Here in Texas, the weather is absolutely beautiful- a perfect 70 degrees, lots of sunshine, and a nice breeze.
This gorgeous weather puts me in the mood to blog -finally- after all these weeks!
This week I am linking up for the first time with Collaboration Cuties for their Must-Read Mentor Text Linky. I am so excited to join and be a part of it. I have been reading the posts from past weeks and I have gained numerous ideas and added NUMEROUS books to my cart on Amazon. These things can be dangerous, but they are oh-so wonderful!
This week's topic is language arts. The book I chose is called My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco.
Polacco is an author that we study all year. She is an author illustrator, which is awesome, but she also writes autobiographically.
In this story, the main character, Patricia (the author as a little girl), is annoyed with her brother, Richard, who always claims he can do anything better than she can. He's the typical annoying older brother who taunts and teases and boasts until Patricia has had enough. She wishes on a star for the chance to do something- anything- better than Richard, and when her wish comes true, she realizes that even though Richard may annoy and bother her, he still cares about and loves her tremendously. (I'm keeping the summary short so I don't ruin the book if you haven't read it before!)
At surface level, this book is perfect for making connections because almost all students have siblings (except for those only children like me :) ), so they connect immediately to the sibling dynamic at the beginning of the book.
However, this story can be taken to a much deeper level. The story lends itself perfectly to analyzing character relationships because the siblings essentially can't stand each other at the beginning of the story, but by the end, they realize the love they have for each other and develop a new level of mutual respect.
It's also great for analyzing character traits at various points in a story. Each of characters display different traits at different points in the story depending on the event occurring. At the beginning, the reader sees Richard as selfish, arrogant, and annoying. By the end, the reader sees that he is caring, protective, and loves his sister. We have great discussions about the turning point in the story and how this one event impacts both characters in such a big way. This provides a springboard for excellent conversations.
Because Polacco writes autobiographically, the book is written in first person. We discuss how this point of view effects the story and how it would have been different if it had been written from Richard's point of view.
Polacco has also written an autobiography called Firetalking in which she discusses how she gets ideas for writing, how she goes about creating a new story, and tells stories from her real life. It provides the perfect connection when we get to the biography/autobiography unit later in the year after we have read her picture books.
This year, I read My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother the second week of school just on a whim one day and I am so glad I did. It provided such an excellent foundation for all the literary discussions we had the rest of the year. Richard and Patricia are a part of our classroom culture and we refer back to them frequently when reading other books and discussing other characters.
I highly recommend this story! It is great for a number of topics and engaging for kids.
Now it's your turn! Share your favorite book for Language Arts and link up with the cuties! I can't wait to head back over, blog hop, and fill up my cart with new books!