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Build-a-Booklist
Your Guide to Introducing Monarch Butterfly Books to Students
(Back to this week's update.)

Introduction

How do you find the best books about monarch butterflies for your students? Which books will invite, nurture, and sustain their interest? The activities in this guide engage students in the process of building a kid-tested, teacher-approved booklist.

1. Hunt and Gather

What kind of books about monarch butterflies can students find and collect from your school's library or media center? Plan a "hunting and gathering" expedition to find out. Grab several empty book baskets and ask your class to fill them with books about monarchs and other butterflies.

Challenge students to find and collect a variety of genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, reference, anthologies and more. Make arrangements with the media specialist to check out all of the books. Display the books in a "monarch butterfly learning center." Provide time for students to browse.

Tips:

2. Read and Review

Provide blocks of time for students to read the monarch books independently or with a partner. Encourage them to record their thoughts and discoveries on post-it notes during reading time. After each reading session, invite students to share their post-it-note-thoughts with the class. (The process of recording and discussing thoughts will prepare students for writing.)

Place students in small groups. Showcase this sample book review adapted from Amazon. (Online booksellers are a great place to find and print more samples specific to the grade level you teach.) Use guiding questions that will help students explore the content and purposes of a book review. After exploring what is in a review and why they are written, invite students to create their own. See template for book review to get started.

Sample book review

Sample Book Review

Book review template

Book Review Template

3. Sort and Share

Place students in small groups and give each group a small stack of monarch books. Ask them to take a closer look at the books to identify what kinds of facts are revealed. Have each group talk about how they would sort their stack of monarch books by topic: life cycle, migration, habitat, etc.

Once the books have been sorted, ask each group to discuss and select which books they would recommend based on specified topics. For example:

  • Which books would you recommend to readers who want facts about the monarch's life cycle?
  • Which books describe the monarch's migration in the most interesting way?
  • Which books provide details about monarch habitat?

Have each group share their recommendations by compiling and designing a topic-specific booklist on poster paper. When the books are ready to be returned to the school library, work as a class to create and set up a display that showcases their booklists and reviews.

 

What kinds of facts are revealed in each book? How would you sort the books by topic? Possible topics:

  • Identification
  • Life Cycle
  • Habitat
  • Migration
  • Adaptations
  • Flight
  • Food
  • Conservation