It’s Back to School We Go

Bibliographic Information: Jackson, E., & Ellis, J. D. (2003). It’s Back to School We Go: First Day Stories From Around the World. Brookfield, Conn: Millbrook Press.

Brief Annotation: Each page features a child’s first-person perspective on what the first day of school entails and is like in his or her country. Factual bullet points are included throughout. They provide additional information about school structures, routines, settings, etcetera are like in various countries and cultures throughout the world. This book provides wonderfully diverse perspectives about how schools operate across societies and allows students not only to connect with the diverse characters in the story, but it also allows students to compare and contrast their own school experiences with those presented in the story.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-3

Reader who will like this: English Learners would thoroughly enjoy this story, as it celebrates diversity. I feel as though any elementary student would like this story, especially within the first few days of schools. Students interested in learning about other cultures would find this culturally relevant story appealing. English Learners may feel more comfortable about sharing their own experiences with native classmates after reading this story. They also likely would not feel like as much of an outsider having seen and read about diverse cultural perspectives centered on the first day of school.

Rating/Response: 4 – This book creatively discusses the similarities and differences between schools worldwide. This book could easily be used for comparing and contrasting what schools are like across societies, global awareness, and numerous extension activities are possible in correlation with the diverse information presented within the story.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you do to get ready for the first day of school? What do you do at school on this special day? For those of us who have attended school in a different country, what was that experience like for you? How does it differ than your experience here in America?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: What a wonderful book to begin the year with! This book would be especially great in a diverse classroom setting. Highlighting and celebrating cultural differences is highly important. Doing so in a matter that directly relates to school and what school is like in other cultures can be insightful for students in the primary grades, ultimately making them more understanding and aware.

Posted by: Emma Henke

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Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School

Amelia Bedelia's first day of school

Bibliographic Information: Parish, H., & Avril, L. (2009). Amelia Bedelia’s first day of school. New York: Greenwillow Books.

Brief Annotation: The first day of school is always filled with many adventures, Amelia Bedelia’s first day of school is filled with adventures that can get her into some bit of trouble.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Children who like to read about the first days of school, children who like color and funny stories.

Rating/Response: 4- This is a good book with great illustrations that portray a fun school environment.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What crazy things have you done on your first day of school?

Reading Strategy: First Days 

Rationale for Strategy: Sometimes kids are very excited about beginning school, and this book shows how sometimes too much excitement can get them in trouble, it is a great way to introduce rules and safety in the classroom.

Posted by: Yesenia Corral

Splat the Cat

Splat the cat

Bibliographic Information: Scotton, R. (2008). Splat the cat. New York: HarperCollins

Brief Annotation: First days of school are always scary, Splat the cat was nervous for his first day at school! He finds out that school isn’t so bad after all.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Children who like funny stories; who like stories about feelings and friendships.

Rating/Response: 4- This is a great book that helps students get id of first day jitters.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What did you feel on your first day of school?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: This book is about Splat the Cats first day of school and hos feelings before school, it is a great book to read to students who are nervous about school.

Posted by: Yesenia Corral

It’s Back to School We Go!

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Bibliographic Information: Jackson, Ellen, and Jan Davey Ellis. It’s Back to School We Go: First Day Stories from around the World. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook, 2003. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book is about eleven difference children from all over the world’s first day of school. The children are from Canada, United States, Peru, Germany, Kenya, Kazakhstan, India, Russia, China, Japan, and Australia. The stories of their first days are different from one another and the greetings are all in their own language.

Grade Level: K-4

Readers who will like this: Children who are willing to learn about different cultures and about other children around the world.

Rating/Response: 5 This book is a great read because it shows a little bit about the different schoolings in each country. This is great to teach diversity and what other kids their age do at school.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you think other children your age around the world do at school?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: This book would be great for teaching on the first day because all the stories in the book are stories about the children’s first day of school. This will show how children’s the same age do at their school.

Posted by: Lisa Lor

Frog and Toad Are Friends

Bibliographic Information: Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1970. Print.

Brief Annotation: This is a collection of five short stories of the friendship between Frog and Toad.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Students who enjoy stories of friendship; students who like short stories; students who like animals.

