It's no secret that I love using picture books in my classroom. I've written a post before about some of my favorite books, but I have so many favorites that I needed to share some more with you today!
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1. Harold Finds a Voice, Courtney Dicmas
Harold Finds a Voice is an adorable book about a parrot that hasn't found his voice. He goes around imitating other sounds, but he can never find his squawk.
I use this book with my Kindergartners for vocal exploration. After we read the book I have a parrot finger puppet that I give to a student to make "fly" up and down. As they are doing this, the student and the rest of the class show the vocal contour of the line being flown.
I find that this activity is easy to transition into having students explore their vocal ranges through lines, mountains, roller coasters, and other forms of visual representation.
2. Clickety Clack, Rob and Amy Spence
I use this book at the beginning of the year with my Kindergartners and First graders. The students enter the room on a "train" speaking the chant Engine Number Nine. This chant is perfect for teaching those comparatives such as fast and slow.
I use this book as a transition towards an activity with sand blocks where students start as a slow train and then gradually speed up and slow down. This book also has a great rhyme scheme to prepare rhythmic patterns.
3. The Pout Pout Fish, Deborah Diesen
Another book that has a great rhyme scheme is The Pout Pout Fish. This book is a little longer, so I usually use it for second grade. It pairs really well with Charlie Over the Ocean, too!
I've had students notice which phrase is the "refrain" and assign instruments for each of the specific words to create a percussion piece that goes along with the book. I've found this is a great way to get my students to begin to make choices that will help them when fully composing their own compositions.
4. There's A Hole in the Bucket, John M. Feierabend
This classic song-tale is one of my absolute favorites! I love using this book with any age of kids, really. It is a song all about trying to fix a hole in the bucket and all the tools and steps that would be needed in order to be able to fix it. Its a comical story and one of my kiddos' favorites!
5. Fred the Bee, Kali Barnett
I couldn't leave this book off the list! This book is a fairly new story by Kali Barnett. Kali was a music teacher for 12 years before leaving the classroom to run for U.S. Congress in 2019.
This story is about a Bee named Fred who is having a little bit of a rough day. I love it because it includes its own text set to the tune of Bingo. It also references Bee Bee Bumblebee, which is one of my all-time favorite chants to use in my classroom.
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Bryson Tarbet is the music educator and blogger behind That Music Teacher.