• Jan MacWatters

Reading For Multiple Grades

As I spend the week talking with many parents that are struggling to figure out how on earth to teach a group of elementary aged children in various grades with different likes and dislikes, I sense the discomfort. Take a deep breath. You do not have to have something completely different for them all the time. This week, we'll look at a great book that can be a good read aloud for all elementary children, can be read by a child who has mastered basic reading skills and be a springboard to other activities for the upper elementary and even middle school grades.

The book is a bluebonnet book for this year, so highly recommended by TX Librarians. (check the link for further great reading ideas).

What do you do with a Voice Like That. A biography of Barbara Jordan and written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes.

But first, the TEKS, more commonly known as the essential knowledge and skills. If you've really started looking at the standards, as I know many of you have, you will see that they do not vary much from year to year. Your child needs time to practice all the skills throughout elementary school. They do not learn, then move on. Learning and practice is vital to improving and learning continues throughout the time spent in school.

You can check out the TEKS for yourself at any time.

Suggested goals for this book.

2nd grade ELA: listen actively, ask relevant questions to clarify information, and answer questions using multi-word responses; (2nd grade, ELA)

4th grade ELA :express an opinion supported by accurate information, employing eye contact, speaking rate, volume, enunciation, and the conventions of language to communicate ideas effectively; (4th grade ELA)

4th Grade SS: differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as technology; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about Texas; (4th grade Social Studies)

You can use the book to talk about books in general, biographies in particular, Famous Texans who have contributed to the history of TX and the difference between a primary and a secondary document.

Use the book to ask older children about the constitution and our form of government. Make sure they understand any new words. Barbara Jordan had a commanding voice but she also had a good vocabulary. (Here's a link to her speech about the impeachment of Nixon and the importance of the constitution.)

After reading the book together, or individually, have children create their own biography of a famous person. For a very young child, this can be a basic art lesson with sequencing. For older elementary children, have them use the internet, or an encyclopedia to read about a famous person that interests them. They can create a presentation, a google slide or try using any number of free software to create a timeline. Visme or even Trello is pretty easy to use for the upper elementary grades to create a timeline, but a paper, or a google slide show will all work. The goal is to get them to ask questions about other famous people, find the answers and create their own artwork or timeline to show that their understanding. Keep a variety of other fun books on hand for them to read when finished. End the lesson with a discussion about the importance of books, about famous people, about the artwork or about the most interesting thing they learned.

Good online dictionary for kids to practice using.

For middle school students, have them read the book to their siblings. (great time for a mini theatre lesson) and check out the Barbara Jordan Foundation for more information and ideas about public service.

Don't forget to ask your local school librarian or librarian about access to databases such as Encyclopedia Brittanica or other elementary databases. If you're home schooling, the public library most likely offers similar databases to the local schools, although they may not offer as many.

Enjoy learning about this icon of TX history.. and of course if you're ever in Austin Airport, check out her statue which dominates the entry area.

Nothing to it. Check back on Wednesday for the next blog about research skills for middleschoolers.

Disclaimer: I am not affilated in any way with the software that I recommend. I just think that they work well for the task at hand. Most are free, although some you can purchase a more advanced version if you choose. For the most part, it's not necessary to buy the full version for the primary level.


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