day of the Dead / El Día de los Muertos has beautiful paper-cut illustrations and simple text to provide students with an introduction to the holiday and its traditions.

    After reading this story with my students I always find that they are excited about the vibrant decor used throughout the Day of the Dead celebrations. To bring a bit of the story and holiday to life, we make our own tissue paper cempazuchitl (marigolds) to decorate our classroom. Take a look at this quick video to learn how you can make these bright paper flowers with your class.

    [brightcove:5157405130001]

     

    Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

    The first time I read this story I was captivated by the author’s creativity in bringing a child’s imagination to life while creating an entertaining story. In Even Monsters Need Haircuts, a young boy wants to be just like his dad, a barber, so he opens a barbershop for monsters the night of each full moon. Students love to see the fanciful monsters that visit the shop and comment on each one’s hairdo. I love that this story is simple, unique and totally fun!

    September and October are usually the time of year when my class studies community workers, so I love using this text as a fun extension of our social studies unit. Sometime before Halloween we read this story and then I ask students to think about ways other community helpers, such as firefighters, postal workers, or nurses could have secret jobs serving monsters, witches, or werewolves. Each child completes this writing craftivity and we hang them outside our classroom for passersby to enjoy. I am always impressed by the ideas my students invent and I hope your class will have fun with this story and activity too!

    Have your students do this writing craftivity after you read the story.

     

    Pumpkin Town by Katie McKy

    Students are always captivated by Pumpkin Town, a book about a family of pumpkin farmers who inadvertently cause a neighboring town to be overrun by pumpkins the next growing season. It is so fun to see how the idea of planting and growing with seeds is given a fictional, fantastical twist and gets everyone in the fall spirit.

    I love to read this book with my class after we have studied the life cycle of a pumpkin. Each year we learn how pumpkins grow from seeds, to flowery vines, to ripe pumpkin fruits and culminate our unit with a trip to a local pumpkin patch. I take photos of each child with the pumpkin they pick and together we make frames to hold their pictures. Even if you don’t go on a pumpkin patch field trip you can have your students create these beaded pumpkin frames as an extension activity for the story Pumpkin Town. Just follow these eight easy steps:

    Steps to make a beaded pumpkin frame

    1. You will need one orange pipe cleaner and a small bowl of orange pony beads for each student.

    2. Feed the orange beads onto the pipe cleaner, leaving about half an inch of pipe cleaner at either side. 

    3. Bend the pipe cleaner into the shape of a pumpkin, folding the exposed ends up to create a stem.

    4. Use about three inches of green pipe cleaner to wrap the stem.

    5. Trace your pumpkin shape onto a piece of orange paper.

    6. Cut out the paper pumpkin shape.

    7. Glue the paper pumpkin shape to the back of your beaded pumpkin pipe cleaner to create a frame.

    8. After the pumpkin dries you can add a photo to the frame or leave it as-is to use as a festive decoration. 

    Pumpkin Town book and frame craft.

    Thanks for checking out my favorite fall books to read with your class in October. I hope you were able to find a new way to use some of these great stories. If you try them with your students I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below sharing your thoughts. Here's to a great October in your classroom! 

    October is my favorite month! I love all of the fall themes and holidays that my students and I can learn about and enjoy. A great way to incorporate Fire Safety Week, pumpkins, Halloween, School Bus Safety Week, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Day of the Dead all into one month is by selecting a read-aloud picture book for each topic and extending the learning experiences through crafts and activities. I have selected seven picture books that I read with my students each year as well as a writing page, craft, or whole class activity to follow each story. Take a look at these books and activities and pick a few to try out with your class this October. 

     

    Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos by Susan Middleton Elya

    This year Fire Prevention Week falls within Hispanic Heritage Month, so Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos is a perfect book choice. As you read this story about a day in the life of a group of Hispanic firefighters your students will be introduced to many new Spanish words in context. I love how the whole story rhymes, even as it incorporates two languages. At the back of the book you can find a glossary with definitions for all of the Spanish terms included throughout the text.

    After you read Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos, help your students learn more about what firefighters do by visiting Scholastic’s Community Club Activity “Meet a Firefighter.” There the students can read along as a firefighter shares all about her job protecting people in her community. I love that the e-book format is simple for students to use independently or you can share it with the whole class on your projector. At the end of the nonfiction story there is a short comprehension quiz to check for understanding.

    Read Scholastic's Community Club "Meet a Firefighter" as a follow-up to the book Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos

     

    The Haunted Ghoul Bus by Lisa Trumbauer

    October 17 begins School Bus Safety Week, so why not share a silly and fun bus-related Halloween story with your students. The Haunted Ghoul Bus recounts the tale of a boy who gets on the wrong bus one morning and ends up meeting new spooky friends as they take the bus to Ghoul School. It is a fun rhyming story that features fabulous illustrations and many descriptive verbs and adjectives.

    Once you have read the story aloud to your class, allow students to work independently or in pairs to search the book for examples of creepy verbs and ghoulish adjectives. Students can record each part of speech they discover on my worksheet, Haunted Hunt for Descriptive Verbs and Adjectives

    Hunt for descriptive verbs and adjectives in The Haunted Ghoul Bus.

