For this coming school year, I’ve decided to plan WAY ahead. Hence, I’m working on back to school plans and it’s the first of July. Last year, I created a personal goal to create a literacy rich autism classroom. I used to be daunted by read alouds in my classroom because sometimes they were a total flop and threw the kids off. When I started to create a daily routine of completing structured and routine literacy lessons, reading books during transitions, and basically exposing my students to a variety of literature throughout the day and in each center, read alouds slowly became one of my favorite activities to do with my students. I researched each book before we read it to ensure the length and set-up was appropriate for my learners, and I always tried to “adapt” the materials to create a more interactive experience versus “teacher reads” and “students listen.” Once I got into this routine of planning for a literacy-rich classroom, my students also began engaging more during stories and behavior wasn’t an issue during these group read activities. My students developed opinions about the books we read and had favorites they wanted to hear again and again.
For this three part series, I am going to share with you the picture books I plan to use in the first three weeks of school. Some books will be used during our literacy group time to work on comprehension skills and some books are just for fun and perfect for transitions. I also have a few favorites I like to use to teach those very important school norms that our students need to practice right off the bat to ensure they do not get in the routine of making poor choices.
My district goes back to school the last full week of August, so we will be focusing on “Back to School” topics for the first three weeks of school, and then we will dive right into Apples (book list coming)!
Here is how I grouped my themes for those first 3 weeks back for my classroom:
Week 1: All About School
These books focus on school supply vocabulary, people and places at the school, as well as school actions and rules.
Week 2: Animals at School
These books focus on different animals going to school. I like to do a lot of pictographs with this unit, to give students a chance to voice their opinions. For example, “Do you think Pigs should be allowed to go to school?” or “If we allowed one animal to come to school, what should it be?” These books are fun and lighthearted!
Week 3: ABC’s, 123’s, Colors & Shapes
I have a lot of young learners in my classroom, so during this short week due to Labor Day, we review these topics through fun books and activities.