Amira’s Suitcase written by Vikki Conley and illustrated by Nicky Johnston provided an interesting discussion for Kindergarten. After reading the story we discussed ideas of why Amira needed to hide, where she moved to, and what changed for Amira during the story. The idea of time passing as the plants grew and the friendships she made also offered ideas to explore.
The book was a Children’s Book Council of Australia Shortlist and won the Honours award. Kindergarten illustrated plants and flowers they would like to grow if they were in the story with Amira.
A Literature Companion for Teachers by Lorraine McDonald has certainly been a companion to me! As an example Chapter 2 – Types of Literary Texts overviews a variety of genres and provides inspiration for practical approaches to provide meaningful learning experiences with reference to specific texts.
Recently I created a Genres Guide that students could refer to. This guide was used with Year 4 students to introduce the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Younger Readers chapter books. Reading an extract from the books and referring to the guide the students were able to identify the main genre. Providing students with extracts from a variety of book genres and getting them to examine and respond to the main genre with evidence from the text is another way to enable students to build knowledge of literary genres.
Inspired by the SCAN article Book bento boxes: Creative reading response by Dr Jennie Bales and Louise Saint-John, I found myself absorbed collecting objects to design book bento boxes for two very special books. The experience was extremely rewarding and I look forward to working with students on creating their own book bento boxes.
This year I have created a guide for colours and symbols as some students struggle relating colour and understanding a symbol as one object linked to the story. Past examples of the CSI summaries can be found here.
Little Bird’s Day by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr provided a superb way to explore change over one day.
This delightful book was read to Kindergarten, we focused on the sentences related to the changing day. For example, Here comes Cloud, huffing and puffing. First, the children drew a bird onto card, each illustration was cut out. Children were then provided with a sentence from the book – their task was to illustrate a background related to the time of day. The little birds were added to the background. Below is a selection of beautiful responses and connections to the story.
Who is the main character? Are they human, an animal or an imagined character?
What can the character see?
What might the character think?
What might the character care about?
The responses were collated to form a group summary. Students chose one of the books to respond to by drawing and writing. The use of writing prompt assisted students to respond to the Step Inside questions.
CBCA NSW Branch Inc Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch logo designed by Cate James
On Wednesday evening last week, the newly formed CBCA NSW Branch Inc Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch was launched! It was an inspiring event attended by almost 80 guests – a mix of children’s book authors and illustrators, publishing industry professionals, teachers, librarians and parents. The evening not only raised the profile of children’s books it also brought together a community passionate about a good story and admirers of the artistic talent of children’s book illustrators.
For the library sessions, I focused on places in Australia and how people connect to places. I see the Year 2 classes once a week for a half hour lesson. I generally plan a series of lessons that allow students to progressively build on knowledge, skills and understanding. For this series of lessons, two picture books provided stimulation for the learning activities.
In summary, the two books were explored, students were guided through searching for places using Google Earth, labelling maps and reflecting on how the characters in the books connect with their environment. As a final reflection, the children wrote about a special place where they live.
Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) promotes and celebrates children’s books with the major event of Children’s Book Week during August. There are several Posts related to Book Week on this Blog as it is a very special part of the Library program. Recently SCIS Connections published an article I wrote focusing on using the Early Childhood and Picture Book short list books, as well as providing an insight into exploring the Younger Readers chapter books in the F–6 school context. The full article can be found via Read, respond, celebrate: engaging with the CBCA short list