The Importance of Never Giving Up
Have you seen the excitement children get when they discover a new author and all the text they have written? As an avid reader my whole life, I can’t pinpoint the moment that I fell in love with books. However, I can remember the moments I fell in love with particular authors. As a young reader there are so many books that are enticing, but may not hold value. As a teacher, it is our responsibility to lead our students in the right direction. While we may all like various genres, texts, or authors, there are some authors and books that almost everyone loves.
I’ve teamed up with six teacher-author friends to provide you with some great ideas and resources for conducting an author study on Ezra Jack Keats. As you make your way through our blogs, you’ll find out about Keats and walk away with some great free resources!
Growing up during the Depression, Keats’ family did not have much. They could barley meet their basic needs, despite Ezra wanting to pursue his passion for art, his family could not supply him with art materials. So instead of working with paints and canvas, Ezra drew on everything in his house – including his kitchen table! His mother supported him wholeheartedly and his love for art was able to grow over the years until he could really focus on it.
Keats’ third book published was Whistle for Willie. This book is a sequel to Snowy Day and features the main character Peter. Peter appears in seven of Keats’ books (several of which you will see in the blog hop). Throughout this story, Peter struggles with his inability to whistle. His spends the entire day practicing because he wants to whistle for his dog. In the end, Peter finally manages to whistle and Willie comes running!
Cross Curricular Activities
There are so many ways you can use this trade book for teaching! Here are just a few ideas…
* Prepositions: Throughout the story the text and illustrations show Peter in different positions (i.e. around, in, on, under, etc.) – use this opportunity to introduce or review prepositions. Have students act out the story to get them moving and connecting the words with actions.
* Verbs: The book is full of verbs! While you’re reading the story aloud, have the students clap or raise their hand every time they hear a verb.
* Word Study: The title alone provides two choices – alliteration or /wh/ words
The illustrations show several places throughout Peter’s city. Create a chart comparing Peter’s city to your city. When taking a deeper look at where Peter is in the story, take the opportunity to remind your students about safety outside! Peter certainly should not be walking around the streets alone or hiding in strange boxes outside.
Depending on your class, some of your students may not know how to whistle. As an adult who can’t whistle, I went in search of a way that anyone can whistle! Try creating a paper or straw whistle with your students. It may not sound like a person whistling, but you will still make some fun noises.
To grab some freebies to use with this story, click on the picture below!
Whistle for Willie will teach your students to never give up! Peter shows us that as long as we keep trying we can achieve our goals. Head over to The Reading Tutor/OG to learn about the next book in our author study!