Reading: a Family Tradition
Prepared by the I Love to Read committee at Pinecrest Elementary School, Hastings, Minnesota: Marita Legreid, Jane Richards, Tere Kranz, Glenda Peak, Nancy Danneker, Pat Schultz, Sharon Brown, Jane Harris, and Nancy Techam
This year our I Love to Read celebration in District 200 will focus on Marsha Wilson Chall. Since Marsha will visit our elementary schools in January and February, this integration of Author Day activities and I Love to Read activities is a natural consolidation. Combining the activities will ease teacher workload and more thoroughly prepare our students for Author Day, or extend activities after the author visit.
Many of the books written by Marsha Wilson Chall focus on family activities and celebrations. Therefore, the theme for this year’s District 200 I Love to Read celebration is Reading: A Family Tradition (Sharing the books of Marsha Wilson Chall). The media specialist in each building will be providing you with information regarding the books that will be for sale and specifics for Marsha’s visit to your building.
The following ideas, activities, and expectations were developed by the District 200 I Love to Read Committee. We have attempted to provide ideas that are developmentally appropriate for various grade levels. Please choose what works best for you.
Happy Birthday, America!
- Teach the Fifty-Nifty United States song. See your building I Love to Read Committee member or music teacher for more information about this song.
- Put states in alphabetical order and make up a chant or a rap depicting one of the best qualities of each state.
- Use a map to identify each state.
- Writing Connection: Have the class individually or as a group make up a new family tradition for the Fourth of July.
- Writing Activity: Create an American flag. On each stripe have a student write a sentence or two about a Fourth of July memory they have or a tradition their family observes. Using both sides of the flag would allow for 26 memories or traditions.
- Divide a circle into four or six parts and draw what they do on the Fourth of July.
- Make a tachistoscope showing four activities that were depicted in the book.
- Create a Fourth of July summer picnic menu. Have a picnic in your classroom.
Up North at the Cabin
- Discussion of the metaphors and similes found in the story. This fits well with the teaching of word choice. Have students create metaphors and similes.
Writing Activity: Create a pattern book using the idea of Up North at the Cabin; for example, Down South at the Beach.
- Class Book: Create a class book using the pattern … We took a trip to a cabin. Each child would create a page telling what they would take and what they would do.
- Art Connection: Create a page with a watercolor background. Each students would use this page to write the final copy about one of their vacation experiences.
- Discussion of the metaphors and similes found in the story. This fits well with the Do a taste test. Contrast real maple syrup with maple syrup such as Mrs. Butterworth’s. Graph the results of the taste test.
- Then/Now Brainstorming: Brainstorm how different life was at the time Sugarbush Spring took place and now.
- Connect to the chapter “The Sugar Snow” from Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- Have older relatives come in to talk about traditions and life many years ago.
- Go to Carpenter’s [or a local maple syrup operation] during maple syrup time or have someone from Carpenter’s come to your classroom to do a demonstration. Many fifth grade classes visit Carpenter’s for maple syruping, so please check on this before making arrangements. Carpenter’s would come to the school to do a demonstration for $75 per hour. They would do a grade level at a time. Please check with your building principal to see if there would be funds for this.
Overall Ideas (some may be building-wide)
- Website for Marsha Wilson Chall: www.marshachall.com
- Each family will receive a note regarding our I Love to Read Celebration and a February calendar listing a family activity for each day.
- Books and Breakfast: Have parents come in before school to read with their children while they share a breakfast treat. This could be done school-wide or with different grade levels meeting on different days. One thing to consider in these tight budget times is how the breakfast treat would be paid for.
After all books have been shared vote for your favorite book and then graph the results.
- Write letters (class or individual) to the author.
- Sit and Read: Provide a chair of some sort (rocking, lawn, etc.) or a boat. Be sure a student or staff member is always sitting in the chair and reading during the month of February. This could be placed in the media center or a prominent place in the hallway near the office.
- Student of the Day: The student of the day is given a bell to ring. Whenever they ring the bell, the class would take a few minutes for a story or poetry break.
- There are many other ideas that have been used in the past that you may want to incorporate into your celebration such as: guest readers (school-wide or in individual classrooms), Read Me Day, Newspaper Scavenger Hunts, etc.
The ideas that have been provided were meant as a springboard for the many wonderful ideas each of you may have. Pick and choose what will work for your class or school.
We hope you have a wonderful Author Day and I Love to Read Celebration during January and February.