Happy fall y'all! Football games, changing leaves, pumpkin everything, and the crispness in the air… fall makes me happy.
I also love getting out books about the season with my students. I want to foster a love of reading with them. How reading is more than just words on a page. It offers a different approach to the goals we are working on. Vocabulary, figurative language, sequencing, etc.
LeafMan by Lois Ehlert
This is a very short, beautifully illustrated picture book. It captures the vivid changing colors of the leaves of fall. Great opportunities for fall craft extensions here.
Sequencing: Discuss the order of leaf man’s travels. East-West-South-North. Name what he saw heading east (chickens, marsh, ducks, geese, fields). Then what he saw heading west (orchards, prairie meadows, cows) and so on.
Vocabulary: pile, plans, marsh, drifting, orchards, prairie, meadows, gliding, flock, lonesome, rustle.
Writing: Use the prompt, “If I were a leaf man, I would go…” (have them include what they would see and feel along the way).
Compare and contrast the different types of leaves. Have the students bring in 2 different leaves from home and discuss the differences and similarities in their attributes. If the weather cooperates, I often take my students outside with their iPad or paper. We find 2 different leaves and either take a picture or color them. We then create a compare/contrast report on the Keynote app or draw a Venn diagram on the paper we brought out.
Superlatives: Bring out some leaves and order them: big-bigger-biggest, tall-taller-tallest, or dark-darker-darkest according to size or color.
Fletcherand the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson (also titled, The Fox and the Falling Leaves)
Gorgeous watercolor illustrations capture you in this sweet story. When I read this treasure, children are mesmerized and almost melt listening to the words. This story about a sweet little fox is one of my favorites to use with therapy goals.
Social/Emotional: Opportunities to discuss feelings. On the first page the word “worried” is used. When do people feel worried? Illness, bad weather, etc. Fletcher is trying to care for the tree- a great opportunity for teaching empathy (discuss his body language- how his head hangs down and how they can read body language with friends). Encourage your students to talk about who they take care of and how (a pet, friend who is sad). Friendship – Fletcher says he will stay with the tree holding on to the last leaf left (what does someone do to show friendship to others).
Adjectives: Wow, this book is filled with vivid descriptions. “crinkly whisper,” “dusty gold,” “swirling leaves,” “pale stars,” I could go on and on. Write down some fall nouns and have your students think of vivid adjectives to modify them ( _____ pumpkins, _____ trees, _____ weather). Thinking of alternative color words is relevant in the fall. Find some leaves and challenge them to describe with more meaningful color words: yellow (golden), red (scarlet), brown (chocolate).
Vocabulary words: bounded, crinkly, dull, rough, ruffled, flutter, rustle, swoop, pale, glimmer. I always work on synonyms and antonyms to develop vocabulary deeper.
Figurative language: personification is on nearly every page- “I think my tree is sick.” “The little leaf shook itself free…” “The wind and the squirrel are stealing our leaves.” “The branches nodded.” “The leaves shivered and shook…” Onomatopoeia- “The tiny leaf gave a rustle in reply.” Simile- “Making a sound like laughter.” Have the students read the page looking for each literary device.
I hope you can incorporate some of these ideas as you read books about fall!