Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup: March 2013

For Women's History Month, I selected stories about strong, smart, spunky girls and women -- most of them real historical figures, but also a few modern fictional characters. Nearly all of the titles are appropriate for, say, grades 1-4. There wasn't much difference in reading level/complexity, and the subject matter didn't have notable violence, say, as some of the more challenging titles I've had before (Henry's Freedom Box, Your Move) do.

One of my prospective titles didn't arrive in time, but I do have a few on hand to fill in gaps for this purpose (they're left over from previous months now and again, or donations I've picked up) and one was a great fit! Be Who You Are is the story of a child who realizes that she feels more like a girl than a boy, and has supportive family members who help her transition gender at school and in the world. We've often talked about the different roles people have for boys and girls, issues of equality and fairness (kids feel this deeply!), and respect for others, so this picks up the topic at a more advanced level. I gave it to the 2nd-grade reader who really liked 10,000 Dresses.

I also donated 3 additional books for the 3 classrooms of 4th and 5th graders. They’re longer selections that weren't appropriate for Read Aloud, but will be great for chapter book readers or for a longer unit with the teacher another time.

The Woman in the Moon

by Tanya Lee Stone

First page: What would you do if someone told you...?
Why do you think Elizabeth liked Henry?
Why is it important to have the right to vote?

by David A. Adler

(before reading) Who in the class plays sports? Which sports? Anyone play baseball or softball?
(before reading) What do you do when you play baseball? What skills do you have to practice?
Everyone has jobs -- in this story Amy’s father is a soldier and her mama is a baseball player. What’s Amy’s job? What job(s) do you have? Why is that important?

The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz Legend
by Ann Ingalls & Maryann Macdonald

(before reading) What kind of music do you like to listen to? What instruments are in that music?
Does anyone in the class play an instrument? (perhaps the reader does...) If so, what do they do to practice? Is it fun? Is it hard?
What do you think about Mary’s technique for drowning out “bad sounds”? Can you use it? How else can you deal with people being rude or mean?

by Marissa Moss

Why did Ida like to go with her father in the boat? What did she have to do to get to go along?
How did Ida and the rest of the family help her father with his lighthouse job?
When she saw the boys sailing in the storm, why did Ida row out to their boat?
What does it mean to be brave? Why was Ida called The Bravest Woman in America?

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers
by Sarah Warren

Why was Dolores’s work important? What did she change?
Dolores was a teacher, a mother, and an activist. What are some of the roles you have? (student, daughter, friend, etc.) Does everyone you meet know all of those parts of you?

by Jennifer Carr

What are some examples of “being who you are” even when other people don’t always understand?
What do you wear / do that makes you feel good about yourself?
How do brothers and sisters (and friends, etc.) support each other?
How can you help other people feel good about themselves?

A Girl Named Dan
by Dandi Daley Mackall

(before reading) Does anyone in the class play sports? Which ones? How many boys like to play sports, and how many girls? What would be different if girls weren’t allowed to play?
Do you think it was fair that only boys could enter the contest? What would you have done in Dandi’s place?
Why did Dandi do what she did at the end of the story? What did it mean to her?

by Doreen Rappaport & Lyndall Callan

(before reading) Does anyone in the class play sports? Which ones? How many boys like to play sports, and how many girls? What would be different if girls weren’t allowed to play?
When you play sports, what do you wear? Have you ever run or played an outside game while wearing a skirt? What’s different about it than wearing shorts or pants?
Do you think we should have women’s professional baseball teams now? Why or why not?

That’s Not Fair!: Emma Tenayuca's Struggle for Justice
by Carmen Tafolla & Sharyll Tenayuca

What made Emma take action? Why did she do it?
Who helped her? Why did the factory owners eventually listen?
What can you do when you see something that is not fair?

4 / 5
I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote
by Linda Arms White

As Esther gets older and bigger, she can do more and more. What are some things you can do now that you couldn’t do last year or the year before?
Has someone ever told you that you couldn’t do something because you were too young, or because you were a boy, or a girl? How did you feel? Did you do it anyway? Why or why not? What happened?
Why is it important to have the right to vote?

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution
by Laurie Halse Anderson

(To save time and to keep the storyline going, you may want to read the main text all the way through, and also read the short profile sections of individual “dames” as the students express interest during or afterward. Make sure to let them know that the endnotes include a lot more information for later!)

Why do we talk about women in history, specifically? Why is it important?
Men are expected to be tough, especially if they’re soldiers. But war is hard for everyone! Everyone has to work hard and be strong during tough times. How did the women of the American Revolution stay tough? What kinds of work did they do?
What is something from the Revolutionary War that you want to know more about? How can you find out?

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