Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Partnership of Two Continua: Interactive Read-Aloud + Word Study

By Lisa Patrick, Primary Trainer
            I am passionate about picturebooks. I read them to my college students, and I read them to my Kindergarten students. I read them to my teenage daughters, and I read them to my co-workers. Therefore, it won’t surprise the reader to learn that the section in my Continuum of Literacy Learning (Pinnell & Fountas, 2011), Interactive Read-Aloud and Literature Discussion, is the most dog-eared in the guide. Because I love reading aloud picturebooks, I am constantly seeking ways of integrating interactive read-aloud with each component of the literacy framework. For example, what better way to write about reading than to respond to a beloved picturebook read aloud by the teacher? But when it comes to partnering interactive read-aloud with word study, I wish to offer a few caveats.
            To begin with, I’d like to share a few criteria for selecting powerful interactive read aloud books. Diane DeFord (2001), in one of my favorite professional texts, Extending Our Reach: Teaching for Comprehension in Reading, Grades K-2, explains that the term “interactive” suggests “that during read-aloud there should be an intentional, ongoing invitation to students to actively respond and interact within the oral reading of a story” (p. 133, emphasis in original). Teachers are encouraged to select books for interactive read-aloud that have the potential to invite a high level of student engagement and to foster meaningful discussions (DeFord). However, not all picturebooks that support word study meet these selection criteria. Just because a picturebook portrays a word study concept does not automatically make it a high quality read-aloud choice. For example, the picturebook Night*Knight (Ziefert, 1997) has a fun lift-the-flap design for exploring common homonyms, but the text does not invite deep conversations about students’ thinking. On the other hand, Knight Night (Davey, 2012) is a story about a young knight who faces many obstacles as he gets ready for bed. While there are homonyms to explore for word study, the engaging bedtime story ensures that the text is well-suited to an interactive read-aloud experience.
Following, I present a number of picturebooks that I believe meet the above criteria for selecting an effective interactive read-aloud. I have organized the suggested titles according to the nine areas of learning found in the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Continuum (Pinnell & Fountas, 2011). These are books that embody a rich partnership between interactive read-aloud and word study; the stories are interesting and engaging and the books offer opportunities for students to study words. While these texts tend to be more appropriate for students in the primary grades, many are suitable for intermediate classrooms. At the end of the nine areas of learning, I have also included suggested books for collecting and playing with words. It is my sincere hope that readers will discover a “love of books, new journeys beyond the limitations of personal experiences, and the beauty of language…through the pages of wonderful books” (DeFord, 2001, p. 137).
  • In E-mergency! (Lichtenheld, 2011), the letter E has an accident. Chaos ensues as no words are allowed to use this vowel until she recovers. The letter “o” takes her place, creating confusion and hilarity. This book illustrates the difference between vowels and consonants.
  • In Al Pha’s Bet (Rosenthal, 2011), Al Pha bets himself that he can succeed in putting the recently invented letters in order. In an ultimate play on words, the King rewards Al Pha for winning his bet by naming his creation after him. This book introduces the concept of letters written in a particular order in the alphabet.
  • In Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words (Rand & Rand, 1957), a husband and wife team introduce the concept and power of words to readers: what they are, what they’re used for, and how they work. This book provides a well-rounded and creative introduction to the concept of words.

  • In Once Upon a Northern Night (Pendziwol, 2013), readers are treated to a gentle and rhythmic lullaby about nighttime in the north. This picturebook in verse is an excellent mentor text for poetic description and imagery.
  • In Mouse House Tales (Pearson, 2013), readers are treated to two stories in one book about a little mouse and her helpful friends. This over-sized book is printed on heavy paper saturated with appealing colors. The stories are infused with rhythm and rhyme.
  • In What Animals Really Like (Robinson, 2011), the National Animal Choir performs the conductor’s latest song about what he thinks animals like. However, not all of his lyrics match the animals’ true preferences, as seen in the excerpt below. This story provides endless entertainment via the surprise of words that unexpectedly do not rhyme.
