October 18, 2008

In preparation for the upcoming elections, I have been encouraging my teachers to share read alouds that will build background knowledge of the process.  I have favorites:  If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier and Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio.  Both books have an author’s note that shares facts about the Electoral College and how it works.

9780807535448If I Ran for Presidentby Catherine Stier speaks to the reader in first person.  Each part begins with “If I ran for president…” and then proceeds to illustrate how he/she might be chosen as the political candidate, then campaign across the USA, and make speeches plus debates.  The characters change between male and female as well as different ethnic backgrounds.  The characters are children though, thus connecting with the students we work with.  It has such great voice. Catherine ends the book by saying, “And what would I do when I became president?  Well, that’s another story.”  I look forward to the next book in this hopeful series.  What a great way to grab a child’s interest and explain it in clearer terms than what they are hearing through the media.

Grace for Presidentby Kelly DiPucchio is set within a narrative structure.  Grace comes to school one day when her teacher rolls out a poster of all of the American presidents.  She is shocked to learn that there has never been a woman president.  After some reflection, Grace announces that she wants to be president. The story continues with the elementary holding an election.  Along with campaigning and speeches, the teachers assign students with a state and its number of electoral votes.  Students gain a better understanding of the electoral college system.  I love the ending.  Read the book to see what happens.