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Which Books Will They Choose?

Before the kids arrived for the first day of school, I filled this display shelf with books I hoped to read aloud. Then I watched. Which books would the children grab during free time? Which ones would they ask me to read aloud?

Here is the book display I created for the first few days of school.

Big Boys Cry by Jonty Howley was by far the most popular choice. After students hung up their backpack and ordered their lunch in the morning, pairs and trios of students crowded around this book. Then after lunch, others grabbed it off the shelf.

As I read it aloud, these second graders had so much to say:

  • “Why would the dad say, ‘big boys don’t cry?’ That’s not true.”
  • “My dad doesn’t cry.”
  • “Now the dad is crying because he missed his son.”

After we finished reading, students recorded their “thinking” on a sticky note and added it to our whole class notebook. As you can see, many students thought about the life lessons Jonty Howley might want readers to know.

This large sketchbook is the whole class read-aloud notebook. These are second graders’ first attempts at recording their thinking.

I promised to reread this book tomorrow so the kids can have their first hands-down conversation. I hope this conversation leads us into many more discussions about big feelings and how we can support one another when they come. These children are building a classroom community one step at a time.

Happy Reading, Everyone.


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