Blasting Off A Great Year (with No, David!)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

     One of my favorite books to start the year off right in primary grades is the David books by David Shannon!
Image From Kayla at The Chalkboard Garden
     At the beginning of the year, we are always trying to not only get literacy instruction off on the right foot, but we also want to set clear behavior expectations, too.  The easy readability of the No, David books (as I lovingly call them) paired with the engaging illustrations make for a great mentor text!

3 Ways to Read a Book Mentor Text

     When using it to set literacy expectations, it is a great book to read as a mentor text for a 3 Ways to Read a Book lesson.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Daily 5 and the Sisters, they have a mini lesson where they teach their students the 3 ways that readers might "read" a book during Read to Self.  They are:
1.  Read the Pictures
2.  Read the Words
3.  Retell the Story

     I like this lesson so much, because it really makes ALL the students in the room readers.  In one simple lesson, the emergent readers, as well as those who are decoding and reading fluently, can read and practice stamina. The two anchor charts below are both examples from my building using

No, David to teach the 3 ways to read a book.
This anchor chart was in Molly Surma'a kindergarten room, and actually has a picture of each child reading, using one of the ways to read a book, during their stamina practice.  
This anchor chart was in Stacy Rammer and Maggie Daly's 2nd grade room, also as an example of the three ways.  This one used illustrations from the books to demonstrate the meaning of the 3 ways to read a book.

       When I went into the 2nd grade room today, I saw their 2nd mini lesson about the 3 ways to read a book.  Yesterday, they went over "Reading the pictures" and "Reading the words."  Today, they were using a hand graphic organizer to retell the same No, David story and they modeled the 3rd way to read a book.  

Behavior Mentor Text

     The reason the No, David make a perfect back to school mentor text is because not only does it help teach some literacy behaviors, but it also serves as a model for behavior expectations.  David makes some poor choices, but he is a good kid.  He learns lessons, and he tries again.  Just like our students!  

     My building uses PBIS, and our first few weeks spend a lot of time naming specific behaviors that model our rules. 
Be Ready  
Be Respectful  
Be Responsible

     The anchor charts below are from our bilingual kindergarten class.  They used David as their model for bad behaviors, but also for good behaviors.  They then hung the charts side by side and had anchor charts for behavior in their classrooms.  
Ms. Gelacio's chart, just waiting for her kindergartners to arrive.

These are both anchor charts of the "bad choices" David made.  The first one is from Lucy Carrera's bilingual kindergarten, and the 2nd is from Molly Surma's class.  They also posted the "good choices"  David made as well.

These "Davids" were made by Sarah Berry's first graders.  They wrote the lessons they learned about behavior from David on the shirts.  

     Students come to school with so many emotions, and David is a very helpful resource when it comes to naming them and helping them pay attention to body language of themselves and others.  Below is a graphic that might help name feelings students' are feeling, especially during team building and cooperative activities.  Right from the beginning, if we train our students to be aware of their own feelings as well as those of their classmates, our rooms will be more conducive to learning. 

Image from Kayla at the Chalkboard Garden

Year Long Mentor Text Possibilities

     No, David is a mentor text!  Don't just use it at the beginning of the year.  Come back to it all year long!

     Think about it... If you start to think about all the things that, throughout the year, David can teach us, you will soon see it as one of the well loved books that keeps coming back, again and again and again.  Let me list a few mini lessons off the top of my head:

  • Fluency lessons:  Just imagine the fluency you can model with all the yelling, text sizes, and punctuation in that book.
  • Inferring character's feelings:  Our little friend David goes through quite the emotional changes through the course of the book.  Just look at his face and body language- they say so much!
  • Themes:  There are few books that teach the theme of compassion and forgiveness like No, David.  Just think about the end of the book when David's teacher gives him a gold star, even after his naughtiness.  Or perhaps when his friends are waiting to play with him, despite his behavior in school.  What a great lesson for our kids.
  • Character Development:  Read a few of the David books together, and you have a character study.  
  • Personal Narrative Genre:  This is an excellent example of a personal narrative.  David Shannon wrote the stories about himself as a child.  What a great way to get kids writing stories that are true about them!
  • Vocabulary:  The reading level for the book is in the first grade band, but there are a few good words that could be vocabulary words.  "NO! It's not my fault! I didn't mean to! It was an accident!"  Ask any young kid to define "accident" and you have a good discussion.  :)
  • 3 Ways to Read a Book:  The text is nice and simple to read, the pictures practically tell the story all on their own, and the kids love to retell this one!  
  • Rereading Text:  Kids are always so hesitant to read texts more than once, but for some reason David allows them to do that.  The David books are often the ones that fall apart due to overuse.
  • Voice:  One of our 6 Traits of good writing is found abundantly in the words of the No, David! books.  
     Thanks for reading my first blog hop post!  On to the next stop you go!


  1. Leah-I love your post, and I use mentor texts A LOT! You gave great tips, and I'm pinning this for later. Thanks so much!

  2. Leah, as always you amaze me! how and when do you do it ALL? Thank you for including Molly's and my charts. We will always be a part of the Hiawatha K Team!

  3. Such a great book and so many great ways to use it!! Thanks! What a good post to refer back to.
    Curious Firsties

  4. You're a fabulous literacy coach with amazing ideas to share, Leah. Thanks for an informative post! ;)
    Literacy Loving Gals