Heading back to school can be tough for everyone involved. New routines, schedule changes, and demands can often make kids a little sad, nervous, and confused. Thanks to this, it is often nice to do some items that will help you to bond in individual and group sessions with the children you are working with.
Books to Break the Ice
Reading stories with children is a wonderful way to ease into the school year. Books are a great way to learn about people, places, and new things. In addition to this, books also allow expansion of language, skills, and vocabulary. When talking about items in a book, we can model speech, practice sequencing, and an array of other goals that each child may be working toward. Think outside of the book and make up games, crafts, and other items to go along with each of the book that you select to read. Often times a session will inspire future lessons based on the reaction from the story. Do not forget to utilize book walks when reading aloud. This strategy is excellent for working on predictions, answering questions, and building confidence when speaking.
Story Ideas for the New School Year
There are countless classic stories and many newer books that will work very nicely for the start of the school year. The list below is just some suggestions that would work for a variety of age groups.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn – Chester the Raccoon is upset about leaving his mother until she introduces him to a touching way to keep in touch with her.
- Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean – Pete the Cat sings his song and takes us along to new places in his school.
- If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff – Rather than giving mouse a cookie, mouse goes to school in a similar tale.
- How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? by Jane Yolen – The familiar dinosaurs go over how dinosaurs behave and what they do when they are in school.
- Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London – Froggy’s zany antics and fun energize children and give them fun sounds to repeat while reading along.
Check with other teachers in your building, the library, or local book store for additional ideas. If you are working with children in a specific grade, there are many stories that focus on this, especially for children in kindergarten. Also think about coordinating with others to add crafts or other extensions to the book if you are unable to within your time.
Do not forget that sharing is caring. Write a note to all of the families and share the titles of the books that you suggest they utilize at home. If books are available in other languages, let multilingual families know about them. Share resources that may help them to make a fresh start for the new school year.