Each month is gay,
each season nice,
Books listed in each section of the fiction Touchstone Books have particular characteristics. For the section Known or Familiar Sequence, the books are all built around common knowledge that a student should already be in possession of. Think days of the week, months, time, etc. Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak is a small book (literally. It’s only about 6 inches tall) that revolves around the twelve months of the year. Each month consists of a small poem of about ten lines that fits in with the characteristics of that month (snow in winter, sun in summer) and talks about chicken soup with rice – our main characters favourite food, by the looks of it. It’s a very cute rhyming book that could also fit into the section of Repetition.
Chicken Soup with Rice is an exact match to the description of its section. At the top of each small poem is the name of the month it corresponds with, and so children will be able to make the connection with the poem subject matter to the month it represents (ex. skating or snowmen. The pictures will let students see right away that the poem they are going to read is one of the winter months). The illustrations will help with subject and text comprehension, while the rhyming aspects of the poems will help with fluency, and the repetition about the chicken soup with rice at the end of each poem will help with word recognition. This book would work well for children in grades primary (kindergarten), one and two.
Time: 1 hour
Conduct a read aloud with students. Talk about poetry with the students, since each page is a small poem. Discuss how some poems rhyme, and are made up of short sentences. After reading the first month poem (January), have students state which month comes next each time you move on.
– If wanting to use this book for primary/kindergarten, this is a good teaching tool to help teach the order of the months.
Have them predict subject matter for each month by looking at the illustrations.
– What do you think this poem is going to be about?
– Why do you think the author picked [the subject] to go with [the month]?
After reading a couple of the poems talk with students about how the rhyming aspect of the poetry makes it seem almost like a song – it flows well and is easy to remember. Once the book has been read, have students brainstorm a list of activities/subjects that could go with each month and write them on the chart paper. Make sure to have at least one or two descriptors for each month.
While the students are still in the reading group, explain the activity. They will be given worksheets with twelve squares and they are to draw a picture to describe each month. Underneath each square, there will be space for the student to write down what their picture is representing (ex. a rain cloud – April showers).