Just a Little Critter Collection by Mercer Mayer is a great collection with many character building stories. Little Critter teaches valuable lessons for young children. My favorite story is I Was So Mad. It teaches children how to cope with anger, and obedience.
Use in the classroom: I would use this in a reading center as a silent reading time. The students would have a character building week, and this would be the collection that they would read. They would read a different story every day for that week. They would talk about the story they read, and what lesson they learned from it.
Grade- End of kindergarten-1st
More Parts by Tedd Arnold is a book full of idioms such as: Give me your hand, hold your tongue, and this breaks my heart.
Use in the classroom: I would use this in the classroom to teach idioms. I would discuss with the students what idioms are, and why we use them. The students will write on a poster board some idioms that they have heard or used, then draw a picture describing what it would look like if the idiom were true, just like Tedd Arnold did in the book.
No, David! by David Shannon is about David always getting into things, breaking stuff, and not following the rules. All he ever hears is no, David! This story is based on the authors life as a kid.
Use in the classroom: I would use this in the classroom to teach a lesson about the importance of obedience. The will discuss the dangers of what David is doing on each page, and why he was told no.
Corduroy by Don Freeman is about a teddy bear in a toy store. One day a little girl walks in, and she wants the bear badly. The little girl's mom did not buy her the bear, because he was missing a button on his overalls. The little girl does not mind the missing button, so she saves up her own money to buy him. The bear looks for his button all over the store, but he cannot find it. The little girl ends up buying the bear exactly as he is.
Use in the classroom: I would use this in the classroom to teach parts of a book, such as theme, plot, point of view, setting, and character. The students would figure out the five parts of the book, then they would get into groups to create their own story using the same theme, but with different characters, point of view, setting. and plot.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a classic childrens' book about generosity, and unconditional love. The tree loves the little boy, and as he is growing up he needs more and more from the tree. The tree gives him all she can to make him happy. In the end, she runs out of things to give the boy, but her love for him lasts a lifetime.
Use in the classroom: I would read this in a small group with my ESL or ELL students. The students will be able to match the pictures with the words for a better understanding of the book.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is written and illustrated by William Steig includes words that may be unfamiliar to young children. Sylvester Duncan is a young donkey that is always looking for unusual pebbles to add to his collection. Sylvester finds a marble one day. Little does he know, it has magic powers. Sylvester is generous by thinking of everyone else's needs and wants. He knows that the magic pebble can get him anything they want. Sylvester runs into a hungry lion, and wishes he was a rock. His family is so upset when they can't find Sylvester. He learns that all his family really wanted was Sylvester.
Use in the classroom: I would use this in my classroom to teach context clues. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble has many unfamiliar words that students may not know. They will need to use context clues to figure out what the words mean in order to know what is going on in the story.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff is an adorable story about what happens when you give a mouse a cookie. It teaches a valuable lesson about the cause and effect of giving an inch, and taking a mile. Mouse is given a cookie, but then he needs milk. When he gets milk, he needs a straw. So forth, and so on.
Use in classroom: I would use this book in the classroom to teach children how to determine the cause and effect of a story. I would ask, "Mouse needs a milk, so that is the effect of what happens when he is given a cookie. The cause of Mouse needing milk is that he got a cookie, and he needs something wash it down. We know that cookies can sometimes make our mouths sticky, or dry."
My Deer Is a Dear by Mary Salzmann seems to be a really good book that is full of homophones. I plan on reading this book when I go to the library.
Use in classroom: I would use this book to teach homophones to my students. I would point out the first few homophones, then let the children point them out throughout the rest of the book.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Arcambault is a cute rhyming alphabet book. The letters of the alphabet are trying to reach the top of the coconut tree in alphabetical order.
Use in classroom: I would use this to teach the alphabet before the students learn how to spell. I would play the audiobook, because it has a cute song to help children remember the alphabet.
Grade- Beginning of Kindergarten.
Wonder by Raquel J. Palacio is about a young boy, August, who has a congenital facial abnormality. He has been home schooled his whole life until fifth grade. His parents decided that it is time for him for him to be put into public school. August has to cope with his deformity, and every day is a struggle for him. Despite other children bullying him, a girl befriends him. This girl changes his school experience for the better.
Use in classroom: I would use this in the classroom to teach the value of friendship, and get them prepared to send a positive message to someone who needs a friend. The students would draw August a picture, and write an encouraging letter to August.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is about Sam-I-Am who insists that his friend tries green eggs and ham. Everyone his friend goes, Sam-I-Am is right there with him begging him to try green eggs and ham. After multiple failed attempts to get his friend to try green eggs and ham, his friend caves in. His friend tries green eggs and ham, and he absolutely loves them.
Use in the classroom: I would read this book to the students on March 2, which is Dr. Seuss' birthday. After reading this book, the students will read a "The True Story Of Green Eggs and Ham" magazine by Scholastic News. The students will fill out a worksheet with questions about the article. After the students are finished with their worksheet, then the will make their own Dr. Seuss hat.
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin is about Pete discovering places in the school. Pete never stops rocking!
Use in the classroom: I would use this in my classroom on the first day of school. After we read this book, we will go around the school to discover the same places that Pete discovered. This will help the students become familiar with the school, and get rid of those first day jitters!
Who Was George Washington by Robert Edwards is a nonfictional book about our first president. This is a kid friendly book that teaches the true story of George Washington. It explains how he became president, and all of the important things he did for our country.
Use in classroom: I would use this book in the classroom to integrate social studies and reading. I would have a read-aloud, and we would create a timeline as we read to hang up on the wall. I would teach the nonfiction comprehension process as well.
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury is a cute twist on the original Three Little Pigs story. Instead of the wolf being the antagonist, it is the pig in this story. The wolves keep trying to build houses, but the big bad pig always destroys their home. In the end, the big bad pig befriends the wolves. The big bad pig realizes that he has been mean, and he feels bad about it.
Use in the classroom: I would use this story in the classroom to teach compare and contrast. I would read the original The Three Little Pigs, then read this version. The students would make a foldable, and fill out the columns "same, different, both". When the students are done with their foldable, they will come up with their own version of The Three Little Pigs.
The Mitten by Jan Brett is about a little boy who has two white mittens, but he loses one of them in the snow. His grandmother told him that when he comes home he better have both of his mittens with him. After he loses his mitten, animals one by one gather into his mitten.
Use in classroom: I would use this book in a small group to teach the process of questioning for comprehension.
One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish by Dr. Seuss is a story poem about different animals.
Use in classroom: I would use this book to teach poetry and rhymes. Students will identify rhymes, and create a list of rhymes that they can think of. The students will then create a poem using the words they came up with.
Grade- 1st or 2nd