Have you read Stuck by Oliver Jeffers? It is hilarious! My children received it as a gift recently and we read it together many times over the next few days (and if you are a parent too, you know that by “many times” I mean at least 1000 times). SPOILERS – Stuck is about a boy who gets his kite stuck in a tree. He spends the book trying to get the kite down by throwing various objects up at it. What my kids and I especially enjoy about the story is how the boy takes objects that could immediately solve the problem (ie., a ladder that could be used to climb up the tree, or a saw that could be used to cut down the tree) and instead simply throws them up at the kite to dislodge it from the tree’s grasp.
Not content to simply enjoy a kids book at face value, I found myself thinking about Stuck and how it could be useful in my middle school classroom. I thought about how the boy in the story was locked into a single mode of problem-solving: the only way to get the kite down from the tree was to throw things at it. The boy was so locked in that he failed to see how objects like the ladder could solve the problem, but only if used in a different manner. What a great lesson in problem solving.
Later, I thought about other board books I’ve read to my kids over the years and how many of them contain valuable lessons for children of all ages. I thought about The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith and how it plays with point-of-view. A Social Studies teacher could underscore a lesson on employer/employee relations using Click, Clack, Moo – Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin. And, many a high school senior gets a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! as a graduation gift.
I know that my students, even though they are lofty 8th graders, are still kids at heart and would really enjoy some good old carpet time – especially with teacher reading them a great story.
Do you use board books with older students? What books can you recommend? We would love to hear from you and get some idea-sharing going!