Second Annual Picture Book Month Celebration

 

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Tis the season to celebrate the things that bring us together and give us joy – and for our community here at St. Anne’s-Belfield school, picture books are at the top of that list! Every year, the international reading community comes together during the month of November to celebrate Picture Book Month. This unofficial holiday gives teachers, authors, illustrators, and readers the chance to enjoy and share their favorite picture books, and help to pass that passion on to younger readers.

In the Learning Village Library, we gathered for our second annual Picture Book Month Celebration, one of my favorite activities of the year. Kindergarten and first grade students gathered in the library with sixth grade buddies and enjoyed picture book read-alouds and a story-themed craft.

IMG_5921For the little ones, the fun all took place in one day; but for our sixth grade readers, their preparation started more than a month ago. Mr. Passmore and I collaborated on a picture book and read-aloud unit during 6th grade library time, asking students to dive deeper into the books that they loved when they were little, and to consider picture books from a teachers’ perspective. With standards like fluency and comprehension in mind, we asked students to consider, why are picture books important? How do these special stories make you feel? What about that do you want to share? And how can you use a story that is special to you, to light a spark in a developing reader?

Sixth graders carefully combed through our picture book shelves to choose the perfect book to share with their buddies. Not too short, not too long, not too silly, not too serious… many tried four or five titles before they found just the right one. Other readers immediately remembered a book that was meaningful to them when they were in kindergarten or first grade, and brought their beloved title in from home. Next, the IMG_6035students listed what makes a good read aloud – they suggested things like tempo, expression, developing character, volume, joy, thoughtful questions, and a practiced and confident reader – and worked to bring those components into their performance. Students practiced in the library with stuffed animals or classmates, in their advisories, or at home.

When the celebration came, it was clear – their practice paid off! Readers were confident, joyful, and prepared. The sparkle and excitement that they brought to their specially chosen stories made the day even more magical for kindergarten and first grade students. I love sharing stories with my students, but like most teaching, the real joy comes in watching my students take what they have learned and use it to help and inspire others. Reading for pleasure takes on a whole different meaning when you can use a story that means something to you to make someone else laugh, sigh, or beg for more. I was so proud watching and listening as sixth graders brought their stories to life for their buddies. Make sure to head over to the library before Winter Break to check out the Picture Book Month display created from student artwork.

IMG_6108Great job, sixth graders. It is a delight watching you rediscover picture books through the eyes of mentors and teachers! I love watching you act as role models and teachers to our lucky younger students. I hope that you will continue to share your favorite stories and love of reading with the young readers in your lives.

Check out the photos above to see some of my favorite moments from our second annual Picture Book Month Celebration. Read more about Picture Book Month, and other awesome celebrations like ours taking place all over the world, here. See a great write up and more adorable photos from St. Anne’s-Belfield here. Stop by the library before Winter Break to check out the picture book-themed art that student teams created!

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