There’s something about April that makes me want to just do plants and insects for the entire month! I don’t want to teach about anything else! Luckily my little ones don’t seem to mind, as they love it just as much as I do! By this point in the school year, they are totally into non-fiction units, so I don’t have to worry if the content will be engaging or not. Watching their growth as researchers has been mind-blowing! They’re all in! Since we do a lot of non-fiction during the month of April, I tend to pair each topic with a fiction story that pairs nicely with it. Read on for my favorite read alouds for April!
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1. Tops and Bottoms
So I have to admit it, when I first came across Tops & Bottoms, I had never heard of this book before. It looked a little long and I didn’t know if it would hold the attention of my students. Oh was I wrong! The story is all about a bear and a hare, and let’s just say one of them is more clever than the other (I bet you can already guess who is who). One of them wants to work the land for food, and one of them wants to reap the benefits of the harvest! I add this book as a fiction component to our unit on plants.
I am a huge fan of the National Geographic non-fiction readers for little ones! Ants is another great publication that really brings ants to life for my students! Once again we dive back into research, and it’s so wonderful to see my students embrace science, even if they think seeing ants up close and personal on the page is kind of creepy! I was never really a fan of science as a student, and I think it was because it was never presented in an interesting way. Just lectures with maybe a fun experiment or two in between. This reader is anything but boring! It captivates my students, and they love to share what they’ve learned about ants!
3. Caterpillar to Butterfly
I think that caterpillars and butterflies happened to be the first big science unit that I decided to teach! To this day it remains a favorite of mine. Even if I cut out another unit, this one stays, along with my bees unit. Once again my go-to is the National Geographic Caterpillar to Butterfly. I love this unit so much that we normally spend two weeks on it! I have not ventured out in getting that butterfly kit, I don’t know if I can handle growing them at all! For now, we just learn all about the life cycle of a butterfly and more!
Learning about what causes thunder and lightning and how clouds are formed is just what my little ones love to learn about. We graph the weather every day, so actually taking the time to learn about it makes for an engaging unit! We utilize (you guessed it) the Nat Geo book on Weather. There are a few different versions of this reader and we use the Level 1 version of it. Once we begin our research, it helps that my students have a frame of reference from our own graphs, and can remember the characteristics of rainy days and sunny days. We’ve even been lucky to have had a few snowy days!
Read alouds bring topics and characters to life! Yes, students know about the weather, ants, butterflies and more, but there’s nothing like conducting research and watching their schema about these topics change and grow! The Literacy Diner is all about helping to create engaged learners through book companions! Head on over to check them out! You can find the books here, and the read alouds for April right here!