Monday, January 14, 2013

Having Fun with Common Core: Look for Rich Backmatter


In my last post, I discussed how layered text can facilitate adapting a book into a Readers Theater script, focusing on two titles that have two text blocks on each page. Many of the books created by Steve Jenkins, often with his wife Robin Page, also include layered text—but in a different kind of format.

The main text is spare, but the back matter includes a wealth of additional facts—all the information you’ll need to create roles for both the narrators and the animal characters in your RT scripts. Two especially good choices are Move! and What Would You Do with a Tail Like This?, both published by Houghton Mifflin.

Move! is a lively title with simple, cleverly conceived text and gorgeous cut-paper collages that highlight a host of animal movements. Well-written backmatter rich in details provides additional information about the featured animals.

The Caldecott Honor recipient What Would You Do with a Tail Like This? has a wonderful guessing game format in which one double-page spread asks a question and shows intriguing bits of animal bodies and the next double-page spread answers the question and reveals the entire bodies of the animals.

Using the information on these spreads, which discuss how a variety of animals use their noses, ears, tails, eyes, mouth, and feet, with additional facts in the backmatter, it is easy to convert the text into roles for both narrators and animal characters. In addition, the book’s dynamic artwork will inspire children to add flair to their own performances.

As I noted last week, books like this are also great to use as mentor texts and can be used for Reading Buddy programs.

1 comment:

  1. I love that more and more children's books are including rich back matter. In the past, I was left feeling my kids and I need more information when back matter wasn't included. (For example, a book set in another country that has no map or cultural information).

    On a related note, teachers in training in the Grad course I teach have asked me how to judge the accuracy of a non-fiction children's book. When back matter and a bibliography are missing, that's very hard to do. I often encourage them to find a different book if the one they have lacks references.

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