We had a great week of reading spooky stories in preparation for Halloween. Finding the right level of “spookiness” can sometimes be a challenge but over the years I have found some winners. Each class this week heard one of those and I think it’s safe to say they are ready for the Big Day!
Kindergarten–Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson is just the right mix of fun, rhymes, and a little bit of spookiness for Kindergarteners. We used visible thinking routines to predict the plot after looking at the opening page illustration and proceeded to find lots of words for word detective skills. We even got to see a dragon have a change of heart and decide not to eat witch with french fires for lunch!
First Grade–Splat the Cat wants to win the Halloween costume contest and, with the help of his mom, comes up with a great spider costume. It becomes much more spooky when his pumpkin lands on his head! Scaredy-Cat Splat, written and illustrated by Rob Scotton was a big hit with first graders. The illustrations in this book are fantastic and hold the interest of even the” wiggliest” first grader. This is a new addition to our collection and will be a favorite in years to come.
Second Grade–Porkenstein by Kathryn Lasky gave second graders a chance to practice three visual thinking routines–Plot Predition, Fluttering Feelings, and Word Detective. The sole surviving brother of the three little pigs has become a scientist and decides to invent a friend. After several tries, Porkenstein is created and although at first he seems like a monster, he turns out to be that friend in the end.
Third Grade–Some of our favorite characters are Wendell, Floyd, and Mona in books by Marc Teague and One Halloween Night puts the three of them in a spooky adventure full of magic and fun. At the beginning of the story they have a series of disasters that make them think Halloween night is going to be a bad one, but one by one they surprise themselves and each other with their sudden powers. As Wendell says at the beginning, “Anything can happen on Halloween Night……”
Fourth Grade–Fourth graders always love the Spanish folktale, Esteban and the Ghost by Sibyl Hancock with its haunted castle and a ghost that appears down a chimney piece by piece. Esteban meets the challenge of spending the night in the castle and ends up dealing with the ghost, a robbery, St. Peter, and a midnight deadline. This is a delightful folktale with just enough of the spooky to make it fun.
Fifth Grade–Bruce Coville’s Duffy’s Jacket is part of collection of spooky stories called appropriately Spooky Stores for a Dark and Stormy Night, edited by Alice Low. This is one of those perfect read aloud stories with great suspenseful rhythm and an ending that combines a scare and a laugh. Perfect for fifth graders.
Sixth Grade–Who better than R.L. Stine to write a scary Halloween story? Part of the above mentioned collection, The Surprise Guest is a little “darker” and tells the story of a haunted Halloween costume. I’m sure each sixth grader will a look inside their costume before wearing on Monday night!