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January 13, 2012 My Top Five Books for January By Sharon Taylor
Grades PreK–K

    Children should be read to every day. It is fun and helps students to develop a positive attitude toward reading. Here are my top five favorite books and activities to use in January.






    Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo

    In January we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by learning about his dream for a better world. Your students will love this beautifully told story of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Before I read this book, I always show a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King and ask my students who he is and what they already know about him. I follow this by asking students why they think we celebrate his birthday. Next, I read the story and then discuss any new information we have learned. You could place all of this information on a KWL chart. After reading the book, we also join hands for peace by having each student trace their hand and tell how they can make the world more peaceful. I write each student’s idea on their handprint.



    The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

    My students love to hear this story about a little boy’s travel and adventures through the snow. Peter builds a snowman, makes snow angels, and much, much more. After reading this book, students write about things they would like to do on a snowy day and illustrate their writing. You could also create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast a snowy day to a sunny day.




    The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler

    This is the story of a little girl whose family believes she is too small to do anything. With the help of some friends little Nell sets out to prove them wrong by building the biggest snowman ever. Using construction paper and paint, have each of your students create their own snowman. Once the snowmen are completed, have your students use Unifix Cubes to measure the height of their snowman.






    The Mitten by Jan Brett

    The Mitten is the story of a little boy who drops his mitten in the snow. Many animals begin to take refuge in the mitten after it is lost. This book is perfect to use for practicing sequencing. Using a flow chart, have students sequence the order in which each animal in the book visits the mitten. Students can also use animal masks to retell the story. Jan Brett offers some free masks on her Web site. These can be laminated and stapled to craft sticks. Place them in your dramatic play center for students to enjoy over and over again. 



    Little Polar Bear by Hans de Beer

    In this story, Lars, a young polar bear, finds himself separated from his father while they are out hunting. He ends up in the jungle where a friendly hippo helps him return home to the North Pole. My favorite activity to do after reading this book is to create blubber. First, discuss with students how they think the little polar bear stays warm in the cold. Then discuss things people wear to stay warm. Next, explain that the bear has a special layer of blubber, under the thick white fur, that keeps him warm. Finally, create your own blubber!


    What are some of your favorite books to celebrate the winter season?


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My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney