Gingerbread books! There are so many story variations, and I just can’t get enough! Students and teachers alike enjoy reading gingerbread books. During Gingerbread Week or a gingerbread theme in my classroom, we read different gingerbread books at circle time, always including The Gingerbread Boy, The Gingerbread Baby, The Gingerbread Girl, The Gingerbread Cowboy, and at least one more based on student interest and make a gingerbread book comparison chart. I LOVE making comparison charts for books, and this one has pictures. This way, my preschool and pre-k students can “read” the pictures on the chart and have book discussions with peers using the chart independently.
In this post, I am sharing some of the gingerbread activities we do in my class. You can grab all the gingerbread printable activities in my Gingerbread Centers Math, Literacy, and More pack, my Gingerbread Book Comparison Pack, and the Little Learners Gingerbread 5 Senses Science Unit.
We read each book many times! I am sure you are wondering how I can fit that in. My preschool classroom is open from 7 am – 6 pm. There are two circles in my morning routine and two circles in the afternoon. I teach the morning circles, and my amazing assistant facilitator teaches the two-afternoon circles. Reading and rereading books supports students understanding of story elements, fluency, and reading comprehension. It is always the plan to read each story multiple times, but as you all know, plans can change. When I taught half-day preschool, I was only able to read each version one time, but the books were in the library center, so students could retell the book as many times as they wanted.
This is what the chart would look like if you read all nine gingerbread books. Each year I read at least five gingerbread books. Some years students are obsessed, and we read eight or nine versions, and some years my students are not as interested, so I read five.
The chart headers are the questions I will ask students after we read the book. For the first reading, I read the book for enjoyment and to develop fluency. I tell students BEFORE I am reading to listen and simply enjoy the story! This sets the stage for why we are reading the book. Then I ask them questions to add to the story chart each day. If you want to reuse the chart pieces, laminate the pieces so you can reuse them each year.
If I am able to read the book a second time, I use the character cards. Before I read, we discuss the characters in the book, and I give out the character cards. As the characters appear in the book, students clip them to the string.
If I can only read each book once, I give out the character cards before we read, and students put up the character cards as they appear in the story. Then we complete the chart after we read.
During circle time, students noticed that some of the gingerbread books had the same characters, and some had different characters. We created a Venn diagram using hula hoops, character cards, and the gingerbread books to compare the characters. It was a great visual, so my students could see what characters were the same and different.
If you would like to add a writing and reflection component, have students write and draw about their favorite character or their favorite part. It’s totally up to you. I did this with my pre-k students for a small group for one of the books. If you teach kindergarten or first grade, students can journal after each book daily.
To wrap up our gingerbread book study, students voted on their favorite gingerbread book. During and after the vote, I asked questions about which had the most/least and how can we figure it out (by counting or visually comparing). It was an easy way to sneak in some math!
In my library center, I put all my gingerbread books for students to read throughout the day during our gingerbread unit. At my student vertical dry-erase board, I had each set of character cards in baggies. I taped the book card to the front of each baggie. In the corner of each character card is an image to match the book so students can easily put the cards with the correct book.
Everything in this post is included in Gingerbread Books: Comparing, Retelling, and Writing. If you want gingerbread centers, too, I’ve got you covered. Grab my Gingerbread Bundle, which includes the gingerbread book comparison kit and gingerbread centers! Get just the Gingerbread Centers here. Click on the pictures to go to other gingerbread posts!
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