August means preparing for the new school year. Even now, many parents are trying to fit in a whirlwind of activity before September: last-minute play dates and family getaways, shopping for new clothes and class supplies, paying school fees and arranging car pools. Teachers are enjoying the last days of “freedom”…. or scrambling to get their classroom and curriculum in order! Children are experiencing a wide range of emotions about going to school for the first time or returning to school (as are their parents!). No matter where you are on the “back-to-school” spectrum, Keisha Ann Can! by Daniel Kirk is worth a read with your child.
Keisha Ann Can! provides endearing and gentle encouragement for students who are entering preschool-1st grade. It was a library favorite in our home this past week. I liked it because the title character is African-American and the illustrations feature a multi-ethnic classroom. The text had questions that made for a fun read-aloud with young children who can chime in the response line: “Keisha Ann Can!” My preschool-aged daughter liked the book because it spoke to her own desire to be independent. This week as I washed dishes, threw laundry in the washing machine and chased a messy toddler around our home, I frequently heard my preschooler turning the pages of this book while reciting lines or making up new ones altogether, followed by the exuberant title line:“Keisha Ann Can!” This picture book added lots of sunshine to our home for several days.
Join in the read-aloud fun with Keisha Ann Can! as you prepare for the new school year!
Best Age: entering pre-k to 1st grade
- Ask your child what he/she enjoys doing independently. After reading, discuss which things Keisha Ann did in the book that your child looks forward to doing at school this year.
- Have your child draw a picture of what he/she is looking forward to doing at school this year.
- Read aloud Keisha Ann Can! in the first week of school. Ask students what they have enjoyed doing so far at school or in your classroom. Record answers on the white board or butcher block paper.
- Look back at pictures in the book and compare what Keisha Ann does during the school day to what your students enjoy doing. Which are the same? Which are different?
- Create a class book of “_____ Can!” such as “Kindergarten Can!” or “Our Class Can!” Have students write one line of what he/she can do at school (or provide written statements in advance for students who are not yet writing independently) and allow students to illustrate their page. Compile and read through the book together as a class.