Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Great Books to Read in the First Week of Kindergarten

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I am writing some posts this week about getting ready to teach Kindergarten.

Schools in Australia return around Jan 30th for the beginning of a brand new school year. That means many excited 5/6 year olds ready to begin their journey at big school... and perhaps a few nervous teachers, having Kindergarten for the first time.

My blogging friend Brooke, over at Teachable Moments is having Kinder this year, and her post tonight about books spurred me on to share the ones I read.
When I teach Kindergarten I like to take a "School" box of books, pictures and posters to work. They help to teach our "School Days" unit of work. Our unit of work runs for ten weeks and it is a great way to introduce the children to the formalities of 'big school'.

This box of books is more for story reading time, where the students can relax and just enjoy being read to, without any formal and structured 'teaching about text' that I would do with big books in our main literacy session. I read these as lesson breaks and before/after bell times.
I read LOTS! Books are a great way to settle students and also start to build a 'community' in your classroom. The children learn to respond to your voice as a teacher, and they provide a platform for lots of discussion, sharing of opinions and learning about boring things like school rules! "Shared experiences" are perfect learning tools in a classroom and a shared story is a simple, yet exciting experience for kinder children in their first weeks.

Here are some of the books I take OFF my daughter's book shelf and pack into the car!

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They include:

1. The First Day of School by Toby Forward
2. I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child
3. My Mum Goes to Work by Kes Gray (and we talk about how the children now have a 'fun work' to go to)
4. Kindergarten With Teddy Bear by Jacqueline McQuade
5. The Dinosaur Who Wouldn't Go to School by Michael Salmon
6. Grug Goes to School by Ted Prior
7. Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
8. Possum Goes to School by Melanie Carter (a favourite!)
9. Franklin is Lost by Paulette Bourgeois
10. Who's Behind the Door? At My School by Michael Salmon
11. The kinder Hat by Morag Loh
12. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
13. Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois
14. Don't Eat the Teacher by Nick Ward
15. Please Play Safe by Margery Cuyler (great for talking about playground rules)
16. Kindergarten by Jacqueline Rogers
17. Eight by Lyn Lee & Kim Gamble (great for talking about feeling safe without familiar things)

Some of these stories are better than others, and to tell you the truth, if I see a book with 'school' or 'kindergarten' as the subject or title, I will most likely buy it to add to the collection.

I arrange them on a table-library in the classroom for a few weeks, so the students can look through during free reading time.

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The "Who's Behind the Door? At My School" book provides the stimulus for a wonderful activity I do with the students.
 I take them on a tour of the school and knock on each classroom door. We talk about the teacher, the classroom and take a photo! The teacher in the room says a few nice words to the children and we wave good-bye. The next day, I have ready, a hand made book, similar to this one in structure, with each page folding out to reveal which teacher is 'behind the door'. The children LOVE it and it is a great way to introduce them to all the new faces at school.
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I read books like "If You're Happy and You Know It" by Jane Cabrera - as they lead into movement and singing activities that are well known by the students. I also incorporate this song into my behaviour management by singing "If You're Ready and You Know It, Sitting Down" (clap clap).. "If You're Ready and You Know it Cross Your Legs" ".....eyes to me"... etc - basically singing what I want them to do. It works very well!
 Worksheets like the ones in our 'Back to School Worksheets' packet are great to use with these sorts of books in the first weeks of school.
With this printable file, you can create a booklet of 12 pages that will allow your students to draw or write some simple things about school.
Each page is clear, uncluttered and perfectly simple enough for kinders to finally start some big-school-work but not be overwhelmed.
For some of the activities, you may need to scribe some ideas for the students, while others have room for illustrations.

You can find it at
TeacherspayTeachers HERE
Teachers Notebook HERE
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Mrs Poultney said...

A great selection of books Mel! "Eight" is one of my absolute favourites, I had to buy an extra copy for my classroom because my son was getting annoyed that I was taking his favourite book to school. Love your idea about introducing them to the teachers in the school.

Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

Quilty Cat said...

Thanks for sharing all these titles. I have a bit of a weakness for books about school.
I liked your door idea. You have a treasure in that book. It's no longer available look after it!

Quilty Cat said...

Another one my students have liked is The Things I Love about School by Trace Moroney.
I bought my copy in Coles about 2 years ago. I've seen it since in Big W and Kmart
I'm so excited to see some Back To School posts. Thank you