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Giving Weekly Reader series for Grades K & 1

Today’s box to give River Valley Elementary contains Weekly Reader / Gareth Stevens Publishing titles intended for kindergartners and first graders.  

Months of the Year is a WR Social Studies set. ©2010 Containing between 142-186 words each title is written at Fountas & Pinell Levels H and I. I’m loving the reinforced library binding on these books intended for the toughest kids in school – the kindergartners and first graders. S&L Price is $198.00 or $16.50 each.

Months of the Year includes twelve titles, one for each month, in a smaller 7"x7" size which immediately signals these are for the youngest set.  These titles are for beginning readers and include basic information on the number of days, weather, the season, and special events like holidays. Since every kindergarten class and many first grades begin with calendar activities daily, I read these to see whether students would learn anything new each month. 

I was pleased with the multicultural photographs and events included. The October title included Diwali which sometimes falls in October. September includes Hispanic Heritage Month. May includes Cinco de Mayo. March includes Women’s History Month. February includes Chinese New Year (as does January) and Black History Month.

Since this is the month of November, I decided to look at November most closely. November includes mention of fall, harvest, election day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day.

Yikes! No mention of Native American Heritage Month. But then, May didn’t include Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month either. I might not have noticed but I was on the Smithsonian Education page and saw they celebrate all 5 Heritage Month Celebrations. I recalled the army celebrates each of those months so I wondered if this is the new standard for holidays to be included in elementary literature. I’ll have to examine each new holiday set in the future with this in mind. Need a website for an Interfaith calendar? Try the BBC’s Interfaith Calendar.

The two websites at the back of the November title have activities for parents and teachers to use. One links to Veterans Day Activities while the other links to Thanksgiving. I like the links to animations from From’s theme page, I found a Native American set of links that I’m busily checking in the background. I subscribed to the newsletter for Apples4theTeacher after perusing their resources on Veterans Day. These links are useful to a title like this.

The second set of books I’m packing are the Weekly Reader Science Second Edition "Animals That Live …" habitat sets by JoAnn Early Macken. Wow! Have they have vastly improved their covers?! 
New:  Previous Cover:  

Compare the old with the new. Which will a child pick up? ‘Nuff said. 

These titles contain the basic facts including a chart of Fast Facts of height, length, weight, diet, and average life span. I love being able to help the youngest students compare and contrast animal facts. I wish I could be there when the students see these books for the first time. They’re going to love them. I know because I noticed Carl Harvey was the library consultant for this series. He’s always looking out for the elementary learner. Here are some of the titles I’m sending.

Animals That Live in the Desert.

  • Coyotes
  • Gila Monsters
  • Jackrabbits
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Roadrunners
  • Vultures

Animals That Live in the Mountains

  • Bighorn Sheep (yes! we need this)
  • Condors
  • Cougars
  • Elk (yes! we need these, too)
  • Golden Eagles
  • Mountain Goats (Hooray! They included the big bovines.)

Animals That Live in the Forest 

  • Black Bears
  • Deer
  • Moose
  • Opossums
  • Owls
  • Porcupines

Animals That Live on the Farm

  • Chickens
  • Cows
  • Goats
  • Horses
  • Pigs
  • Sheep