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Say WHAT? First Grade Rooted in Reading is on the Way!

If you read anything of mine, I am pretty sure you know my LOVE of books oozes out of every part of me.  I have been dying to share this secret so here we go: 


Okay, now let's get back to where I should have started had I not been busting at the seams to share the news. Amy and I both taught first grade for several years. I taught first grade for seven years and Amy taught first grade for three years. When we say we GET the trials and tribulations and JOYS of first grade... we mean it! So, with that... we are heading back to our roots! Now that we have tackled 2nd Grade Reading and 3rd Grade Reading, we are sooooooo very ready to do the same with 1st Grade Reading!
Let me back up even further and tell you how the process began. After being asked nearly every single day for over two years if we would be releasing a first grade unit, we decided to give it a go. We wanted to choose the very best books for a year of reading in first grade. When I tell you that I've ordered more than 200 books just to find the right ones, I am not exaggerating (husband is not happy, but we won't get into that, ha!). What do we look for? Let me explain...
-Books that are age-appropriate but will challenge 6-7 year olds. Now, these books are not meant for a first grader to read on their own. These books are meant to be read aloud to your students so that you can model fluent reading and deeper-level thinking. These books will anchor your learning each week.
-Books that are DIVERSE. We want to see different cultures represented in the books.
-Books from different genres: fiction, nonfiction, folktales, biographies, poetry, etc.
-Books that support the very popular First Grade teaching themes such as apples, pumpkins, penguins, frogs, weather, fairy tales, etc. so that they can fit seamlessly into your current instruction.
And most importantly... Books that your students and YOU will LOVE. And we believe wholeheartedly you will LOVE every single one of the books we have chosen!
Without further adieu, we bring you the Book List for 1st Grade!
Please Note: We have provided Amazon links below. They may not be the best price, so it is certainly a good idea to look around! We suggest looking on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Thrift Books, Half Price Books, and Scholastic. {Amazon Aff. Links below}

August Books:

September Books:

October Books:

November Books

December Books:

January Books:

February Books:

March Books:

April Books:

May Books:

What about the actual units?

-The units will NOT be bundled until April of 2019. That means there will be NO GROWING BUNDLE. You may ask, KATIE WHY????? Y'all. They are too stressful. We work so hard on these units. Each month takes over 120-150 hours to create. If we are 10 minutes late to uploading a month people are ready to have our heads. So, if I'm being honest. I just can't handle the stress!
-Each month will be uploaded with PLENTY of time to prep it for the next month. Our August unit will be available on or near April 19th! That means you have several months to get ready for the next school year.
-What standards and skills will be addressed with each book? Oh, I'm so glad you've asked! We have already mapped out the ENTIRE YEAR! You can find that HERE. Now, please know that we may have to change things along the way. We may have to switch skills around, but this will be what we try to go by for the entire year.
-What subjects will be covered with each unit? We will include comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, and grammar each week. We will also have respond to reading through writing with directed drawings and crafts. They will be very similar to our 2nd and 3rd grade units, but we will make some changes to ensure they are appropriate for first grade. We will also continue to create a Nonfiction Reader to go along with each book.
-Have any other questions? Please download the overview first and look through all of it. Then, if you have any questions you can leave those ON THIS POST! We will respond to all questions below!

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Picture Book Love

As you know I am currently on a teaching hiatus to take care of two-year-old son, but this does not mean I have stopped loving #allthebooks!  In fact, I think my obsession has only grown as I closely watch my three children partake in their journey with books and reading. Here is a peek at my at home library: 

And that's only about one-fourth of it!  Okay, enough chatter I would love to talk to you about five books that I think are essential to EVERY classroom!

Book #1Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles Illustrated by: Rod Clement

Why you need it: BE WHO YOU AREBesides having some of the best illustrations of ANY book I have ever read, I also love the message within the pages.  I chose to read the book on the first day of school every year for the last seven school years, because I want my students to know that who they are deep inside, is exactly who they are supposed to be! This book helps me to set that tone right off the bat!

Summary:  Edward envies the attention that other animals receive in the zoo so he hops from exhibit to exhibit trying to change who he is.  Students sit in suspense as they try to guess which animal Edward will imitate next. A surprise ending will send the kids into a fit of giggles.  If your kids fall for Edward, do not worry! There is a SEQUEL! 

Book #2Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis

Why you need it: WORDS MATTER.  In a world where people type hateful comments or say things without thinking of the repercussions, we need to instill in our children that words are important and that they matter. While saying you are "sorry" can help things get back on the right track, we can't ever fully take away the pain we cause with hurtful words.

Summary: Maya is a new girl in the class. Her clothes are very worn and her toys are old.  She becomes an easy target for the girls at school.  After Maya leaves to go to another new school. Chloe realizes all too late the damage she has caused.  There is no mushy ending to this tale, and I think that was an excellent choice by Woodson. 

Book #3
Iggy Peck by Andrea Beaty  Illustrated by: David Roberts

Why you need it: STEM.  If you have not been living under a rock, you have heard the new push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) resources in the classroom.  Andrea Beaty is an absolute wizard with words and David Roberts' quirky drawings pull kids into the text.  After reading Iggy Peck, make sure to visit with Rosie Revere and Ada Twist as well! 

Summary: Iggy Peck LOVES to build.  He will use any and all materials to make the most amazing of creations.  He arrives to 2nd grade and immediately feels stifled by his teacher who hates architecture. The horror! She has a change of heart when Iggy uses his engineering skills to rescue his class from a sticky situation!

Book #4:  Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwell  

Why you need it: REPRESENTATION MATTERS.  For a long time I didn't pay attention to the skin color of the characters in my classroom library.  BIG mistake on my part. All of our students deserve to see themselves represented in the pages of picture books (and not just by athletes and social justice leaders either).  Taking that into account, I love the storyline as well! The lesson of the book would serve as a nice analogy about trying new things in life.  Just jump on in the water!

Summary: Jabari is SO excited about jumping off the high dive.  As he begins the long climb up the ladder he begins to doubt himself.  With encouragement from his dad he finds the necessary courage and doesn't regret it!  Cornwell does a wonderful jump off walking you through the range of emotions that Jabari experiences on his adventure. 

Book #5:  I Dissent by Debbie Levy Illustrated by: Elizabeth Baddeley  

Why you need it: ROLE MODELS.  Picture books allow our young students access to people who can serve as wonderful role models in their lives. I also love how the author highlighted Ginsburg's friendship Justice Scalia, who Ginsburg frequently disagreed with on big issues. 

Summary: In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Jewish woman justice of the Supreme Court.  The author takes us on a journey through her childhood, college years, and marriage.   We learn that Ginsburg was very different from other girls her age and that that's not a bad thing!  

I love all these books so much that several of them are highlighted in units on TPT:
You can find them here:

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