One of the best activities we did on Read Across America Day was our Book Switcheroo! Each teacher selected a book to read aloud to a small group of students and prepared a follow up activity for them. Students were sent a google form with pictures of all the book covers so they could choose the one they wanted to hear, and during the last hour of the day they switched to the classroom where that book was being read. Teachers weren’t limited to only reading Dr. Seuss books, although many of them did.
I chose the book The Monstore by Tara Lazar. I thought it had a bit of a Dr. Seuss feel to it, since he was known for his imaginary creatures, it works with multiple ages, and I had a great idea for a follow-up activity that I knew the students would enjoy. After all, who can resist designing and creating their own monster!
As the kids came into the library, they were each given three tickets to save for later. Before sharing the book with them I asked who had younger brothers or sisters (most did) and we discussed how pesky they can be. After the story – which they thoroughly enjoyed – the kids all sat down at a table while I explained that I had a Monstore set up for them to visit. At my Monstore they could use one ticket for a piece of colored card stock, and with the remaining two tickets they could purchase “monster parts” for an original creation.
Choices included googly eyes, pipe cleaners, yarn, glitter, fancy-edged scissors, etc. Each table was also given a caddy with regular scissors, markers, and glue.
As I expected, the students were wildly inventive with their monster ideas, and by limiting the number of add-on’s they could purchase we avoided copycat creations. I realized afterwards that this would also be a great Makerspace or Learning Center activity for students.
Library bulletin board featuring our Monstore monsters. Click to enlarge.
If you’d like to use The Monstore in your library or classroom, visit the book’s official homepage for a free teacher’s guide, as well as additional ideas and links. If you have other suggestions for sharing this book, please leave a comment!