BLOGS  >  JULY 29, 2019

Building Community: #ClassroomBookADay

BY JILLIAN HEISE


Kicking off a year of #ClassroomBookaADay read alouds can be a daunting task. Many teachers express nervousness at being able to find as many titles as they will need. Yet by 4th quarter, many express that they won’t be able to get in all of the books they want to read this year! To help with this, I’m curating monthly themed recommendation lists of picture books that would be great to use that month for #ClassroomBookaADay, or really any time of the year.

Each month I’ll share 20 new picture book titles in a blog post, and also as a list in Titlewave, to help you with choosing books to share for your #ClassroomBookaADay read alouds. I’m looking forward to sharing picture books that I am excited about, have found success with in the classroom and library, and that will help you to keep building community through reading a picture book every day of the school year!

September. Back-to-school time. The nervousness of a brand new group of students who will be entering your classroom door, hoping for the best and eager to find their place. The time when new friendships are made, community is built and procedures are established. It’s an exciting time and the #ClassroomBookaADay routine provides an opportunity to start establishing a strong classroom community from the start with this new group of students, and to start into the routine of reading aloud a picture book each day. Once you’ve decided on that 10 minute time in your day or class period that will work for your picture book read aloud each day, it’s time to start thinking about titles. Keeping that time consistent and sacred is important in this first month, especially for students who at first may question why you’re reading “baby books” to them. But through explaining your purpose for doing this, keeping the routine consistent and choosing engaging titles from the start, even those reluctant to go along with it will find that it becomes a welcome part of their day. I had many middle school students in my 7th & 8th grade ELA class who told me that one of the reasons they liked #ClassroomBookaADay so much was because it gave them a time to relax, remember being a kid and to get a break in their day for enjoyment. What a powerful addition to any classroom!

My focus for #ClassroomBookaADay read alouds in the first month of the school year is all around creating that enjoyable experience and sharing books with themes around community as we work to establish our new classroom community. The books I have selected for this list range around that theme with stories about understanding others, including others, and welcoming others into the group. They will help create a sense of community from the start, show ways of working together, and remind kids of the need to give everyone a chance and not leave others out. Building community can be one of hardest things to do with a new group of students, but the efforts to work toward it will also lead to some of the best moments throughout the school year. And sharing these picture books as your September read alouds can help accelerate the process and lead to deeper empathy.

 

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