One of the best way to teach a skill is with quality literature and the think aloud process. For struggling readers or all readers for that matter, the think aloud process demonstrates the "look fors" for our students and scaffolds their learning. Students often "check out" as they read or focus completely on fluency, but through think aloud, we are able to show students that connecting to the text is the goal of reading.
For this lesson, I chose the book, Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds. The gist of the story is that Nerdy Bird is not like the "cool" birds. He likes video games, playing Wormcraft, and reading. He is feeling excluded when he discovers that there are other nerdy birds just like him.
I love the subtle messages in this book such as, "Be Yourself, Treat Others with Respect, and Never Exclude Others." Aaron Reynolds uses author's craft to carry these messages throughout the plot.
To begin this lesson, I planned a schema builder on finding friends. Kids may be surprised to see how much they have in common with each other, and this is the starting point of friendship. By using this schema builder, students will connect with Nerdy Bird and better understand the author's message. Once this part is complete, it's time to instroduce the story vocabulary and directly teach author's craft "look fors". I used an anchor chart for this, and you can project it for group discussion. A printable copy can be placed in your student's language arts notebooks.
For the "we do" part of this lesson, I suggest that you share the book with stopping points for discussion. If you have an "Elmo" that you can project the book, that would work well as there is reference to the text features of the book. However, you can also walk around with the book or secure multiple copies for small group work. During reading, students will share their thoughts on word choice, illustrations, structure, theme, and connections which all contribute to the author's craft for the book.
Finally, as a summarizer for the lesson, I am used a response page for my students to explain the main idea of the story and evidence. With this part, you can focus on the author's message and theme as well.
To give you a little background on this book, I am including an interview with the author about the book. You will see why I love it so much. It is sure to be a classic like Stellaluna and Owl Moon.
To download the freebie for this book, you can click the image below.
For the FULL UNIT, you can click the unit cover below.
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