Planning ahead for Skill Modeling with Winter Literacy Resources

Planning ahead for the winter? Check out this post for book recommendations and teaching tips you can use in the coming months.
Winter days may be shorter and there may be days cancelled by snow, but winter also brings the opportunity for LOTS of wonderful literature options. Some of my favorite book choices are set in the winter, and I just love winter writing options. Today, I want to share some of my favorite winter reads and why I love them.

Brave Irene

Brave Irene is a classic winter read by William Steig. It's a great choice for teaching character change, problem and solution, visualizing, descriptive writing, writing about small moments, and word choice. Kids can connect to this book and share times they've had to be brave such as getting a tooth pulled or getting shots, riding a rollercoaster, or even going through a car accident. These are just a few ideas my students have shared as connections.

Unit Contents:
Making Predictions
Vocabulary Cards/Introduction Page
Story Elements
Retelling
Visualizing Using Text Evidence
Question Task Cards and Response Sheet
Brave Moments Writing
Prewriting Activity
Story Planner
Drafting and Publishing Pages

Jan Brett Author Study

Jan Brett's books are perfect for the winter months. Check out this post to learn more about this author study and the other great winter readers I recommend.
During the winter months, Jan Brett is a must. She has many winter reads including The Three Snow Bears, Annie and the Wild Animals, Trouble with Trolls, The Mitten (of course!), and The Hat. These five are great for the winter, but Jan Brett has many others too. If you enjoy using author studies, you might use the author's books to model reading skills (and there are many skills in these units), wet your students' appetites for reading other books by the author, and provide your students with "featured books" in your classroom library.  When selecting authors to feature, be sure they have enough books published to be able to share some in lessons and recommend others for follow up reading.The Jan Brett bundle in my shop is comprehension and writing focused and includes materials for eleven titles PLUS a culminating activity (lapbook) about all of her books. The titles included in this bundle are featured in the image to the left. To learn more, just click it. 

Owl Moon

If you need a descriptive writing mentor text, Owl Moon is one to add to your list. This book companion includes comprehension work as well as materials for writing. Owl Moon is a classic for all readers.
Another descriptive winter read is Owl Moon. Jane Yolen's book may have been around a while, but the story certainly still current and perfect for the middle grades. If you're teaching figurative language, tying in this book is a great choice. It also works well for descriptive writing. You might select certain scenes and sentences within the paragraph as mentor sentences showing how word choice makes a difference in what we as readers visualize. 

Comprehension skills include:
prereading schema building
story elements
comparing realistic fiction to nonfiction
summarizing
author's craft
figurative language
sequencing
author's purpose
questioning (test)
owl research
and writing options.

Snowflakes Fall

Snowflakes Fall is a beautiful book that eloquently describes the uniqueness of snowflakes and children. It's a wonderful mentor text for descriptive writing. Check out this post for great winter reads.
Patricia Maclachlan hasn't written a ton of children's books, but I do love all that she has. Snowflakes Fall is a simple descriptive text written as an analogy comparing snowflakes to the children lost in the Sandy Hook school shooting. It is a beautiful tribute to each of the little souls we lost that day, and I find myself tearing up every time I read it,  but here's the thing. The words chosen for each sentence were chosen with purpose. If you are sharing it with young children, you certainly don't need to share the back story. 

The unit I created for this book includes the following skills: 
1. Schema building
2. Story Vocabulary
3. Visualizing (2 pages)
4. Figurative Language
5. Sequencing
6. Questioning
7. Writing in Response to Reading
8. Making Comparisons
9. Writing Prompt (Poetry or Descriptive writing...5)

Polar Animal Close Reads


The final collection I want to share are informational articles (close reads) that you can pair with fictional stories about bears, penguins, deer, the arctic fox, and walruses. Titles you might include are Tacky the Penguin, Bear Books by Karma Wilson, Tusk Trouble, Ice Bear and Little Fox, and Wild Christmas Reindeer. We know pairing fiction and nonfiction helps students compare/contrast text features, expands knowledge about the animals (habitat, etc), and helps students work on writing in different formats. This bundle is great for the winter. Check out all that's included:


All about Walruses Close Reading
All about Polar Bears Close Reading
Let's Learn about Penguins Close Reading
All about Caribou Close Reading
Arctic Fox Close Reading
Polar Animals Research Paper Bag BooK

Winter Book Bundle:

One easy way to plan for the months ahead is with bundles. I put together poetry sets, partner plays, and my favorite winter book units into a bundle. Check out all that is included in this one: 
2 Magic Treehouse Units by Mary Pope Osborne
(Blizzard of the Blue Moon and Eve of the Emperor Penguin)
Snowflake Bentley (lapbook unit)
Owl Moon
Snow
Snowflakes Fall
Brave Irene
2 Partner Plays
and my Winter Poetry Bundle

Winter Freebies from My Shop:

          

Subscriber Exclusive Freebie:




Pin for Later:

If you're trying to plan ahead, check out this post for great books and ideas for winter months. Freebies included too.

 

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