Rating/ Response: 4 – Excellent, easy-to-read short stories that develop reading skills. The stories are cute and talk about friendship in an accessible and creative way.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Describe your best friend/ideal best friend – how do they treat you when you’re in trouble? What do you do with them? etc.

Reading strategy: Making Connections

Rationale for strategy: I used this book to teach a first grade lesson on activating prior knowledge on the topic of friendship. Friendship isn’t necessarily a content standard for any year of school, but learning how to be a good friend in school with other students is an important social concept to be taught. This is an especially good idea for the first few days of school as well.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

Alphabet Under Construction

Bibliographic Information: Fleming, Denise. Alphabet under Construction. NY, NY: Henry Holt and, 2002. Print.

Brief Annotation: This story is about a mouse who works on each letter of the alphabet; he completes a variety of tasks to get them “ready.”

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: This story will be enjoyed by students who are learning the letters of the alphabet – it presents them in a new and exciting way.

Rating/ Response: 3 – This book was eye catching but it didn’t have much content other than the letters and phrases for each one.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Who can name all 26 letters of the alphabet?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: This book provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce the letters and have students practice the sounds each makes. Students can practice knowledge they already know or prepare themselves for an upcoming lesson.

Posted by: Katie de St. Aubin

Wemberly Worried

Bibliographic Information: Henkes, K. (2000). Wemberly worried. New York: Greenwillow Books.

Brief Annotation: Wemberly worries about everything – small things, big things, everything in between. She begins nursery school with an extreme amount of worry but learns to overcome that with a new friend.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Children who like animals as main characters, children who worry about facing new things.

Rating/Response: 4 – This story has cute characters and fun illustrations, and is especially relateable for young students.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What is something you’re worried about as you begin this school year? What is something you are excited about?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: It can be used for younger students’ first experiences in school, and offers the opportunity to discuss worries for the year openly and free of judgment.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

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Bibliographic Information: Adams, Pam. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. Auburn, ME: Child’s Play (International), 1999. Print.

Brief Annotation: This story is about an old lady who swallows a fly and then proceeds to swallow countless more animals to catch the previous one!

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Students who possess a strong sense of imagination will enjoy reading this book. It leaves room for interpretation and allows them to even reenact in person as well.

Rating/Response: 4 – This story is very funny and will definitely keep the students interested and intrigued throughout.

One question you will ask before a read aloud: Why do we think the old lady swallowed a fly?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: I think this book is humorous and would be a great book to start with a class – it could even turn into a skit and students could perform.

Posted By: Katie de St. Aubin

A Fine, Fine School

Bibliographic Information: Creech, Sharon, and Harry Bliss. A Fine, Fine School. New York: Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins Pub, 2001.

Brief Annotation: Tillie’s principal, Mr. Keene, loves school and learning so much that he decides to hold school on Saturdays, then full weekends, and holidays and summer. In the end, Tillie convinces him that time away from school offers learning opportunitites as well.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: I feel any student would enjoy and identify with this book. Children who like exaggerated situations and the humor that arises from them will especially like it.

Rating/Response: 4 This book is very funny and presents the opportunity to talk about school rules that are realistic and some that are not so helpful.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: How many of you love school so much you wish we had it every day? Why or why not?

Reading Strategy: Social Studies, First Days

Rationale for Strategy: This books introduces the civics concepts of rules, rights, and responsibilities, which are Social Studies standards.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

Back-to-School Rules

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Bibliographic Information: Murfin, Teresa. (2011). Back-to-School Rules. Minnesota: Carolrhoda.

Brief Annotation: Percy thinks he knows all the rules, and he will tell you exactly what not to do.

Genre: Children’s book

Grade Level: K-4

Readers who will like this: Children who like funny stories.  Children who are learning about school rules.

Rating/Response: 5 This book is very cute; it will make students laugh.  The illustrations are wonderful, and it is a great introduction to classroom rules.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Who can tell me one rule that we need to follow at school?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: This book is an excellent way to introduce classroom rules.

Posted by: Emily Busch