When I was a middle school teacher, and now in most workshops that I lead, my favorite first read aloud is Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss (with some help from Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith). This book is not only perfect in its message, but a rich source for a mentor text.
It sounds like Dr. Seuss and looks like Dr. Seuss, but only because Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith mentored themselves after Dr. Seuss. At the end of the book, the story of how the book came to be is shared. See, Dr. Seuss wanted to write a book for teachers, to help them keep the faith in the face of standardized testing. So he began planning and sketching and listing in his writer’s notebook. But, he couldn’t get the story to come out. He used to walk around his office saying, “Miss Bonkers is driving me bonkers!” (Miss Bonkers is the main character in Hooray for Diffendoofer Day.) He ended up writing Oh the Places You’ll Go as he was waiting for Miss Bonkers to reveal the story. However, before he could write it, he passed away. When his editors found his writer’s notebooks (pages of which are shared in the back story), they decided there were enough plans laid out that someone could write the book. They approached Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith about writing the book Dr. Seuss had envisioned in his voice and style. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day is what was created.
So, how about you? What read aloud is your favorite for the first day of school? Take a moment and share in the comment section of this post.
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