Once upon a twice, in the middle of the nice, in a middle school classroom, the students had fun during the week of the PSSAs.
This is not a fairy tale.
But, it does involve a picture book.
It was a book I had forgotten about until retreated by to my familiar and well loved Columbia University Teacher’s College notebooks— it’s where I go when teaching gets hard, because I know if I have the motivation and the joy, my kids will too.
I saw the title, Once Upon a Twice, scribbled across the top of the page, with the words BUY THIS BOOK written in bold and underlined near it. I hadn’t bought the book, but I did remember this youtube video of a five year old reading it.
I also remembered my frustration the first time I had heard this story read to me, the rhythm and rhyme were beautiful, but hard for me to follow and my comprehension was hindered by made up words and out of context places for words with which I was familiar.
And then I remembered the third read of the book at Columbia, when I sorta’ fell in love with this book and it’s whimsy, “a riskarascal in repose, a mouse who stopped—to smell a rose.” I resolved right then that I would read the book to talk to my kids about a time when I, as an adult, struggled with a children’s book.
There is no better time to admit to your kids that reading is sometimes hard for you than during the PSSA. So I ordered the book from Amazon, and we set off to discover a book that at first had stumped me and then had me under its spell. There were giggles, laughs, gasps, and . . . I have to admit it learning—even during the week of the PSSA.
If you’re looking for a book to read to your kids of any age I’m totally recommending Once Upon a Twice by Denise Doyen.
Here are the strategies things I would teach with it . . .
- Vocab in Context
- Root words, Prefix, Suffix work
- Really anything you can think of vocabulary
- What to do when reading doesn’t make sense
- And for the little guys, using pictures to help with comprehension