There are many wonderful books written about school and I like to read as many as I can to my class during the first week we’re back in the classroom. Not all books written about school are appropriate for all grades, of course, so I concentrate on ones that are enticing to 4-and 5-year-olds.
On the first day of school I like to start with First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. The students love the surprise ending and it allows me to tell them that even I, the teacher, am nervous. After reading the story I share with them how anxious I feel about meeting all of my new students and then we discuss why they feel nervous or afraid. For a follow-up activity, each student draws their self-portrait of what they look like on their first day of school. These photos are used as the covers of our monthly writing projects.
Another book I like to read on the first day of school is The Night Before Kindergarten, written by Natasha Wing. This book is a spin-off from the classic Clement C. Moore Christmas poem. It chronicles what children do to prepare for kindergarten: packing school supplies, posing for pictures, and saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. This book provides a great opening for a discussion on what the children did to prepare for their first day of school. Many talk about how they bought new shoes, or had to get up early, or about all the pictures their parents took. After the story and discussion, we take our own first-day photos.
Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes by Eric Litwin, is always a hit with the kids. There is something magical about Pete the Cat in general and we read this book so often that they can say and sing the words with me. I like to use this book at the end of a school day to have the students practice telling their parents what they did at school. So often when a parent asks their child what they did at school, the response is “Nothing,” or “I had recess.” Giving students a prompt such as Today at school I ____, especially helps the English Language Learners to participate in this activity. I think I’ll order a copy for each student in my class to use as an end of the year gift!
Kindergarten ABC by Jacqueline Rogers can be used to teach the alphabet. In this story a new alphabet letter is introduced each day. Each page is filled with colorful pictures of children and items to look for, all beginning with the letter of the day.
The possibilities are endless with so many of these wonderful back-to-school books to choose from. Please share your favorites and let me know what you think of my picks!