10 Things to do with a Big Book

I love Big Books. I know what you are thinking, 'you love everything Mel'. But I am quite seriously serious when I tell you I love Big Books. 

If you are not sure what I am referring to - I will explain it.

They are books. And they are big. 

Yep, that is it. See, now you know why I like them. There is beauty in simplicity. 

I like them because they are wonderful for helping students learn the strategies for reading. I like to use them for both 'shared' and 'modelled' reading experiences. When I do shared reading, I like the students to just sit back and find themselves immersed in the 'story'. Upon second reading, we often share the reading roles, and they assist in reading various parts of the text. When I do 'modelled' reading, I explicitly demonstrate various strategies used in reading. 

But what else can you do? You have invested a HUGE amount of energy in creating the reading routine, getting your students engaged and settled - transformed them to a land of imagination with your brilliant story telling. You might as well pack a little more educational punch into your session while you have the book out. 

Here are ten ideas for you to incorporate into your Big Book learning session. I am currently working on a printable pack to work alongside your big books, but these ideas require minimal, if not NO extra prep, print-outs, effort or resources. 

Just you, your kids, the book...

- and as you will know, quite often that equals the BEST learning! 

1. Before reading, ask students to predict what the story will be about. Ask them to go back to their desks and draw some pictures to show what they think will happen!

2. Play listening games – e.g. say to your students ‘roar like a tiger whenever I say the word tiger’. This will encourage your reluctant students to pay attention to the text.

3. Have groups of children chorus read, upon a re-reading of the text. You can alternate pages between groups of students. This will encourage them to attend to print and follow along.

4. Before reading, place random post-it notes through the story, over the text. When you get up to each note, in your reading, have students predict the word.

5. Tell the students that nouns are naming words and we can take a photo of most of them. While reading the text, get them to pretend they are taking a photo whenever you say a word that is a noun.

6. Before reading, identify 2 or 3 focus sight words (high frequency words). Whenever these words are read, students clap their hands.

7. Listen for mistakes – bring a puppet of some sort to school. Tell your students that he/she/it is learning to read, and will need some help. Tell your students to quietly put their hands on their head, whenever they hear the puppet making a mistake in their reading. You may ask students to explain the mistake too and describe how they knew the mistake had been made. This will encourage students to think about strategies for reading and give you the opportunity to explicitly identify them.

8. After reading, leave the big book and a pointer in your reading corner and let the children read and ‘be the teacher’ during independent free reading times.

9. Make a copy of one of the pages of text from the big book. Provide your students with highlighters to find all the occurrences of an aspect of print. Ask them to highlight all the spaces between words, all the capital letters, or all of the full stops, for example.

10. Create a character web. On chart paper, write the name of a character from your book. Encourage your students to tell you everything they know about the character from the text AND pictures. Ask students if this character reminds them of anyone they know. Encourage the link between what they read and their life experience. 

Is that all, you say? No that is not all, I will be back with 10 more ideas very soon!

Have a great day friends, and thanks for stopping by!