Friday, September 13, 2013

Community Workers

I have a toddler story time every Wednesday at 10:30. (If you're a Fauquier County resident with children ages 2-3, or if you are a caregiver taking care of a child that age, you should join us! We have lots of fun.).  When I was planning my fall story time themes last month, I noticed that September 11th fell on a Wednesday.  Wanting to mark it in some way, I decided that this would be an ideal day to feature some of our excellent read alouds featuring community workers, focusing on police officers and fire fighters.  Since this is a popular theme for early education professionals and childcare providers, I thought others might be interested in these titles:

Fire Truck

Matt is a fire truck aficionado.  He lives and breathes fire trucks.  Imagine his surprise when he finds that he has actually turned into a fire truck!  Naturally, he does what a fire truck should do--rescue animals stuck in  trees and put out fires.  He has a lot of fun as a fire truck....until the smell of sizzling pancakes hits his nose.  Suddenly, he's back to his old boy self.  This also has a counting element to it, which can turn into a group counting activity.

Flashing Fire Engines

Although this is written for toddlers and preschoolers, it is jam packed with information about the parts of the fire truck, fire fighters' equipment, and fire safety.  A team of animal firefighters race to the site of a burning building and safely extinguish it (the word" extinguish" is actually used, which may introduce a new word).  Quite a bit of drama as the fire fighters put out the fire!


Like many toddlers, Margarita loves saying "Hi!" to all who pass her.  Unfortunately, she's not getting any responses to her greetings while she stands in line with her mother at a very busy post office. Her greetings slowly drop in enthusiasm until she shyly greets the post office clerk at the desk, who warmly returns her greeting.  I use this story in both my "Community Workers" and "Greetings" story time; it's a sweet read aloud with a multicultural group of characters.

Officer Buckle and Gloria

Officer Buckle and Gloria is a tad too long for my toddler story time group, but I couldn't resist adding this 1996 Caldecott Medal winner.  Poor Officer Buckle.  When he gives a presentation on safety tips to a school age audience, the children are so bored that they fall asleep.  Officer Buckle's dog Gloria begins to demonstrate the safety tips, much to the children's delight (although Officer Buckle is unaware that Gloria is doing so).  Officer Buckle is let down when he realizes that the children are more interested in Gloria's antics than his speech, but after he realizes that they are a terrific team, Gloria and Officer Buckle are back in business teaching children safety tips (not without some drama before they are reunited!).

Police Officers on Patrol

There aren't that many read alouds featuring police, so Police Officers on Patrol is a standard in my "Community Workers" story time.  Readers and listeners encounter police helping the community in various ways, from catching bad guys to patrolling traffic at a busy intersection with a broken stoplight.  The refrain, "Situation? Under control! When people need help, we rock and roll" is quite fun.

Trashy Town

I pretty much have Trashy Town memorized.  It's just that awesome.  Very simple, but with great text structure and bright yet simple illustrations; it's always a smashing success whenever I use it.  Mr. Gillie is a diligent trash collector in Trashy Town; nothing escapes his notice.  This begs for audience participation: "Is the trash truck filled yet? NO. Mr. Gillie drives on."  Since it also has a counting element, it can be used for a "Counting" themed story time.

What Does a Fire Fighter Do? 

I was happy to find this when I was searching for "new" books to add to my "Community Workers" story time.  I was hoping to find a read aloud with photographs of fire fighters, their equipment, and what they do to put out a fire (but not have pictures that were too intense for my toddler group).  This fit the bill perfectly.  The text works quite well as a read aloud; you can either simply use the captions attached to the photographs, or you can read the full text on the opposite page (or do as I did, and paraphrase the longer text as needed).

Now that it is September, the Mock Newbery/Caldecott/Printz blogs are all in full swing.  I added the ones of which I am familiar to my website lists. Look for them on the right-hand side of your screen.  The longlists for the National Book Awards will be announced next week, starting with Young People's Literature on 9/16.  Soon after that, we'll start seeing the "Best Of 2013" lists!

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