Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top 10 Plant Books for Emergent Readers

Who doesn't love the Plant Unit.  There are so many activities to do with students to truly engage their learning.  Students should be touching and planting and sorting and experiencing plants.  From growing seeds in a glove to growing grass in a cup..AND books are the best compliment to that unit.

Here are my Top 10 Books.

1. The Tiny Seed

There is no end to my love for Eric Carle and "The Tiny Seed."  There is so much in this beautiful book that can be AND SHOULD BE shared with students at all levels.  Not just lessons of plant parts and what a plant needs, but also lessons of what can help the plant and what can hurt the plant.  Lessons on birth and death and rebirth.  There are obvious connections to science, but this book lends itself to great lessons in math.

2. Growing Vegetable Soup

This book is great in it's simplicity.  Some students have never imagined growing their own soup.  Soup comes out of a can.  This idea is exciting to them.  Go with it.  While introducing this book to a class I asked, "Does soup grow on plants?"  One boy looked at my sweetly and said, "Oh Mrs. Collier, I think you are so silly.  Soup doesn't grow on plants, real soup grows at the store."  Oh, if it was that easy.  This is another great book to revisit when you need to discuss fractions.  They cut the vegetables into pieces...and make "real" fractions.

3. Eating the Alphabet

Mmmmm...along the lines of "Growing Vegetable Soup," this is a fun book to introduce students to some fruits and vegetables they've never seen before.  

4. Planting a Rainbow

This book shows all the colors of the rainbow in the plant world.  Ask parents, grandparents, community members to send in magazines (Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping).  Build a rainbow in your room with their cut-out pictures.  They can write about colors and plants.

5. Flower Garden

This is one of my favorite books for teaching drawing conclusions, predicting, and inferring.  Throughout the book you wonder why they are buying the materials for a plant box.  It also shows a garden in a unique place...a window sill.  Most students have never thought of gardens like this.  They can write about what flowers they'd plant in their window...and why.  

6. The Apple Pie Tree

You may have introduced this book in the fall.  It's the perfect book to show the changes of the seasons.  I also LOVE the illustrations...Shari Halpern is amazing.  That being said, revisit the book!  Reintroduce the book.  Show them the book again and ask them to look at the book with a different set of eyes.  

7. It's Pumpkin Time!

This is another revisit!  Don't put the pumpkin book away in November...just transfer it to the plant bucket in your classroom library.  When they see it a second time, they pay attention to the plant life cycle not just the pumpkin becoming a Jack O'Lantern.

8.  Tops and Bottoms

This book is another discussion about where food grows.  They are quick to tell you they would NEVER eat roots or leaves or flowers for that matter.  Oh, how surprised they are!  They are delighted that Bear is tricked by Hare, as well. 

9.  I'm a Seed

This is a cute book about 2 seeds;  a marigold and a mystery seed.  As the book progresses students will see how different the plants are and start predicting what is growing.  This is also a wonderful easy reader that can be tackled by young students.  

10. If You Plant a Seed

Before I read the book I knew I would love it.  How can you not love a book written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson?  I was able to meet him a few years ago at a conference and he is as generous to teachers at conferences as he is to students reading his books.  This book goes far beyond the life cycle of a plant.  He wants students to know sharing with your community always provides a greater reward than imagined.  The students were captured by the story and I even had someone gasp at the aftermath of the struggle.  "Oh no, what will happen now?"  Exactly what we want our students to ask...if we don't share, what will happen? 

These are my suggestions.  I hope you enjoy the books, but more than that I hope they inspire and capture the heart and minds of your students.

If you'd like a Sampler Set for my new TPT set, All About Plants, CLICK HERE!

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