Picture Book Month (AKA an excuse to read to big kids)

Picture Book Month (AKA an excuse to read to big kids)

Yesterday I was reminded that November is Picture Book Month. Almost perfect timing as I am wrapping up a big project with fourth grade. (A collaborative effort with the art teacher that I thoroughly enjoyed. It probably should get its own blog post. In case I don’t get to that though, here’s a link to the blogs that the kids wrote about the project.)

I rarely read to my 3-6 graders.  In fact, the only kids I read to every single week are the preschoolers. There is so much to teach them and so little time. And, truth be told, I have a deep fear of being seen as nothing more than a storyteller. If the superintendent walks in with a school board member, the very last thing I want them to see is me reading a story to the kids.  Now, if I thought they would stick around long enough to see the response of the children, to see the looks on their faces as I draw them in, it would be different. But I’ve seen enough of these visits to know that they peek in the door for a few seconds and draw quick conclusions. “Oh, she’s just reading a story. Cutting that won’t hurt anything.”

So, I’ve transitioned most of my teaching to the technology side of the house. Now, if a big-wig walks in, they see the kids tapping away on the keyboard and draw the quick conclusion that the kids are learning a valuable skill.  Just as they won’t stay long enough to discover the benefits of my reading aloud, neither will they stay long enough to ascertain whether the kids at the computers are actually learning a valuable skill or just playing a game.

Harmful assumptions on both counts.

But this month, I can read to everyone and justify it. Yay!

I was planning to start my Internet Safety Unit with my intermediate grades and now I will kick it off by reading Bully by Patricia Polacco to my 5th and 6th graders. This book specifically addresses online bullying and I think it will be a good discussion starter. I ordered the book last year and shared it with my teachers, but their days are too full to add anything more.The book has sat untouched on my shelf. I’m sure the kids look at the cover and see a “baby” book. Hopefully sharing it aloud will not only start a discussion about cyberbullying, but open their eyes to the idea that picture books can actually be just right for them too.

I’ll be reading Each Kindness  by Jacqueline Woodson to 3rd and 4th graders. While this doesn’t specifically relate to internet safety and cyberbullying, it does make the point that our treatment of others matters, which carries over into every area of life.

It’s too bad that November is such a short month. My mind is full of other ideas to incorporate, but I’m afraid they’ll have to wait until next year.


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