Guest Author - Mary Ann Graziani
Encourage reading and teach children about their home state with a state themed Reading month. First you will need to create a classroom library of at least 40 state books. Choose books at various reading levels and include books written by state authors, have settings in the state, are about a state topic, or about a famous person from your state.
Choose four state books from the class library and plan four learning activities for the class based on those books. The teacher will prepare four learning activities based on four books chosen from the state library. Make a calendar with the book and activity for the week on a calendar and post outside the classroom door for parents to sign up. Four parent volunteers will be needed to read and help out for reading month. The activities that the teacher prepares to go with the book will be fun. Students will also be very excited to have a family member in their classroom. Family members will have the opportunity to read and participate in this event to support literacy and learn more about their home state. The reading month will be an authentic literature unit because students will be making a useful and meaningful book to share based on what they have read. All the work is collected from each learning activity will be used to create a state book. The book should contain interesting facts, symbols, notable travel destinations, and the state song. Make learning activities that will produce pages for the book based on those ideas and any other interesting information about the home state that you would like to add.
Create a reading log so that students can pick a book from the library to bring home and read to a parent. What could be better than reading aloud to a family member? Hopefully this will create a loving routine that parents and kids can do together throughout the week after the reading event is over. Students will check one library book at a time from the state book classroom library to bring home to read to a parent or guardian. When the student has finished reading the book to a parent or guardian they will record the book on the form and have it signed by the family member they read it to. Once the student has read five books over the month, they return the form to the teacher. The teacher can plan give state themed prizes to reward students for reading the five books in order to encourage reading.
You will need to design a flyer to send to families and posters to decorate the classroom walls. The flyers should let the families know that you are promoting reading in the classroom and all the details about the event.
A Few State Themed Lesson Plan Ideas:
Volunteer reads a state book aloud. Students split into groups with each group making an acrostic poem about based on what they learned from the read aloud. Each letter of their state should represent something about their state. Collect each acrostic poem to be used as the first pages of the book.
Another activity would be for students to independently read a book about their home state and write a book review. Book reviews will include a summary of the story, their recommendation of the book, and a picture from a scene in the book. Collect the book reviews to be used as pages which will be included in the state book.
Volunteer will read aloud a book to class about activities to do in their state and then review some travel guides. They will make their own travel guides. The students will split into groups or pairs with each group making a one page travel flyer for a particular popular destination in their state. These pages will be the next pages in the book.
Teacher will have students listen to the state song and then parent volunteer can read the lyrics of the song to students aloud. Many lyrics to state songs can be found on the Internet. Practice singing the song together and then teacher and students will brainstorm a large list of words that describe or apply to their state. Split students up into groups and they can work together to make their own rap song using the list of words that were brainstormed. Song lyrics and student rap songs lyrics will be included in the to book.
Read aloud a book about facts and symbols of home state. Students will then work in groups to make pages about the following symbols of their state: State bird, state stone, state tree, state fish, state flower, state flag, state coat of arms. These pages will be included in the state book.
Additional Activities for Reading Month
Students can make an audio book by taping themselves reading a state book. They can then send the recording to grandparents, family members, or family friends who will love it!
When students are done reading books,write its title and author on a link in a construction paper chain and hang on the walls. Have students write draw a picture of their favorite characters or parts on the paper link.