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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Iowa Goldfinch Award Reading Lesson One

I told my k-2 kiddos when they came in today that January and February were my favorite two months of picture books. The second graders nodded knowingly; the first graders cheered when I said the word "Goldfinch" and the kindergarteners left looking forward to the next time I see them.

Reading the Goldfinch nominated titles gives the kids (and me) such a great experience with some of the best, current picture books out there. They serve as a springboard for art projects, website and author exploration, reading strategy practice, great talks about books, and a lot of laughter! To introduce the students to the award, I used the same approach with each grade, but differentiated for each level. Here's an overview:

Kindergarten
When they came in, I showed them a picture of a Goldfinch, and we talked about the state bird of Iowa. I then talked to them about what the Goldfinch Award was and what it meant for them. We talked about voting and how THEY were going to help choose the winner for the state of Iowa.

I told them for practice, we were going to look at the winners from the last three years, talk about what we liked about them, and then vote on our favorite of the day.  First, we read I Feel a Foot by Maranke Rinck. Kids immediately were participating in the guessing game of the book and exclaiming over the wonderful details. At the end, kids talked to a partner and then to the class about why the book would have gotten their vote (this is a great opportunity to ask kids to explain their thinking and offer support). We repeated this again with Boss Baby by Marla Frazee and Dewey There's a Cat in the Library by Vicki Myron. I ended the talk about Dewey with the IPTV clip about Dewey. It is a short three minutes and the kids LOVE seeing the real Dewey. In the end, I had the kids vote on their favorite. I keep a tally on the board of the different classes' votes so they can see how their votes matter in the end.

Previous Goldfinch Winners
First Grade
Previously nominated books
First grade has had experience with the Goldfinch books from the previous year, so I spent the first few minutes reviewing the Goldfinch Award and why it was important. As I did, there were several requests to read favorites. There are so many wonderful books in the past years, that we decided to take advantage of this. I show them the pile of past nominated books and I tell them we are going to read one together, and they will read one with a partner.  After I read one to them, we talk about reviewing the book and how as we read these Goldfinch books, we will have to think about what the winner will need to have, and we will need to think about what is important to us as readers. So after reading the first one we rate in on 1-5 stars and talk about it. Then, I had them tell me some words and phrases to add to our chart about what Goldfinch Books should have (see picture below). Then I pair the kids up and have them take a Goldfinch nominated book from the past and read it with a partner. When they are finished, they rate the book on a simple review sheet and turn the book and the review sheet in. More often than not, there is a request to check out the book!
Goldfinch chart

Second Grade
Second graders followed a similar format to first grade. They had a more complex review sheet and added a word or phrase to our Goldfinch chart on their own. See an example below. This review sheet asked them to identify the beginning, middle and end of their book, as well as rate it. I got the top part of this review sheet from Rachel Lynette in Teachers Pay Teachers (thank you Rachel!) and added the bottom half myself.
Review sheet
One of the best things about this lesson is seeing how the kids progress in their interactions with the book from grade to grade. It highlights one of the best things about my job as a teacher librarian. I am able to work with them for many years. Not to mention, work with them with these fantastic Goldfinch nominated books!

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