     

    It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

    The text in the book It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! is simple and short, making it a great story to use with emergent readers. Each page contains a jack-o'-lantern painted by Mouse to portray a different type of emotion.

    After reading the story, lead a discussion with your class about all the different emotions we experience. Make a list of emotions on the board and have the students make faces to express those emotions. Then tell the students that they will get the chance to make their own emotion jack-o'-lantern like Mouse. First, each child should choose an emotion that they have experienced at some point in their lives. Using the pumpkin template on my worksheet, Jack-o'-Lantern of Emotion, have students cut out pieces of black construction paper or use black markers, crayons, or paint to give their jack-o'-lanterns an expressive face. On the writing lines below their jack-o'-lanterns the students should then write a short narrative recounting a time when they felt just like their pumpkin face. Hang each jack-o'-lantern in your room for a pumpkin patch full of emotion!

    Make an expressive jack-o-lantern after reading this book.

     

    The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams

    This is one of my favorite stories from my own childhood and I love getting to share it with my students each October. In The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything, an old woman walks through the woods to collect some food only to encounter, bit by bit, the pieces of a very scary surprise. Since she isn’t afraid of anything, this little old lady comes up with a creative new purpose for the strange objects she meets.

    When I read this story to my students we create motions for each of the various articles of clothing the little old lady encounters. As we read the story the students participate by acting out the motions for each item. You can also provide pieces of clothing from your dress-up center or that you've brought from home for students to use as they perform the tale. I love that the text gradually adds the clothing actions to the story and repeats them frequently, allowing the students to stay actively involved in the read-aloud. A special side note to my fellow bilingual teachers: there is a Spanish version of this story as well, so you can have your little ones read and perform in their native language.

    Act out the motions as you read The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything.

     

     

    The Day of the Dead/El Día de los Muertos by Bob Barner

    Beginning on Halloween and continuing through November 2, the Day of the Dead is a colorful and festive holiday celebrated in Mexico and throughout much of Latin America as people pay tribute to their loved ones who have passed away. It is a big part of many Latin American cultures and also a great way to teach students about ancestry in a bright and upbeat way. The book The Day of the Dead / El Día de los Muertos has beautiful paper-cut illustrations and simple text to provide students with an introduction to the holiday and its traditions.

    After reading this story with my students I always find that they are excited about the vibrant decor used throughout the Day of the Dead celebrations. To bring a bit of the story and holiday to life, we make our own tissue paper cempazuchitl (marigolds) to decorate our classroom. Take a look at this quick video to learn how you can make these bright paper flowers with your class.

    [brightcove:5157405130001]

     

    Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

    The first time I read this story I was captivated by the author’s creativity in bringing a child’s imagination to life while creating an entertaining story. In Even Monsters Need Haircuts, a young boy wants to be just like his dad, a barber, so he opens a barbershop for monsters the night of each full moon. Students love to see the fanciful monsters that visit the shop and comment on each one’s hairdo. I love that this story is simple, unique and totally fun!

    September and October are usually the time of year when my class studies community workers, so I love using this text as a fun extension of our social studies unit. Sometime before Halloween we read this story and then I ask students to think about ways other community helpers, such as firefighters, postal workers, or nurses could have secret jobs serving monsters, witches, or werewolves. Each child completes this writing craftivity and we hang them outside our classroom for passersby to enjoy. I am always impressed by the ideas my students invent and I hope your class will have fun with this story and activity too!

    Have your students do this writing craftivity after you read the story.

     

    Pumpkin Town by Katie McKy

    Students are always captivated by Pumpkin Town, a book about a family of pumpkin farmers who inadvertently cause a neighboring town to be overrun by pumpkins the next growing season. It is so fun to see how the idea of planting and growing with seeds is given a fictional, fantastical twist and gets everyone in the fall spirit.

    I love to read this book with my class after we have studied the life cycle of a pumpkin. Each year we learn how pumpkins grow from seeds, to flowery vines, to ripe pumpkin fruits and culminate our unit with a trip to a local pumpkin patch. I take photos of each child with the pumpkin they pick and together we make frames to hold their pictures. Even if you don’t go on a pumpkin patch field trip you can have your students create these beaded pumpkin frames as an extension activity for the story Pumpkin Town. Just follow these eight easy steps:

    Steps to make a beaded pumpkin frame

    1. You will need one orange pipe cleaner and a small bowl of orange pony beads for each student.

    2. Feed the orange beads onto the pipe cleaner, leaving about half an inch of pipe cleaner at either side. 

    3. Bend the pipe cleaner into the shape of a pumpkin, folding the exposed ends up to create a stem.

    4. Use about three inches of green pipe cleaner to wrap the stem.

    5. Trace your pumpkin shape onto a piece of orange paper.

    6. Cut out the paper pumpkin shape.

    7. Glue the paper pumpkin shape to the back of your beaded pumpkin pipe cleaner to create a frame.

    8. After the pumpkin dries you can add a photo to the frame or leave it as-is to use as a festive decoration. 

    Pumpkin Town book and frame craft.

    Thanks for checking out my favorite fall books to read with your class in October. I hope you were able to find a new way to use some of these great stories. If you try them with your students I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below sharing your thoughts. Here's to a great October in your classroom! 

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