Sadly (LOL!), Jivey said we could only talk about ONE book in today's link up! I had a hard time with this, but I did settle on a good one, A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole. This is an historical fiction novel about a mouse who lives under the floorboards of the Oakley Plantation in Louisiana. One day John James Audubon and his assistant Joseph move into the house. Celeste has moved to the upstairs where she watches Joseph create the backgrounds for Audubon's paintings. A great friendship develops. Celeste helps Joseph with his art and the wounded birds that Audubon captures for his study. There is a beautiful ending and the author's message about friendship and home really touches your heart! I love this story!
Here is Henry Cole when he visited our school last year. He is hysterical! We are so lucky that he lives locally!
Now back to Celeste...I have to explain how I use this book. Since starting the CAFE in my classroom, I do not meet with reading groups. I teach a whole group lesson and then I meet one on one with students. All of my kids work from their own just right books. I use my read aloud as my model for the skills I'm teaching. For example, I would read Celeste during read aloud time. The next day I will do a close read. I might focus on a reading skill or strategy in a specific part of the book we read previously. I also use my read aloud for my writing lessons. I just started doing that this on a regular basis year and it does work out great. The kids practice skills in books at their level and I get the best bang for my buck out of my read aloud.
Some skills and strategies this book can be used for are:
Using illustrations to convey meaning & understand vocabulary
The history part of this story ties in nicely with reading informational text. Grab a book about Audubon for a quick social studies lesson. I also show the kids his famous paintings.
I promise you will love this story!