Read alouds that make them get lost, question, predict and imagine.

When I’ve read this book it seems to capture every student’s attention, during the story they are predicting and taking in the illustrations and their imaginations are going wild. When the book is finished there are always so many story extensions to do!

The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan

What an amazing book, in the hardcover copy the actual book (under the sleeve) is BEAUTIFUL. The students were in “aw” of how “old fashioned” the book was designed. Inside the book there is not much colour but the students appreciated it that much more, especially when the first glance of colour appeared! The students were held in suspense throughout the book and imagined what would come next.

//TEACHER BONUS// season change effects

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Maybe one of my hands down favorite books as a teacher. There are so many depths to this book.

I used it to teach Science Humaine Grade 1 (Social Studies) outcomes of:

  • key events and development in the local community
  • relationships between community and their environment
  • natural and man made features of the local environment

Not only does it hit these outcomes but also, season change, pollution, urbanization of rural land, maintaining and taking care of things we own, city vs rural living, the list goes on! This is quite a long book therefore I like to break it up into two parts. The first few pages is about life in the country, this is where the season changes happen. Stop there and then take off again the next day finishing the book. Students are amazed at the change of the landscape over years and then find empathy for the house who becomes forgotten but never sold. I recently found a Disney version of the book online. This short movie follows the story line to an extent.

***at 3:57-4:01 there are two people yelling out their broken windows “ahhhh shut up” so if  you are playing this for your class or child.. I just muted that part. But you have to be on top of it! Since the students know the story I have also played it muted the whole time, a silent movie!

Imaginary Fred by  Eoin Colfer

With simple drawings children are captivated at the dotted drawing of the imaginary friend, as if they are there but not. Not only does this spark imagination, but also conquers loneliness and friendship!

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

First off: take off the cover sleeve and expose the hardcover. WOW.  Just WILD! The drawings in this book make students observe everything so bland, proper and the same until things change. A book about being ourselves and being different which has the power to inspire others.

Open This Little Book by  Jesse Klausmeier

A book within a book, within and book, within a book! Too much fun! Students are in aw of how small the next book can get! Motivating picturebook to find all those quirky and  unique books that libraries/bookstores have to offer! (Or to even create their own!)

Mr. Zinger’s Hat by  Cary Fagan

Every year the Grade Ones receive a book from TD Canada Trust. In French Immersion the students received this book in French, but it is very very hard for a Grade One student in French Immersion (to listen to, let alone read). This book might find its way back into their lives in a few years but for the time being it is an amazing book in English! A young boy captivated by an old man who writes stories. The old man and the young boy tell a story together which changes direction every time the boy gives a new idea. This not only opens up imagination with the students but also allows for them to see that their story is up to them, anything is possible in story telling.

The French (un read) version

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

A box of yarn is found by Anabelle in her dreary white and black town. She knits herself and her dog a sweater and yet has more yarn. She goes on to knitting so much more for others and stirs things up in her town! Anabelle deals with jealousy, fame, betrayal, creativity and more! The students are quite intrigued in what will happen next, especially after she is offered MILLIONs for the box!

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming

We often talk about inventions and using your imagination to create whatever you want. This book allows students to see the process in which an inventor creates his creations. Not only does he find success but he also has many trials and fails before even coming close! The students loved predicting his changes and even predicting what wouldn’t work. I found this book a little hard to translate on the fly into French but managed and they loved it.

Un livre (French Edition) by Herve Tullet

Press Here (English Edition)

A simple book that brought so much enjoyment and wonder, so many OOs and Ahhhs! The days to follow a few students were inspired and re read the book to themselves and create their own “press here” story. I read this book in English and translated it, only to find out later that it comes in French! Regardless and enjoyable book that asks for participation and wows the students are they are held in suspense trying to guess what will happen after their next actions.

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

A Bad Case of Stripes is a book I am having a hard time categorizing! This book did WOW the students but not so much an inspirational story for imagination. What wow-ed them is how her nerves creates so many different shades on her body. Deep down it is about anxiety, self esteem, social pressure and conformity that she has put onto herself which might be a topic a little too hard to grasp in a grade one class. A book I could not, not mention! The pictures themselves are very enjoyable and the students did really enjoy the story at the level that they understood it.

Curious Garden, The by Peter Brown

Another great book by Peter Brown. So many students in my class are so curious therefore the Curious Garden was a hit! This book not only opens them up to the world of gardening (my favorite) but even the wonder of how big and lush vegetation can get and how easily it can be lost if we do not take care of it! This book is great for teaching seasons and plant cycles as well! Again, like the book Papa’s Mechanical Fish, this book displays perseverance and what a child can achieve through reading and passion if they are determined.

10 books to make them WOW! in the primary classroom