Learn All Year Long
Read for My Summer
Beat the summer heat with engaging activities from ReadWriteThink.org.
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Stories of Appreciation
|Grades||K – 3|
|Activity Time||60-90 minutes|
- Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
- Digital pictures or scanned photo prints saved to the computer
- Two sheets of 8” by 11” construction paper and markers for a cover (optional)
- Template for print book
- Appreciation Book Instructions
- Together, read the short autobiographical book Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco, which explains the difficulties the author had learning to read. Discuss the following points after reading the story:
- How did her grandfather make Trisha feel learning was important? (he made her excited to learn to read and continued a family tradition of tasting honey on the cover of a book)
- How did her grandmother encourage her? (She told Trisha she was smart and that everyone is different.)
- Why did Trisha begin to feel she was dumb? (She could not read when the rest of her class could.)
- How did Mr. Falker at first help Trisha? (He complimented her artistic ability and told others, especially Eric, to stop taunting her.)
- How did Mr. Falker and Miss Plessy change Trisha’s life? (They taught her to read using different methods, so Trisha no longer felt dumb.)
- If Trisha had never learned to read, how would her life have been different? (She could never have become a children’s author.)
- Explain to the child that the author wrote this book to thank her teacher, and now he/she will write a book to honor someone special (family member, neighbor, teacher, principal, coach, someone in the community, etc.) in his/her life.
- Ask the child to think of someone who has helped him/her in life that the child would like to honor. Discuss with the following points:
- Trisha enjoyed the taste of knowledge with her grandfather. Encourage the child to discuss what activities the child and the honoree enjoy together.
- Trisha’s grandmother taught her all people are unique and different from one another. Discuss what the honoree has taught the child.
- Trisha felt proud when Mr. Falker appreciated her artistic talent. Ask how the person makes him/her feel great by prompting the child to think of when compliments have been given.
- Mr. Falker helps Trisha learn how to read, so discuss what the child has accomplished with the help of the honoree.
- Help the child find at least five digital photos of the honoree. This might require the child take digital photos of the person (with his/her permission). Alternately, the child could do drawings of his/her honoree.
- Use the Appreciation Book Instructions to access the directions for the printed book or the digital book. Each option provides templates to create the book. Using the templates, plan what photos will be used and discuss what the child wants to write to express appreciation.
- Once completed, have the child practice reading the book out loud until he/she is comfortable. Present the book to the honoree and have the child read his/her unique creation to this special person. Be sure to take photos of the reading to record this special moment between these two people!
- Record the child reading the book and include that recording as part of the gift to the honoree.
- Have the child read the book not only to the honoree, but to others. For example, if the honoree was a grandparent, have the child share the book with other family members.
- Encourage the child to create another book for someone else who has influenced his/her life.
- Tikatok offers a variety of other templates to personalize. Try making another special gift such as a cookbook, a valentine, or a summer adventure.
- Read more books that illustrate how others have positively influenced lives. For example, for ages four-eight, read Billywise by Judith Nicholls and Jason Cockcroft, which shows how a mother owl encourages her owlet. Another good selection by Patricia Polacco is The Art of Miss Chew, in which she describes how her art teacher encouraged her.