Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kindergarten Visits

Every fall, in preparation for our annual Kindergarten Card Party, we visit all the kindergarten classes in the county. For me personally that means visiting several hundred Kindergartners. At these visits, we send home library card applications, and invite the kids to get their own library card WITH THEIR OWN NAME ON IT (I have a giant foamboard replica of our library cards that I bring, and I put book tape over the signature area so I can use a dry-erase marker to write my name on it right in front of the kids; they find it very impressive)

Every application that gets an invitation to The Kindergarten Card Party, an event of much pomp and circumstance where we call each child's name, hand them their first library card, and present them with a book or two to keep. There are all sorts of other fun things going on as well--scavenger hunt, face painting, and some kind of 'performer.' Last year we had Jarrett Krosoczka, and this year we will have the duo behind "Moo!" David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka.

It's a great program, that I think could be pulled off pretty easily by smaller libraries! But what I *really* wanted to share with this post was what books I'm reading on my visits, and how they're working with Kindergartners. I get a lot of chances to test drive these stories, and started out with about ten options; these were the ones that rose to the top:

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell.
This has been my go-to book this year, and the kids are loving every second of it. I adore reading books like this with lots of interaction. My absolute favorite is getting to the last spread, and dramatically shuffling the pages as I realize that we're at the end. The kids have never failed to implore me to turn "Just one more page." I am skeptical, but lo and behold! There are all the monkeys. 

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack
This is my second most read book for visits. It's so great to read with Kindergartners, because the only words in the book are, "Aahh, Ah ha! and Ha ha" all used to portray different emotions as the story progresses. Kindergartners are finding it hilarious, and feel so empowered as they are able to read it along with me and infer the meaning from the pictures. Lots of great discussions and laughter have come from this one!

Oh No George by Chris Houghton
There is less room for interaction with this one, but the repetitive phrases, exploration of good vs. bad behavior, and open-ended conclusion all make for a satisfying read aloud for Kindergarten age. This is another one where I simply enjoy reading it, and the kids can tell that I'm invested. This is often the first one that I read, before they start getting wiggly.

It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle and Jeremy Tankard
You probably don't need me to tell you about this one. I didn't get my hold in in time to read this one on most of my visits, but it's a great choice, and especially appropriate for my event, since David LaRochelle will be at the K Party. Most of the time it's hard to get Kindergartners excited about an author visit a few months in the future, so it's nice to be able to say, "Wasn't that a great book?! Well the author, the person who wrote it, will be at the Kindergarten Party!"

Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth and Jeffrey Ebbeler
This is one I love, but was not the most successful for visits. It is probably best for one-on-one reading with lots of discussion, since the pictures are pretty intricate and the plot is a little abstract, dealing with the line between imagination and reality. That being said, I love it, and I had a few classes that it was a good fit for.


  1. The owner is a very warm, caring individual who understood the emotions a first time mom would experience when leaving her child with a daycare facility.
    Phoenix kindergarten

  2. Hi Anna! I saw two of your presentations at WLA (which I really enjoyed!) which is how I started following your blog - I also just read Ah Ha! with a group of K-1st graders on a school visit as well as with a group of preschoolers and they all loved it (K-1st graders because they could follow with the simple text like you said and preK because they were mesmerized by the illustrations)! It's so great when you find a book like this one that works with different age groups in different ways!

  3. Love all your cute Kindergarten work! Makes me want to start teaching Kindergarten again!Take care

    Kindergarten flashcards


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