Another Great Read Aloud

For my second blog post I thought I’d write about another one of my favorite Read Alouds.  It is called Heckedy Peg
and it’s written by Audrey Wood.  Unlike my last recommendation, this story has an interest range for Primary students so I’d really recommend it for Kindergarten through the very beginning of third grade. 

"Heckedy Peg" is about a mother and her 7 children, which are all named after the 7 days of the week.  What story, however, would be complete without a witch, and the witch is named Heckedy Peg. In the story each child asks their mom for something special.  Their requests are as unique as their names, and once again engaging for children.  The story continues and Heckedy Peg proves to be a villain.  Each child’s unique request of their mother, however, ends up being a clue for their mother later in their rescue. 

Primary aged children are quickly engaged by this book for several reasons.  The first is the illustrations.  They are amazing and draw the children in.  The second reason is because of the names of the children.  They are named for the 7 days of the week.  Primary aged children find the names very funny, and it helps them reinforce the days of the week and their order.  Finally, children like stories with witches, and love seeing good triumph over evil.  Young primary children might be a little scared at first, but love the part when the mother comes to the rescue of her children.

I enjoy sharing this book with my students not only to reinforce their days of the week, but because the book helps my children with deduction/matching skills.  In the story, the mother has to identify what Heckedy Peg has turned each of her children into.  The mother is able to think about what each of her children wanted, and uses that as a clue to identify each child.  It’s fun for the students to try make this connection as well.  Each year, Heckedy Peg is one of my students’ favorite stories.  I highly recommend it.  Happy reading!

A Favorite Read Aloud

Read Aloud time is my favorite time of day with my students.  So, I decided to make a few posts describing some of my favorites.  A great story that incorporates literacy and math is The King's Chessboard by David Birch.  This story is about a wise man who wants no payment for a service he has performed for the king.  The king, however, insists on paying him, so the wise man asks the king to give him one grain of rice, and then to double that each day for 64 days.  It's a great story, because it introduces students to the power of doubling, and allows them to see just how quickly numbers can become very large.

When I read this story to my students, I remind them that economies did not always run with currency, and in the past a commodity such as rice could be used as payment for goods.  I then ask them to think of the grain of rice in the same way they would think of a penny.  Of course, just like the king in the story they do not think that the wise man has asked for very much money.  Once I get into the story, however, my students begin to realize just how quickly that penny doubled becomes more than even the king can afford to pay.

This is a great story because it incorporates math, and a bit of history into literacy.  I also enjoy it because it teaches students about the importance of asking questions.  In the story, the king refuses to ask how much rice it will take to fulfill the wise man's request.  The king is afraid of appearing stupid.  I use this as an opportunity to teach my students that it is by not asking questions, that people end up in awkward situations.  I highly recommend this book.  Enjoy!


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