Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse, he is clever, adventurous, and thoughtful. He lives in New York and has a cat Snowbell living in his house who tries to get rid of him. His greatest adventure that leads him to leave the house for the first time is to save his best friend, Margalo the bird, disappears from her nest. He is determined to track her down. A creative writing activity for the class would have them to write an alternative story about Stuart Little’s adventurous day.
Ivan is a gorilla who has been confined to a small “domain” of concrete, metal, and glass for 27 years. Joining Ivan at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade are Stella, an aging elephant, and Bob, a feisty stray dog. While other animals perform, Ivan makes art, watches TV, and offers melancholy assessments of their situation. When Ruby, an inquisitive baby elephant, arrives and Stella dies from neglect, her dying wish is for Ivan to help Ruby escape. He is successful, and they are both relocated to a happy life at the zoo. A class activity to get students to recall details from the story would be to make an anchor chart of the four different settings that Ivan lives in and have students write down details describing each of these places on sticky notes.
Will the barnyard animals trick-or treat-Farmer Brown? Farmer Brown does not like Halloween. So he draws the shades, puts on his footy pajamas, and climbs into bed. But do you think the barnyard animals have any respect for a man in footy pajamas? No, they do not. For them, the Halloween party has just begun. And we all know these critters far prefer tricks over treats.There are big surprises in store for Farmer Brown. This book would be great to read during the month of October.
Lexile: AD 520L
This is a beloved novel about the friendship of Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider. Wilbur is born the runt of his litter and his life is spared from slaughter by a little girl named Fern Arable. Once he grows up he is sold to Fern's uncle and ls very lonely until he meets Charlotte. Charlotte writes messages of praise and saves Wilbur's life. After she dies he takes care of her babies and is kept company by them. A STEM activity for the class based off this book is to use the materials provided to create a free-standing pig pen that their cut-out Wilbur can fit inside. They will have popsicle sticks, cardboard pieces, aluminum foil, tape, scissors, and straws.
This science-based fiction novel tells the story of Arnold swallowing the Magic School Bus. Now, instead of seeing an exhibit of the human body at a museum, the class is taking a look at Arnold's stomach, his intestines, his bloodstream, and more from the inside on this heart-stopping field trip. This book would be great to accompany a science lesson in which students are learning about the human body. Students then can create models of human organs from household objects for a fun and hands-on activity.
Lexile: AD 730L
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a picture book that follows the life cycle of a caterpillar as it starts by coming out of its egg, all the way to becoming a butterfly. It teaches the days of the week and counting up to five. This would be a good book to read and incorporate a math lesson into it. I would have a picture of a caterpillar labeled with numbers 1-5 written above each circle making up its body. Then students can sequence the story on their own using pictures of the different items and their correct number that the caterpillar ate.
Lexile: AD 460L
This book is a survival tale that young boys are sure to enjoy reading! It tells of a ten year old boy named Moon Blake who is raised in the wilderness by his father. After his father dies, he is placed briefly in a boy's home and makes two friends to carry out his escape plan with him. This book provides a detailed account of lessons Moon's father has taught him about being self-sufficient. Students will respond to 10 quick write journal prompts that are relatable to their own lives periodically throughout reading the novel. A few prompt titles are Survival, One Suitcase, and Escape.
It's Pete the Cat's first day of school. He's wearing his totally awesome school shoes, which take him all over the school. From the library to the playground, Pete encounters one new place after another. He knows he has nothing to worry about because he is ready for anything in his special red shoes! This is a great book to read on the first day of school to relieve any jitters students might have about the start of a new year. Students then can color a picture of a pair of shoes and decorate them to match their ideal school shoes.
Lexile: AD 430L
This book is about a ten year old girl named Opal who is abandoned by her mother at a young age. She moves with her father, who is also a preacher, to a small town in Florida. Opal is lonely and missing her old friends, but is soon happy to find companionship with a rambunctious little dog she names Winn-Dixie, after finding him in that store. With Winn-Dixie's help she befriends many different townsfolk, and she even begins mending her relationship with her father. A class activity would be for students to write about a mistake they have made on their own paper bottles, and then place all the bottles on a tree in the classroom to show that everyone makes mistakes and that it is ok. Then have a class discussion why Gloria might have done this in the story.
A ten year old girl, Sophie, is taken by a giant from her bed in an orphanage to a cave. He soon explains that he is a friendly giant and does not eat people. He catches dreams, stores them in his cave, and then gives the good ones to children all around the world. They vow to each other to make all the other giants disappear, and they accomplish this by giving a dream to the Queen of England about the giants. They trap all the giants into a pit where they can't eat anybody. A class activity to go along with this book is to teach them about main idea and detail with dream jars. Students draw or write details of their dream on the jar as if it has been captured and then create a label for the jar with the main idea written on it.
Enemy Pie is a great book on friendship. It begins as the perfect summer until Jeremy Ross moves into the house down the street and becomes neighborhood enemy number one. His dad has a guaranteed way to get rid of enemies. That is enemy pie, but part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! It turns out that they are not enemies after all. This would be a good book to read at the beginning of the school year. Students can create their own pie and fill it with ingredients (ways) to keep a friend or to be a good friend.
Lexile: AD 550L
This is a bright picture book that tells of the migration of diverse immigrant and ethnic groups to North America, dating back to the travels of native peoples across the Bering Strait. It also includes the Atlantic slave trade and the journey of immigrants from Europe and Asia. This text recounts the lives of various immigrant groups and details the challenges of moving to a new land. A class activity would be to let students bring an important object and describe the history of it, and why they like it. Then ask how they would feel if they lost it. This can give an explanation to how immigrants felt when they had to leave everything behind when they came to America.
Lexile: AD 890L
Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she never eats them because the other kids in her school don't like them. Camilla is very worried about what other people thank about her, but at the very moment she most wants to fit in, she becomes completely covered in strips and stands out. She searches for anyone who can help her remember what it means to be herself. A great first week of school activity to go along with this book is to have students draw lines across a cut out of Camilla's head to be filled in with stripes with things that make them unique written on them. Be sure to encourage students to share things that others would not know or they might be shy to share.
Lexile: AD 610L
This book takes a simple optical illusion of whether the image shown is a duck or a rabbit and weaves a story around it. Two people are debating on whether its a duck or a rabbit depending on how they look at it. It also includes a subtle lesson for for children who don't know when to let go of an argument. For beginning writers, they can tell if they think it is a duck or a rabbit in one or two sentences and include a fact from the story. Then the teacher can puts everyone's papers together and explain how it is their opinion on what animal they think it is.
Lexile: AD 300L
This is the story of a young fruit bat who becomes separated from her mother and lands in a nest of baby birds, becoming an adoptive member of the bird family. The baby bat learns to act like a baby bird but struggles to completely fit in with the family. Eventually she is able to regain her identity as a bat, and she and her bird friends wonder together about friendship and being alike and different at the same time. A class activity for this book is to let students complete a character's point of view chart about 3 of the main characters and write about how each feel about eating bugs, sleeping, and flying at night.
Lexile: AD 550L
Max is a little boy who is sent to his room by his mom after doing many mischievous things without dinner. He uses his imagination to sail to where he becomes the king of the wild things. He begins to miss his mother's love and returns to his bedroom where his warm dinner is waiting for him.
Students can make their own Max and write about a time they felt like a wild thing!