LOVE the layout and design, the size and spacing of the print, the just-right-amount of content, and the supporting photographs chosen for the Seedlings series by the publisher Creative Education. (Go to this link and you can “look inside” these books.) These books are perfect for reading aloud to kindergarten and first grade students – multiple times and then modeling how to identify the main topic and retell the main details (Common Core Reading Informational Text Standard 2). I think you could pick two titles within a group of subtopics in the series to compare – so Bulldozers and Diggers both by author Aaron Frisch or Elephants and Giraffes by Kate Riggs to “identify two basic similarities between two texts on the same topic” (CC RI.K.9). (I’m thinking “the same topic” would be “animals” or “construction machines.”)
The authors have included well designed, easily accessible text features – for example, a two-page spread of a bulldozerwith labels for its parts and a similar spread for other construction equipment as well as animals in the series. There is a table of contents, an index, and a glossary (termed “words to know”) in each book as well. The design choices make it easy to introduce these features to students and to teach them how to use the features to locate information (CC RI.1.5).
For both first and kindergarten students – I’d consider the following for instruction –
- Read aloud for the aesthetic appeal of the books, the enjoyment, student engagement.
- Reread aloud with the purpose for identifying the main topic and retelling key details from the book including you, the teacher, modeling (orally and in writing or sketching on a large piece of chart paper or the document camera or the Smart Board) how you might do this with one particular page or two-page spread.
- Asking and then coaching partners to think-pair-share (about details from a specific page that is projected or accessible visually to all students),
- Asking and then coaching students to respond independently – sketching, labeling, writing about the main topic and a key detail they learned.
- Putting these books in the classroom library for rereading by students or pairs of students or making these books part of a response center during guided reading.