How to Read a Book

Last week, in our first four days of school, I read about three books each day aloud to my third graders. We started the week with Mo Willems’s The Pigeon Has to Go to School which was a great way to kick off a love of books and reading for the year. That same day we also read We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins. We wrapped that day up with School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson (one of my FAVORITE illustrators). (Looking at this list now I’m a little pained by how all three books were written by white men. That isn’t meeting my goals for sharing books with my students.)

On Thursday, our last day of the week, I read them How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. It is a beautiful book, both in text and in pictures.

I was concerned that the book might not hold my students’ interest as it is a fairly sophisticated poem. The language is beautiful and I love reading it. But I’m not a third grader.

My students were rapt as I read it. (I’d like to think my read aloud skills are just so strong but I’m pretty sure Kwame Alexander and Melissa Sweet deserve the credit.) When the book ended some of them clapped. Of the dozen or so books we read last week, this was the only one that got applause. It has now made it on to my list of books I will return to again and again this year as mentor texts.

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