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The 2023 Caldecott Medal award winner will be announced January 30, 2023, which means it’s time for my predictions on which book will take home the top prize and who will be runner-up. The ALA awards will be given out sometime in mid-January. Members of the Caldecott committee work hard all year to choose the book they think is deserving of this distinguished award. Members of the committee read thousands of picture books throughout the year. Then they must narrow their choices down to 7 titles each. Once they have this much smaller list, they spend hours debating about which book should receive the top honor. Every year I always come up with my own list of titles that I believe will be contenders. This year I have come up with 15 books that I believe should be on the list (although I have not read nearly as many
If there is one thing that makes people fall in love with reading, I believe it is the ability to visualize. The ability to take the words on a page and turn them into a mental movie. It’s visualizing that allows you to immerse yourself into a book and escape the here and now. While this skill comes naturally for some, it is a skill that often needs to be taught and practiced for many. Today I am sharing my favorite picture books for teaching visualizing. How to Teach Visualizing Teaching students to visualize is such a fun activity that students really love. Why? I believe it is because it connects two of their favorite things – being read to and drawing. Over the years I have found that the best way to focus on this skill is by reading to the students and having them listen. This takes
Teaching students about character traits in reading is important but can be difficult to do. Character traits are such an ABSTRACT idea that some children have a hard time understanding what character traits are. Students typically have to use inferencing skills to “read between the lines” of what information the author is giving you about the characters in the story, such as what the character is saying and doing.  How to Teach About Character Traits Start by defining exactly WHAT character traits are. Then together, make an anchor chart about character traits. Have students help you name certain traits that they believe characters in stories might have. Make sure to get them thinking about character traits on the OUTSIDE and on the INSIDE! I like to do another lesson about positive character traits vs. negative character traits. (Some traits can even be neutral).  Finally, my biggest piece of advice
Are you constantly looking for picture books to teach about the main idea of a story? Some people confuse the theme with the main idea. The theme or central idea of a book is the lesson, moral or message the reader takes away after reading. The main idea is what the book is about and can usually be stated as a short summary. It’s important for students to start understanding the main idea (and supporting details) of a story after reading it. This means that they should be able to retell the story to show their comprehension of it, stating the main idea and at least three details that can support the main idea of the story. Some Tips for Teaching the Main Idea A read aloud can be one of the most overlooked strategies that can be used to teach main idea and supporting details. When performing a
Are you constantly looking for different fiction and nonfiction books for teaching cause and effect to your elementary students? Teaching about story elements such as cause and effect, main idea, character traits, problem and solution and comparing/ contrasting are very important. I’ve compiled a list of 8 awesome fiction and nonfiction picture books for teaching cause and effect to make your life simpler. TEACHING CAUSE & EFFECT Teaching children about cause and effect develops critical thinking skills important for all ages of children — from the 3-year-old deciding not to run across the street to the 11-year-old deciding how to handle peer pressure. Picture books are an especially great way to teach about this concept because the illustrations support the meaning of the text and show cause and effect in action.  Start with a picture walk to open a discussion around the key cause and effect moments. Reinforce to
Are you looking for some back to school books by Kevin Henkes? He is hands down one of my favorite authors! Kevin Henkes is a brilliant author and he is also the illustrator of his own stories, which I find amazing! Not to mention he is both a Caldecott Medal winner and Newbery Honor winner. Most of the characters in his books are animals that act as humans and I believe that young children actually relate to these characters quite a lot. Henkes’ work is best known for touching on hot-button topics such as new siblings, the first day of school and deceased grandparents. Again, these are super relatable topics to children, which makes his stories great to read aloud in the primary grades. Kevin Henkes has two books that are perfect, in my opinion, for back to school time in the classroom or library. (Note: This post contains