We are lions,
and we like to prowl.
We are wolves,
and we like to howl.
We are pigeons,
and we like to coo.
We are cows,
and we like to…
  • In Rhyming Dust Bunnies (Thomas, 2009), readers are treated to another example of surprise when expected rhyming words do not materialize. Poor Bob, he just can’t seem to rhyme like his fellow dust bunnies. For example:
No, Bob…“Look out!” does not rhyme with bug!
  • In Z is for Moose (Bingham, 2012), Moose is so impatient for his turn to represent the letter “M” that he keeps interrupting the alphabet book. Poor Moose is devastated when the writer decides to go with “Mouse” instead. He throws an epic fit and alters the rest of the pages. Zebra saves the day on the last letter of the alphabet. This is my favorite ABC book!
  • In A is for Musk Ox (Cabatingan, 2012), readers are treated to a similar theme as above. Every page in the ABC book reads “___ is for musk ox,” and a fact about the musk ox that matches that letter of the alphabet is provided. Zebra also tries to keep control in this zany story. These two books would make an excellent pair to compare and contrast.
  • In Little Bear’s Little Boat (Bunting, 2003), Little Bear loves his little boat. But it is a bear’s destiny to grow, and he soon outgrows his beloved boat. His solution is to find another little bear to enjoy the boat as much as he once did. The alliteration in this story helps to draw attention to letter/sound relationships.
  • In Big Bear’s Boat (Bunting, 2012), we follow the adventures of the bear from the first book who is now all grown up. He builds himself a new boat, but he is swayed by the ideas of others and loses sight of his own dream. Both stories illustrate the literary element of theme beautifully, supporting readers as they explore the ideas of destinies and dreams.
  • In A Boy and his Bunny (Bryan, 2011), words that rhyme with head are used to create an engaging and whimsical story about Fred, a boy who woke up one day with a bunny on his head. Students could work on a word sort after the interactive read-aloud.
  • In A Girl and her Gator (Bryan, 2011), the boy’s sister, Claire, discovers a gator on top of her hair. The words in this book all rhyme with hair.
  • In A Boy and his Bear (Bryan, 2011), readers meet Fred and Claire’s cousin, a boy named Zach who wakes up on the back of a bear named Mack. The words in this book all rhyme with back.
  • In Up! Tall! And High! (Long, 2012), readers are treated to three funny stories in one engaging picturebook. Three exuberant birds illustrate the meaning of high frequency words such as those in the book’s title. Fun fold-outs and flaps reveal surprising twists. This book is the winner of the 2013 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.
  • In I Want My Hat Back (Klassen, 2011), a 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel honor book, a bear who has lost his hat asks all the animals that he meets if they have seen his hat. The story is told completely through dialogue, and the illustrations reveal a surprising sub-plot. Klassen is highly talented at creating books that will foster deep thinking and rich discussions. This book pairs well with Klassen’s book, This is Not my Hat, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal.
  • In Beware of the Frog (Bee, 2008), Mrs. Collywobbles lives on the edge of a big, dark, scary wood. But readers need not fear; a pet frog guards her home, bravely dispatching evildoers who threaten the garden gate. Each villain recites a strange rhyme full of unique words. The ending has a shocking twist. This story will provide student writers with a collection of fascinating new words.
  • In Toad (Brown, 1999), also known as The Tale of the Monstrous Toad, readers are treated to descriptive and disgusting adjectives about a toad, such as: “odorous, oozing, foul and filthy.” This mentor text for descriptive words also has a surprise ending.
  • In One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book (Root, 1998), cumulative numbers of animals attempt to rescue a duck stuck in the muck. From one duck to ten dragonflies, each page contains a romp of rhythm and rhyme. This book can help support readers in investigating common structures among words in the book.
  • In I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean! (Sherry, 2007), a giant squid brags that he is the biggest thing in the ocean, proudly proclaiming that he is bigger than each new creature he meets. This is the perfect text for introducing readers to word structures within comparatives and superlatives.
