Vocabulary -- Books with Big Words
This board is all about mentor texts for developing the word knowledge of young students. For younger students, reading aloud quality picture books (that contain great vocab) is one of the most effective ways to teach vocabulary. Most of the books pinned here have been published in the last ten years, but a few are timeless classics. I've read each one and personally recommend them.
Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls by Jane Yolen. This collection of thirteen retold folk tales about strong young women come from every corner of the globe, from a fierce medieval knight to a Chinese girl who slays a dreaded serpent. I haven't read this one ... yet. But it sounds very promising.
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont & David Caltrow (2005) -- This award winning book introduces us to a mischievous little boy who paints nearly every conceivable body part. Set to rhyme, this book is a great way to model reading strategies. It’s also great fun and filled with an explosion of color. Warning: I hate to give away the ending, but there is a picture of the boy’s backside and underwear….and a full-on reference to "butt" which may unnerve some adult readers. Kids love it.
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!
Blackout by John Rocco (2011) – This Caldecott award winner explores family, community life, and what can happen when life becomes “unplugged”. Simple, yet beautiful illustrations. Simple text with a great message. Tier 2 vocabulary words include huddled, and normal.
Blackout by John Rocco — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists
Amber on the Mountain(1994), by Tony Johnston, illustrations by acclaimed artist, Robert Duncan -- Sometimes learning to read is “like walking up a wall. Amber kept rolling off.” This warm-you-to-your-toes book is about a young pioneer-mountain girl who longs to learn how to read. She finally gets her chance when young Anna moves to the mountain. Learning to read is not easy, but one can “do anything they set their mind to”. An older book, but a favorite. Powerful message. Sweet illustrations.
Amber on the Mountain
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon – Winner of several awards including the 2010 Caldecott Honor and the Parents Choice Gold Award (among others), this rhyming, repetitive book helps us make sense of the world and identify what’s important. “All the world is old and new … hot and cold …” This would make a good read during a study of antonyms. It also makes a nice addition to a thematic unit on families.
Picture book covers with target words underneath. LOVE this idea. One could have students make tally marks next to each word as they encounter them in other texts or use them when talking. LOVE.
My Heart Belongs in First: Vocabulary
books starring princesses who are smart, daring, and aren't waiting around to be rescued. Haven't read. Want to.
Giraffes Can't Dance... A sweet book about doing your own thing even when others tease you. It makes a good mentor text, too. Tier 2 words include: slim, munching, buckled (at the knees), single, prance, arrived, elegant, bold, teamed up, splendid, clumsy, froze up, useless, clot, crept, clearing, swaying, imagine, shuffling, swaying, swishing, entranced
Giraffes Can't Dance
Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin. In true Doreen Cronin style, this book is a hoot! Tier 2 words and phrases include: Keeps a very close eye, borrow, slightly, rehearsed, interpret (interpretive dance), disguise, pacing, up to something, contestants, impressed, annoyed, standing ovation
Dooby Dooby Moo
And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (2001) This twist on the traditional nursery rhyme has won many awards including the California Young Reader Medal (2004) and ALA Noteable Book (2002). This book makes a great addition to thematic studies on mapping and nursery rhymes. It is also a good mentor text for teaching vocabulary. Some complex and novel words include smirked, and rummaged. The authors also incorporate several idioms and played with words such as fiddling around and in a jam.
A Butterfly Is Patient (2011) -- This nonfiction picture book is BRILLIANT! Full of beautiful illustrations and easy-flowing informational text. It’s a must-read for those learning about insects, and butterflies. 2012 Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts. Beneath, protected, molt, metamorphosis, pollinate, and reproduce are just a few of the more complex words found in this text. The book is rife with vocabulary teaching possibilities.
A Butterfly Is Patient
Wild About Books -- winner of the Irma S and James H Black Honor for Excellence in Children's Literature Award. This cute book is LOADED with vocab...conquer, resistance, stampeding, forsaking, outrageous, pretentious, redundant, etc. Also contains lots of references to great classics like Cat in the Hat, Nancy Drew, Goodnight Moon, etc.
2001 -- by Graeme Base – This gorgeously illustrated counting book (1-10) has gained international recognition and was nominated for multiple awards. A hole in each page shrinks as the water hole gets smaller. Animals from all the continents are represented. Great vocabulary (e.g. “delectable”). A brilliant and beautiful book that readers linger over.
Passing the Music Down (2011)– Inspired by a true story about a musician and his aging mentor...a rich story line with rich language. One of the chosen for the Noteable Children’s Literature in the English Language Arts book list for 2012, this book is a must read for all musicians regardless of age. With words like strutting, heartland, slumbering, gnarled, and more, this book would make an excellent mentor text for teaching vocabulary.
Passing the Music Down
Max's Words (2006) As a mentor text for teaching vocabulary and story writing, a book can’t get any better. On the NCBLA 2007 list of outstanding literature, Max’s Words introduces us to Max, a little brother without a collection. Wanting a collection like his brothers, Max begins to collect words. His collection grows and grows until he has enough for stories, and for sharing.
Max's Words by Kate Banks | Hardcover, Audiobook | Barnes & Noble
This make-you-laugh book is part of the Skippyjon Jones series. As with the other books, the main character is a Siamese cat that thinks he is a Chihuahua. And, as with the other Skippyjon books, this is a great mentor text for teaching vocabulary. Some complex and novel words include: taboo, donned, hunkered, etc.
This spicy picture book has won multiple awards including the E.B. White Award for great read alouds. The main character is a mischievous Siamese cat that thinks he is a Chihuahua. Hilarious. This book contains a few Spanish words, and would be ideal as a mentor text for English vocabulary instruction. (Some novel words include self-respecting, lecture, rifled, incognito, etc.).