Teachable Moment

Starting tonight, I will be introducing a new feature to my blog called Teachable Moment. These posts will all relate literature to teaching, in some form or another. It may just be a review of a book I think would work exceptionall well in a classroom, or it could be lesson/unit plans revolving around a book, series of books, or author study. Sometimes, it may just be observations about the Elementary Language Arts classroom and curriculum as I see it in relation to children’s/young adult lit.

To start off with, I thought I would highlight ten children’s fiction books that belong to a reading program planned and outlined in Dr. Jane Baskwill’s book Books as Bridges.

Books as Bridges is a wonderful text that outlines the importance of reading and literature. It lists what Dr. Baskwill calls Touchstone Books in two categories – fiction and non-fiction. In her text, Dr. Baskwill provides classroom lessons, home connections, letters to parents and a break down of each section of books.

There are ten sections for fiction books, in two categories. The books I will be looking at belong to all of them – I took one book from each section (each section contains a selection of about ten books to choose from). The categories and sections for fiction books are as follows:

Establishing a Reading Habit
– Chain or Circular Story
– Cumulative Sequence
– Known or Familiar Sequence
– Pattern Story
– Question and Answer
– Repetition
(page 24-25)

Meaning-Making
– Activating Prior Knowledge
– Understanding the Text Structure
– Seeking Meaning During Reading
– Self-Monitoring
(Page 104)

So over the next two weeks or so (in amongst my regular schedule), I will be posting not only a review of each book, but also why I believe it fits into the category and section Dr. Baskwill placed it in, and provide a small activity or lesson that can be done with the book in the classroom (I placed my lessons/activities all at a grade 2 level because that is what I am teaching right now. They can be easily modified for another grade).

When I am done posting about the Touchstone Books, my next Teachable Moment posts will revolve around an author study of Leo Lionni books.

I would love feedback from any of my readers who are also educators, and I hope you’ll enjoy these little Teachable Moments!

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