In the first week of February, celebrations include World Read Aloud Day, Children’s Mental Health Week and Chinese New Year.
Readilearn has lessons ready to assist you with each of these celebrations.
World Read Aloud Day
First up is World Read Aloud Day on 1 February—today! The day aims to encourage people everywhere to “read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right that belongs to all people“.
Perhaps no one knows better than teachers of young children the importance of reading aloud. Children who come to school having been read to at home have the advantage of more extensive vocabularies and proficiency with language, greater general knowledge and interest in the world around them, and an interest in books and learning. These advantages contribute to success in school and life.
Making time for reading aloud in a busy class program is a priority for teachers of children in their first three years of school. Opportunities occur in every subject area, and it is not difficult to find ways of working a few extra stories into the program. Why not use World Read Aloud Day as an excuse to read a few more books than usual (as if an excuse is needed).
If you are unsure where to start selecting, visit the library and ask the librarian for suggestions, or take the class with you and ask them to each choose a book they’d like to hear.
Five of my favourite picture books (of which there are hundreds so impossible to list) are:
- Koala Lou by Mem Fox
- Where’s My Teddy by Jez Alborough
- The Very Blue Thingamajig by Narelle Oliver
- Circle by Jeannie Baker
- One Less Fish by Kim Michelle Toft
Of course, books perfect for reading aloud to young children, are not only picture books. Children love listening to longer stories and using their imaginations to visualise events. They love to experience the development of character and plot that occurs from chapter to chapter and eagerly await each session.
Five of my favourite chapter books (of which there are many so impossible to list) for reading aloud to young children are:
- The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The BFG by Roald Dahl
- Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
- Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
readilearn read aloud resources
Responding to the Iron Man by Ted Hughes suggests reading aloud the introduction to The Iron Man and using it as a stimulus for discussion and writing.
Author Spotlight and Illustrator Spotlight: Any of the books highlighted through these author and illustrator interviews are on the readilearn recommended list, including the chapter books by Rebecca Johnson and Karen Tyrrell.
While not strictly a read aloud, Storytelling with Michael Rosen’s Chocolate Cake is another great way of engaging children with language and story.
Children’s Mental Health Week
Next up is Children’s Mental Health Week from 4 – 10 February. The purpose of the week is to encourage children to look after their bodies and their minds. A positive classroom environment that is both welcoming and supportive helps to ensure children stay happy with healthy mental attitudes. A positive classroom supports the development of self-esteem, self-confidence and the development of social skills including getting along with others.
A focus on developing social-emotional skills during mental health week provides opportunities for reading books and engaging children in activities that are conducive to positive attitudes.
readilearn resources promote mental health
Self-esteem and confidence
Books to support your teaching around mental health
The post by Kathy Hoopmann Teaching children with ASD — ideas for the classroom presents ideas and resources to help teachers when working with children with ASD or other issues.
The Song Bird Superhero series by Karen Tyrrell is also useful for discussing empowerment, self-confidence and being true to yourself.
Other books with themes relevant to mental health were also featured in the readilearn Author and Illustrator Spotlight series; including:
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year celebrations begin on 5 February, marking the first day of the Chinese calendar. The day is celebrated in China and many Chinese communities around the world. This year 2019 is the year of the Pig.
readilearn resources for celebrating Chinese New Year
Be sure to check out the free resources for celebrating Chinese New year in the readilearn collection; including:
And the interview with Sofia Goodsoul about her picture book Nian the Lunar Dragon.
This year, the year of the pig is said to be a year of joy and friendship for everyone. Let’s make it so in our classrooms and beyond.
readilearn: teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
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