Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why do we all wear green on St. Patrick's Day? An explanation at last.

      Here's some early good news for March.
      Why do we all wear green socks on St. Patrick's Day, even when we're from anywhere and everywhere else on the planet?
      Now teachers can read Why Wear Green On St. Patrick's Day with their class and find out.

      You can read the story to your students from a classic KBN on-paper book, which of course you can download and print for free for your entire class. Or you can read it all together up on your classroom wall, directly from your computer and a projector, in our new KBN flashbook reading format.
      A complete standards-based lesson plan – you'll find it on the Why Wear Green book page – comes with this timely picture book as well, and together they make a very special learning experience for children of all ages.  
      What more can we say at a moment like this? Erin go bragh! 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's face it. There's nothing more fun than reading a story you wrote yourself.

      The whimsical new KBN book The Metal Detector, by Amsterdam illustrator Linda Lee, is an exceptional literary project by any measure.
      First because it tells a story that doesn't need any words, almost like a classic silent movie.
      But then because there are no words in the book – the artist's dog, apparently, ate the original story – the KBN reader is invited to develop the story on his or her own, then write their personal word version of the story directly into the book.
      Each book and story becomes unique, and young readers can learn to be better writers by working together in reading groups to share their story ideas.

      The best way to begin, and to introduce this book and story to the class, is probably with a new KBN flashbook reading, projected on a whiteboard wall or projection screen directly from our KBN site shown on a classroom computer. You can show the KBN flashbook to the entire class at once, read it all together, and discuss what's happening in the cinematic flow of Linda Lee's delightful images, and even model as you read some of what your students might later want to write about.
      A small line of metatext on each page is there to help, by suggesting to the reader some elements of the story they might need to explain. In your class discussion you can come up with more ideas and questions together as well, and then write them all on a chalkboard. Classifying the questions is another good way to help young readers understand the essentials of story and character development, establishing motivations, and arriving at logical outcomes, in a way they can use in their independent writing later.
       Finally, after some class discussion, your students can print out and form compact, on-paper minibook copies of  The Metal Detector, one for each student, and let each reader/writer compose their own final version of the story and write it directly into their own personal copy of the book.
      Whether you're reading the story without words or writing a story with your own new words, The Metal Detector adds a wonderful new work to the KBN library of free books for every child in the world.