David Ezra Stein creates a simplistic text that creates wonder about the changing seasons in his book Leaves. This book is an excellent read for young children, especially kindergarten and first grade.
The innocence of the child resonates as a young bear notices his surroundings are beginning to do something he has not experienced before. “Everything was going well until the first leaf fell.” The bear begins to wonder about he leaves. Why are they leaving the trees? “Are you okay?” he asks the leaf that has fallen. I can just imagine a young child thinking the same.
David continues to illustrate the curiosity of the bear. The bear has an inquisitive look on its face, with a two page spread of only illustrations, no words. He emphasizes how a child will observe and wonder and explore through these illustrations. His text reminds me of a child trying to problem solve.
I think it’s important to show older students simpler texts that are crafted well. They often believe that they have to write lots – more and more and more – to show that they are good writers. Instead, we need to be cautious about expecting that our students are writing well. Teach them how to use their words wisely.
Savorings for reading and in writing for Leaves:
- Science connection – hibernation; season cycle (summer to spring)
- Prepositional Phrases – “In the spring, with wide eyes, he woke.“
- Character thinking
- introduction to Ellipses – “Then… a red one“
Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur creates images through acrostic poetry. He has written single page scenes using the first letter of the central theme. Unlike a simple one word or phrase for each letter, Steven creates sentences interweaving with the letters. ACORN: A single seed; Can feed a squirrel; Or grow…
Steven Schnur also has written the same structured books for Winter, Spring, and Summer.