Read-Alouds for Remembering

How has your class grown this year? What acts of kindness have they done for each other? What have they learned? What do you hope they will remember? Children’s books can be great vehicles for exploring these sorts of questions during the last weeks of school.

Here are two great picture books you could use to launch children into remembering and making a timeline of their school year:

Tell Me the Day Backwards, written by Albert Lamb and illustrated by David McPhail, would work for younger students (pre-K to 1st grade). In this beautifully illustrated story, a little bear and his mother play a bedtime game—they try to remember what the little bear did that day in backwards order.

The “and before that?” prompt used throughout the book could prompt a class project or class book in which the class starts with a recent significant event, unit, or piece of learning and then recalls the one “before that” and “before that” and so on.

With older students (grades 2 and up) try Previously, written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Bruce Ingman, to inspire a similar discussion or project. This book is more whimsical than Tell Me the Day Backwards, as it tells various fairy tales in reverse. (“Goldilocks arrived home all bothered and hot. Previously, she had been running like mad in the dark woods . . .”)

Each student could think individually of a current accomplishment and then to previous events that led to that success. (“I am currently reading books from the series Dragonslayers’ Academy. Previously, I worked my way through the Magic Treehouse series . . .” Or, the class could use this structure to create a backwards narrative about their collective history.

Margaret Berry Wilson is the author of several books, including: The Language of Learning, Doing Science in Morning Meeting (co-authored with Lara Webb), Interactive Modeling, and Teasing, Tattling, Defiance & More.

Tags: Language Arts, Last Weeks of School