Sunday, August 10, 2014

PB 10 for 10 Kindergarten Favorites

     Next year I am taking on a new adventure....Kindergarten! I will be the LIFT teacher in my district. This stands for Literacy Initiative Focused Teaching. I will be teaching literacy to Kindergartners in the morning and afternoon that will be in addition to their regular K class. I couldn't be more excited!!

I feel like I've been in Kindergarten boot camp this summer. I've been reading everything I can to prepare for my new journey. I hit the PD book jackpot when Mandy Robek graciously lent me her fantastic professional reads. But along with PD reads I read lots of new to me picture books to find some great titles to share with my readers. I had the perfect reading partners this summer, my own almost Kindergartner (1 more week!) and my 3 year old.

I want my beginning of the year read alouds to engage students. I want them to laugh, giggle, shriek, and TALK! I want books that are simple in format, but also lend themselves to big ideas and good discussion. I want to find books with a great beat, music for the ear. I want to find books that lend themselves to drama and storytelling re-enactments. I want books that make kids come home and talk about them. Finally, the best books are ones that my K readers will ask for again and again and again. They will have characters that will remembered and celebrated in our classroom.

Thank you for organizing the event Cathy and Mandy! I love reading about everyone's posts about great books. 

1. The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

I LOVE this book. It will remind you of I Want My Hat Back, Simple in format, but leads to great conversation and laughter. It is an engaging story about an alligator who worries after he eats too many watermelon seeds. He finally solves his problem by burping up the seeds. What Kindergartener wouldn't love this plot solution? This book is great for teaching fiction story structure, inferring feelings of the main character, and retelling through drama. I am hoping my K readers want to re-enact this story with each other. It also has great sound words to notice if you are reading for author's craft. It's one I think you could read again and again.

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2.  The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires is a great story for any grade level. It shows themes of perseverance, grit, hard work, and creativity. It is the perfect beginning of the year read aloud to guide discussions about the struggle that occurs when trying something new.

3. Almost by Richard Torrey is one I will share with my Kindergarteners to build confidence about the many things we can almost do. We will talk about how if we something is hard, we may just not feel strong at it YET. I see us turning some of our almost statements into I Can statements.

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4. Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch is my 3 year old's favorite book. It will make kids laugh. I read it to her preschool class last week and kids loved interacting with the story. We shrieked together each time a new animal baby was brought home. This is a good story for making predictions and inferring character's feelings.i 


5. Garbage Trucks by Terri DeGezelle is a great nonfiction book for our classroom library. It is simple in format and one that we can read together to collect facts about the monster trucks. 

6. A great fiction book to pair with Garbage Trucks is I Stink! by Kate & Jim McMullan. I love this voice in this story. It is told from the point of view of a garbage truck who eats trash while we are all asleep.

7. National Geographic's Book of Animal Poetry is full of amazing poems and extraordinary photographs. I love using these poems to explore language and vocabulary while also learning facts about animals.

8. Another great non fiction find is Little Kids First Big Book of Animals by Catherine D. Hughes. The photographs are excellent and the animals are separated by habitat. We can begin learning how to read the pictures by observing these animals in their habitats. It will also help us learn about features of non fiction.

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9. I LOVE Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems! I bought a 20 book set for our library. I think they will be great shared reads. I love the themes of jealousy, friendship, sharing to name a few. I think they will be a great books to practice beginning reading skills. We can also use these books as mentors for our own writing. We will study Mo Willems' to see how he uses author's craft and how his illustrations help tell the story.

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10. Bear's Loose Tooth by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman is one in a series of picture books about Bear and his friends. I plan to read all of these to my K students. The books use rhyme and tell stories of friendship and teamwork. They focus on topics kids can connect with and share thinking about. I'm hoping these books help us develop our thinking voices about stories, and build discussion skills as a reading community.

11. I had to edit this post and add just one more I had forgotten I wanted to add....

I LOVE Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses! This is a perfect beginning of the year read for any age. The message is all about looking at things in a whole new way with a positive attitude. When Pete puts on his sunglasses his mood begins to change as he looks at situations. I hope our communit can work together to focus on the good in a day!


  1. Love your post Amy! What an awesome job for you as well and what an amazing opportunity for those kindergartners. That will be fun for you to teach K while having a little kindergartner at home. Great book ideas for the always!

  2. Great choices! Got the Book of Animal Poetry through Scholastic last year - what a treasure! My students poured over the poems and photographs endlessly. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sounds like you have the perfect job - kindergarten kids and books.

  4. Amy,
    These are sure to be a hit. I haven't read Almost, but it is going on my list right now. I loved when you said, "[Books] that are simple in format, but also lend themselves to big ideas and good discussion." Enjoy your year!