  • In Max’s Castle (Banks, 2011), a boy’s creative imagination is brought to life through clever wordplay using alphabet blocks. Simply by changing a letter here and there, he builds a fairy tale adventure involving a castle filled with knights, a dungeon, and a dragon. This book, along with a set of wooden alphabet blocks, would be ideal for Managed Independent Learning.
  • In Word Wizard (Falwell, 1998), a girl discovers that she can magically rearrange the letters of her alphabet cereal to make different words. This book, along with a set of magnetic letters, would also be ideal for Managed Independent Learning.
  • In The Boy Who Loved Words (Schotter, 2006), a young boy collects words. Students could emulate the word collector and gather their own favorite words.
  • In Max’s Words (Banks, 2006), Max decides to collect words. He shares his words with his brothers, who use them to create a story. Students could use words from a word bowl to create poems.
  • In Epossumondas (Salley, 2002), the author has written a variation of a classic noodlehead tale, one that features a very confused possum who just can’t make heads or tails of his mama’s instructions. This highly entertaining read-aloud is just brimming with word play.
  • In Falling for Rapunzel (Wilcox, 2003), poor Rapunzel can’t quite hear what the prince is calling for, so she throws crazy items out of her tower window, such as dirty socks instead of curly locks. This is truly a hysterical retelling, one that will have readers doubled-over in laughter at the ridiculous word play.
DeFord, D. E. (2001). Interactive read-aloud: Supporting and expanding strategies for comprehension. In G. S. Pinnell & P. L. Scharer (Eds.), Extending our reach: Teaching for comprehension in reading, grades K-2 (pp. 131-139). Columbus, OH: The Literacy Collaborative.
Pinnell, G. S., & Fountas, I. C. (2011). The continuum of literacy learning: Grades PreK-8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Children’s Literature
Banks, Kate. (2006). Max’s Words. (Boris Kulikov)
Banks, Kate. (2011). Max’s Castle. (Boris Kulikov)
Bee, William. (2008). Beware of the Frog.
Bingham, Kelly. (2012). Z is for Moose. (Paul O. Zelinsky)
Brown, Ruth. (1999). Toad.
Bryan, Sean. (2011). A Boy and his Bear. (Tom Murphy)
Bryan, Sean. (2011). A Boy and his Bunny. (Tom Murphy)
Bryan, Sean. (2011). A Girl and her Gator. (Tom Murphy)
Bunting, Eve. (2003). Little Bear’s Little Boat. (Nancy Carpenter)
Bunting, Eve. (2013). Big Bear’s Big Boat. (Nancy Carpenter)
Cabatingan, Erin. (2012). A is for Musk Ox. (Matthew Myers)
Davey, Owen. (2012). Knight Night.
Falwell, Cathryn. (1998). Word Wizard.
Klassen, Jon. (2011). I Want My Hat Back.
Klassen, Jon. (2012). This is Not my Hat.
Lichtenheld, Tom & Ezra Fields-Meyer. (2011). E-mergency! (Tom Lichtenheld)
Long, Ethan. (2012). Up! Tall! And High!
Pearson, Susan. (2013). Mouse House Tales. (Amanda Shepherd)
Pendziwol, Jean E. (2013). Once Upon a Northern Night. (Isabelle Arsenault)
Rand, Ann & Paul. (1957). Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words.
Robinson, Fiona. (2011). What Animals Really Like.
Root, Phyllis. (1998). One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book. (Jane Chapman)
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. (2011). Al Pha’s Bet. (Delphine Durand)
Salley, Coleen. (2002). Epossumondas. (Janet Stevens)
Schotter, Roni. (2006). The Boy Who Loved Words. (Giselle Potter)
Sherry, Kevin. (2007). I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean!
Thomas, Jan. (2009). Rhyming Dust Bunnies.
Wilcox, Leah. (2003). Falling for Rapunzel. (Lydia Monks)
Ziefert, Harriet. (1997). Night, Knight. (Richard Brown)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing a wonderful collection of books that are rich enough for IRA and showcase word study concepts.