By: Carmen Willings
Students develop strong reading skills when they are exposed to a range of quality literature and also read informative text that is relevant to their world. I have provided a possible book, If you Take a Mouse to School, that can be used with the Welcome Back to School! topic. Some other possible books are provided at the end. Be sure to select a book that is appropriate for your student(s).
Introduce the book to the students. Ask if any of the students are familiar with the book. Discuss why you chose to read this book.
A Picture (or object) Tells a Thousand Words…
Present students with pictures and objects from the story. Verbally describe the pictures for students who have low vision or are blind. Encourage the students to predict the content, events and outcome using title, headings, illustrations/objects. Read the story with enthusiasm and inflection.
a lunchbox, sandwich, pencils, backpack, chalk, eye dropper, a bar of soap, block, clay, paper, soccer ball, basketball, and a skateboard.
Main Ideas & Details
After reading the story, encourage students to ask questions they may have about the story. Encourage peers to try to answer the questions. Ask the students questions to demonstrate understanding of the text. Encourage students to describe the characters and setting:
- What did the mouse act like? The boy?
- Would you like to be the boy in the story? Why?
- Is the story fiction or non-fiction? How do you know?
- Do you think you are similar or different to the character (boy or mouse) in the story?
- Did the character(s) change over the course of the story?
- What was the intent of the author? Was it to inform, provide directions, or to entertain?
Recall items or key points of story
Provide students with the materials from the story along with those not related to the story. Challenge the students to identify objects from the story and those not from the story. Extend the activity by asking the students to recall what the mouse did with the items.
Discuss any emotions experienced when reading the story. Did you think it was funny or were you bothered by the events? What was the most (exciting, scary, boring, sad, funny) part of the story? Do you have a pet you would like to bring to school? How would it make you feel if your pet caused trouble?
Similarities & Differences
Discuss similarities and differences between other books by Laura Numeroff. Discuss how Laura Numeroff has written a number of books with the mouse as one of the characters. One of the more popular books she has written is the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". Read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" to the students and discuss the similarities in the books.
Using the objects related to the story, have the students take turns acting out the story.
Encourage students to place the objects from the story in the order in which they appeared in the story. Once the majority of students agree, reread the story and check the accuracy. If the items were in the wrong order, have the students correct them.
Build a Book and Reenact the story
Assign a page to each student. Have the students copy the words from the page or change the words to their color and then illustrate their page. Gather the students together and reread the story, have each student act out their page. Finally, assemble the pages together to create a class book to be placed in the book area.
Where there any unfamiliar words and phrases used in the story (this will be unique to your students)? Can you figure out what the author meant by how it was used in the story or by other words in the story? Show the students how you can look up unfamiliar words in a dictionary or on the computer.
Sight Word Search
Reread the story and have the students identify sight words and/or vocabulary words in the story. As you read the story, stop when you come to a sight word and encourage the students to read the word.
Hand out word cards (in print and/or braille) and/or objects from the story to the students. Assist the students in pairing cards with print/braille words to the objects. Read the story again and this time stop as you come to each item in the story. Ask for the person who has that word/object to come place it on the word wall for the book.
Help students create a weekly newsletter. Tell students that a newsletter is a way to communicate with their families and tell them about what happens at school. Encourage students to include the weeks highlights, upcoming events, and any requests.
Encourage students to begin a journal that they can add to each day. Some students will have more success writing about their day and what is familiar to them. For others, provide possible topic starters such as: activities they did in school or preferred/non-preferred activities. Modify the activity for students who are non-verbal and unable to write. Take pictures of their day using an ipad and group the photos using an app such as Pictello.
Have students write about their favorite summer activities or vacations. Provide assistance in dictating and summarizing when needed. Encourage students to bring in objects and/or pictures from vacations or that depict activities. Allow students to present their writing to their peers along with the pictures and objects. Encourage students to ask the presenter questions about their activities.
Have students help create signs for each classroom station. Provide posters/boards for each classroom station with names printed/brailled on each one. Have the students help determine which objects best represent the center to attach to the sign that will help them identify them.
Going to School Experience
Encourage students to share with the class their experience of coming to school. Prompt students as needed to include what they packed in their backpacks and how they arrived at school (bus, van, car, truck). Students may enhance their presentation by sharing personal items or may use pictures/videos/sounds of what they heard. Allow students to use pictures or objects representing various stages of going to school, have the students verbally tell or arrange the pictures/objects in the correct order. For example: put on shoes/coat, put on backpack, ride in vehicle (tire for object), hang up coat (hook). Identify transportation that students use to get to and from school.
If You Take a Mouse to School – Laura Numeroff
My Teacher Sleeps in School – Leatie Weiss
The Kissing Hand – Audrey Penn
Will I have a friend? – Miriam Cohen
The First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg
Arithmetic – Carl Sandburg
Good Morning – Greg & Steve Vol.. 2
So Happy You’re Here – Hap Palmer – So Big
The More We Get Together – Raffi, Silly Songs
We’re All Together Again – Greg & Steve Vol 5
Pop Culture Songs:
Be True to Your School - Beach Boys
Welcome Back (from Welcome Back Kotter) - John Sebastian
Informative Text: Yearbooks
Present the student's with the previous year's yearbook. For students who have minimal or no vision, describe the information that is found in yearbooks. Discuss or show: what information is provided, the purpose of the yearbook, how it is laid out, and what types of pictures are shown. Help students identify unknown words and identify pictures. Identify illustrations including maps, charts and photographs. Point out the different sections in the yearbook as well as teachers, and peers.
- Who: Who do you recognize in the yearbook? Who's pictures are in the yearbook?
- What: What section(s) of the yearbook were your favorite? What clubs are listed? What special activities are shown? What sports teams are listed? What areas of the school are shown?
- Where: Where were the pictures taken?
- When: When were the pictures taken?
- Why: Why would you want to buy a yearbook?
Additional Informative Text:
School Alma Matter
Yearbooks from previous years