Grades K-2 – Common Core

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26 Fairmount Avenue: Books 1-4
26 Fairmount Avenue; Here We All Are; On My Way; What a Year!
Narrator:Tomie Depaola

Imprint: Listening Library
Grades: 7-8

Release Date: January 28, 2003

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Beloved author-illustrator Tomie dePaola has won many awards, including a Newbery Honor in 2000 for this title, and the 2011 Laura Ingalls Wilder award for his contributions to children’s literature.  In this autobiographical story, the listener is treated to episodes about his early childhood from the author himself.  His quiet soothing voice recounts the routines of family life such as starting school and building a new home, and includes the arrival of a hurricane.  One of dePaola’s strengths is the child-like perspective, ensuring these short vignettes will be enjoyed by dePaola’s young fans and encouraging them to tell or write about their own life experiences.  Students may also choose to follow along with the print edition as dePaola’s charming black and white illustrations increase the enjoyment. The audiobook package includes the first four books in dePaola’s extensive biographical series: 26 Fairmount Avenue, Here We All Are, On My Way, and What a Year.

Common Core Standard

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text

Further biographical information, frequently asked questions and quotations about Tomie dePaola can be found at his website, http://www.tomie.com that also features many illustrations and is a natural extension to listening to his early childhood stories.  Another fine introduction to dePaola is the video interview on Reading Rockets where the author/illustrator talks about his life and his work.  These activities will provide excellent background for a Tomie dePaola author study.

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The Gooney Bird Collection
Gooney Bird Greene; Gooney Bird and the Room Mother; Gooney the Fabulous; Gooney Bird Is So Absurd
Narrator:Lee Adams

Imprint: Listening Library
Grades: K-3

Release Date: March 24, 2009

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Everything turns upside down when accomplished storyteller Gooney Bird Greene makes her appearance in Mrs. Pigeon’s second grade classroom. Positioning herself “right smack in the middle of things,” Gooney Bird spins amazing yarns, while teaching the art of writing to her listeners.  Adams’ Southern lilt, pacing, and inflection are well-suited to these four short novels — Gooney Bird Greene, Gooney Bird and the Room Mother, Gooney the Fabulous, and Gooney Bird Is So Absurd — perfectly defining the characters and expanding the humor of Lowry’s clever text.

Common Core Standard

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

Here are some resources to spark engaging writing activities from the Read-Write-Think website.

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Mysteries offer students the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills, using Who, What, Where, and Why questions. Here are two very different stories from the mystery genre that not only further critical thinking, but also present occasions for cultural study and problem solving. Pair these for an entertaining lesson on comparing and contrasting two very different books from the same genre.

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The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case
A Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Book for Young Readers
Narrator:Adjoa Andoh

Imprint: Listening Library
Grades: 4-6

Release Date: April 10, 2012

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The listener is introduced to Precious Ramotswe, who adults will recognize from the well-known No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, solving her first case as a young child.  Her sleuthing abilities begin when a thief absconds with cake from her classroom.  Andoh’s narration is excellent, giving authenticity to the Botswanan culture with a pleasant lilt and cadence. Fans of the adult series will be just as interested as children to find out how Precious grows to be a master detective.  The second in the series, The Mystery of Meerkat Hill, continues Precious’ journey to becoming the owner of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Common Core Standard – This title offers an opportunity to cite a Common Core Anchor Standard in Reading, one that is broader and serves to support the more specific grade level standards.  This is one of the anchor standards in reading for Grade 1.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

The cultural life of Botswana offers many distinct opportunities for students to learn about the food, crafts, and community life.  Facts and information about the country can be found in many online encyclopedias, books in the school library, and the following web sites, http://www.our-africa.org/botswana/food-and-daily-life (Our Africa, Botswana), http://www.botswanaembassy.org/  (Botswana Embassy), and http://www.botswana.co.za/Cultural_Issues-travel/food-of-botswana.html (Siyabona Africa)

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Nate the Great Collected Stories
Nate the Great; Goes Undercover; Halloween Hunt; Monster Mess; Phony Clue; Missing Key; Snowy Trail; Crunchy Christmas
Narrator:John Lavelle

Imprint: Listening Library
Grades: K-3

Release Date: January 08, 2008

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Nate is a young detective who follows leads and asks questions about simple mysteries that require problem solving and critical thinking. Nate is up to the task and his family and friends learn to come to him when there is detective work to be done.  Lavelle narrates the series with childlike enthusiasm and careful pacing, giving listeners plenty of time to enjoy Nate’s adventures.  As a readalong, the illustrations add to the listening experience that introduces the mystery genre to a young audience. Young sleuths will want to follow this up with Nate the Great More Collected Stories and Nate the Great Even More Collected Stories.

Common Core State Standard

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

As a beginning mystery series, students may want to create a list of the characteristics of mystery and detective stories.  Listening Library has a special web page devoted to Nate the Great stories and there are classroom activities that can be used, to help build the list.  Also of interest as a follow-up to the Nate the Great stories is The Learning Channel’s Detective Activities for Kids, where both classroom and family activities are featured.

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Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss
Narrator:Various

Imprint: Listening Library
Genre: Juvenile Fiction – General

Release Date: May 10, 2005

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(Green Eggs and Ham is a Common Core text exemplar for grades K-1)

The inimitable Dr. Seuss’s repetition and controlled vocabulary is taken to hilarious new heights in this collection of nine popular Seuss titles. You’ll never think of Green Eggs and Ham or One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish the same way after you’ve heard Jason Alexander and David Hyde Pierce read them with just the right touch of solemnity and humor. One of the first authors to promote the development of phonemic awareness in his beginning reader texts, Seuss’s stories are perfect for the audiobook format, allowing young listeners to hear the rhyming parts of the words without the burden of decoding.

Common Core Standard

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

Word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring sheets and more are available at the Random House Kids website to extend classroom discussion of these Dr. Seuss stories. To find more online fun and additional information for educators as well as parents and students, check out www.seussville.com.

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Magic Tree House: Books 1-8
1:Dinosaurs; 2:Knight; 3:Mummies; 4:Pirates; 5:Ninjas; 6:Amazon;7 :Sabertooth; 8:Midnight/Moon

Imprint: Listening Library
Grades: K-3

Release Date: October 02, 2001

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Modern-day time travel adventurers, Jack and Annie, discover dinosaurs, mummies, and pirates, in these adventures through history. The brother and sister team are the heart of this popular Magic Tree House series and their travels introduce many historical topics as well as featuring a mix of mystery and problem solving.  From the introductory music to the author’s narration, listeners will become involved with each story.  The friendly structure, conversational tone, and easy cadence focus the listener on the simple sentences that are one of the strengths of these beginning chapter books.  Osborne narrates the characters with different voices, making it easy for young listeners to distinguish between them. Hearing the voice of the author provides additional interest for students in these stories created to promote the study of history.

Common Core Standard

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

History is the centerpiece of these stories that naturally lend themselves to investigating more about the topics.  The BBC History for Kids web site, has activities related to many of the Magic Tree House topics, such as in Ancient History, the Mummy Maker, and the Pyramid Challenge.  Even though this site focuses on British themes, there is a wealth of activities for young students.  Closer to home, the National Geographic Kids web page has links to historical subjects such as a book about A Pirate’s Diary, and dinosaurs.  The search option leads to a wide selection of National Geographic articles.

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