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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for over 23 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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Sharing Books With Students

There are so many great things we can do with children's literature. As a teacher, I always wanted to know and understand the excitement children have for "one" book. I would share the same book for an entire week with different activities, and they never seemed bored but always excited about the new lesson. The following is a scenario of what a teacher could do with "one" book for each day of the week.

 For Mr. King and his class, it is January, and they will be starting a new thematic unit, "Bears and Hibernation ". In Mr. King's Kindergarten classroom, there is evidence of literacy activities everywhere you look. You can tell that the children are engaged throughout the classroom through differentiated activities. 

Mr. King gathers his students on the carpet each morning and begins introducing new literacy concepts such as vocabulary, picture walks, guided reading, and shared reading, and introduces the new centers for the week. Each day he shares a variety of activities that you can do with books that the children love. He also implements book sharing with his students so they learn to love books and reading. Mr. King's goal is to entice the children and get them excited about the book they will read each week.

On Monday, Mr. King plans to do a Picture Walk during carpet time. The class will enjoy the big book "Were Going On a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rose. A new book is introduced during a picture walk. Usually, the teacher and the students go page by page, looking at the pictures, and talking about what may be happening in the story, and students get excited about reading the book. This gains enthusiasm for the book, and children are excited for what's to come that week.

Extended Activities: Centers will be set up throughout the classroom that will incorporate "Were Going on a Bear Hunt" lessons and activities. Centers can easily be adjusted to target different skills and abilities; they can be built to go along with thematic units and books you read, and they encourage children's collaboration and participation (Wierman, 2017).

The listening/Language will have the book "Were Going On a Bear Hunt" for children to listen to. Sequence cards will be available for the children to put in the correct order.

The Library Center will have different bear books, including "Were Going On a Bear Hunt," for children to look at, practice reading, and talk about with peers. Puppets will also be available for children to pretend and use for role play.

The Math Center will have bear manipulates for sorting and patterning lessons and worksheets that the students can pattern by coloring.

The Spelling Center will have a word wall that Mr. King and the children will add to during the week from the book. These will be words that they are curious about, vocabulary words they choose from Tuesday's lesson, and any words they are working on during spelling.

The Science Center will have ingredients to make slime which will help with the vocabulary for the week. Mr. King has a volunteer come in and help with this center, and the students will make slime that is thick and oozy which are also vocabulary words from the book.

On Tuesday, Mr. King will have the children bring their favorite bear/stuffed animal from home; they will read for the first time "Were Going on A Bear Hunt" by Michael Rose. Today, Mr. King will choose vocabulary words to focus on for the week. Vocabulary words that Mr. King will focus on from the book are: wavy, thick, oozy, stumble, narrow and gloomy. Each word will be looked up in the dictionary and put on the word wall. The words will be used in sentences throughout the week and will be housed in the Spelling Center.

On Wednesday, the class will engage in a shared reading opportunity with the book. Shared reading occurs when the children join in with the teacher. The teacher models with a big book how to follow the words, use the expression, and model reading fluency.   

Extended activities: Children are invited to bring their favorite bear book from home; they will be shared in the library center. Mr. King schedules a time during the day for a make-and-take book session that children are encouraged to engage in.

On Thursday, Mr. King will explain to the children that they are going to pack their backpacks to go on a bear hunt. They will follow the book's directions to pack their bag, and they will go on a walk around the school's neighborhood. This can also be set up in the gymnasium, depending on where your school is located and the weather. The teacher can make the walk as in-depth with the sequence as they choose. This also gives the students time to practice and talk about some of the vocabulary words such as: stumble, narrow, gloomy, and wavy. Mr. King will have the book present for the correct sequence.

Extended Activity: Children will be put in guided reading groups to hold a discussion about the book. They will discuss the pictures, and the words in the book, ask questions and share their thoughts about the book.

On Friday, the students will gather on the carpet, and Mr. King will read the book one final time for the week. Activities from the week will be discussed, and he will ask the students to use the word wall vocabulary words in the best sentence they can come up with. Each child will take a turn constructing a sentence from the week. He will ask the students what their favorite part of the story was and will have them try to add vocabulary words to the sentence.

Extended Activity: As a large group, the class will do a cooking activity that goes along with the book. For the bear hunt cooking activity, they will make a bear in a cave with ingredients that include: Teddy Grahams, graham crackers, whipped cream, and paper plates. Children will name their bear, they can write a story about their bear, or they can tell the class about their bear.

In an early childhood classroom, teaching by themes is a way to incorporate a child's love of learning. Get to know each child, what they are interested in, and even ask them what they want to learn about. Concepts and skills can be incorporated into any theme that interests you and your children. "Bears" are a common theme as they spark children's curiosity. It is easy to find videos, stories, books, and lessons that cover your daily objectives when it comes to the thematic unit "bears". 

Children love to read the same book more than once. There are so many skills they can learn from one book, so if the teacher does one skill each day with the same book, they will really be honing that specific skill. There are many skills and activities that they can complete through hands-on learning during the week. Each week a different book can be introduced and incorporated. Different skills can also be chosen each day. Oftentimes, books will be incorporated through thematic or integrated units to allow for new knowledge to be built on existing knowledge and experience the children have. Units allow the teacher to create real-world contexts, meaningful connections, vocabulary knowledge, and prior skills that are important. Through integrated and thematic units, teachers are also able to assess students more easily through authentic assessment. 

Other books that could be used for the Bears and Hibernation theme:

Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows

National Geographic Readers: Sleep, Bear! By Shelby Alinsky

Hibernating Animals Literacy Activities by Teachers Pay Teachers

Expanded Opportunities to get children excited about reading:

Birthday Books: have children donate a book to your classroom library on their birthday. Put a donation sticker at the front of the book and then read the book to the class on their birthday.

Donate your favorite book: have children donate their favorite book at the beginning of the year or the end of the year.

Bring your favorite book to school: Each child gets to bring their favorite book and take turns reading them.

Online activities to share books: Teachers can share different online activities for children to do at home. The teacher can set up a Youtube channel and read books aloud to children. This allows children to have someone read to them aloud on a daily basis.


Wierman, M. (2017). Five Reasons to Incorporate Literacy Stations in Your Elementary Classroom.