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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Can a PreK-1st grader be a good citizen?

Aren’t good citizens part of the life-long goals we aim for? We try to model and instill values such as honesty, fairness, life-long learning, social responsibility, etc. Yet, being the practical person that I am, I have to wonder if most of the didactic series on values are worth purchasing. Have you ever seen a student pick up a book called "The trouble with temper tantrums"? 

Along comes this deceptively simple Acorn series by Heinemann called CitizenshipYou’ve all heard the students say "That’s not fair…." Do they really understand the concept? Not my first graders. They need serious help before the world is ready for them. The book Being Fair alone made me give this series a second look. Simple illustrations. Positive examples. Questions to spark students thinking abstractly and concretely.

The title Making Friends is also needed with my kindergarten and first graders. We have some lonely children coming into our elementary schools who haven’t grown up in large families, never attended day care/preschool/Mom’s Day Out/Sunday School/Nursery School, etc. They have no idea of the social skills needed to make friends. You might recognize some of them. They want everyone to be their friend and cry when the world doesn’t go their way, but they truly have no idea how to "give and take" in a relationship.

I ran these by the guidance counselor who immediately wanted to keep them for her small group work. I asked some kindergarten teachers to try them out with their classes and they were a hit. The students buddy read them so they couild "remind" each other what they should do to make friends and be fair. WOW! Students applying the concepts of citizenship. 

The other titles in the series are just as important:

Being a Leader
Being Helpful
Being Honest
Being Responsible
Following Rules

Wow! Think of the impact on society if we all started reading these titles with our little ones. I encourage you to go check them out and start telling others about simple titles for "engaging early readers in content area learning" (what Acorn books are designed to do). What treasures are we overlooking?

I also appreciate seeing who the content consultants and literacy consultants are in the series. I’m all about the practicality of these big ideas so I appreciated knowing experienced teachers were involved in the creation. There were authors involved, designers, illustrators, and the content/literacy consultants. It truly does take a village to raise a child and to publish a good book.