Planning ahead for Skill Modeling with Winter Resources

If you're trying to plan ahead, check out this post for great winter resources and literature suggestions to make planning easy and effective. Great freebies included.

Winter days may be shorter and there may be days cancelled by snow, but winter also brings the opportunity for LOTS of wonderful winter 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 resources and why I love them.

Winter Literature Ideas:

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.

  • 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
If you're trying to plan ahead, check out this post for great winter resources and literature suggestions to make planning easy and effective. Great freebies included.

Jan Brett Books:

During the winter months, Jan Brett is a must. She has many winter reads including The Three Snow BearsAnnie and the Wild AnimalsTrouble with TrollsThe Mitten (of course!), and The HatThese five are great for the winter, but Jan Brett has many others too. If you enjoy using author studies, you might use these books to model reading skills, 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:

Another descriptive winter resource 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 Included:

  • prereading schema building
  • story elements
  • comparing realistic fiction to nonfiction
  • summarizing
  • author’s craft
  • figurative language
  • sequencing
  • author’s purpose
  • owl research
  • questioning and writing

Snowflakes Fall:

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.

Skills Included:

  • Schema building
  • Story Vocabulary
  • Visualizing (2 pages)
  • Figurative Language
  • Sequencing
  • Questioning
  • Writing in Response to Reading
  • Making Comparisons
  • Descriptive Writing

Winter Resources for Close Reading:

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, 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 Resources Bundle:

One easy way to plan for the months ahead is with bundles. I put together poetry sets, partner plays, and my favorite winter literature 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

Free Winter Resources from My Shop:

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If you're trying to plan ahead, check out this post for great winter resources and literature suggestions to make planning easy and effective. Great freebies included.


Carla is a licensed reading specialist with 27 years of experience in the regular classroom (grades 1, 4, and 5), in Title 1 reading, as a tech specialists, and a literacy coach. She has a passion for literacy instruction and meeting the needs of the individual learner.