Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The One and Only Stuey Lewis

by Jane Schoenberg.

Halloween and seasonal celebrations should tie in to the curriculum and not be an excuse for a party. Try something other than Halloween B-I-N-G-O this year. Read Aloud this story about Stuey's inventive caper and use the story to two important CCSS-Aligned Standards:

I think I came across this book at a school book fair when David was in second grade. There is one story, in particular, about Halloween. I think it is one of those perfect Read Alouds for second graders, even first graders, on Halloween. Stuey Lewis is the main character who comes up with an idea to collect as much candy as possible without breaking his mother's rules about not crossing the street. He plans to circle his block three times in three different costumes so none of his neighbor's catch on. However, he faces two surprises on Halloween night. The first is that his teacher, Ms. Curtis, is his new neighbor and the second is that Lilly, a girl in his class, thinks she recognizes him.

Early on in the story there is a reference to how adding -e to the end of the word makes a long vowel sound. The year before, Stuey misunderstood the note from Ms. Curtis to bring SNACKS to school and brought a SNAKE to school instead. This is a great place to stop and elicit examples from your students. Cover the board or cover a flip chart with examples. Give bonus points for students who come up with words related to Fall or to Halloween.

Worksheets should encourage students to reexamine the text. There are several great examples of compound words in the story as well as one or two which can be derived from the story. Halloween and its season also provide wonderful context for practicing compound words:

A Daily Language Review worksheet reviews the story and key grammar that students struggle with.

Even though part of me cringes when I read the word stupid in a children's book, the reference is realistic, and it is probably one of the parts of the story that my kids would laugh about. Brothers love to tease each other. I read it so long ago to David that I don't remember if he laughed. Let's see if Matthew will laugh at the Stuey-Stu-pid reference. This is a good place to pause and talk about teasing and hurt feelings.

Lastly, I always love a book that has a sequel. When you introduce a new story in class, you hope that on your children's next library visit, they pick something worthwhile to read. Make sure you've posted your Read Aloud titles (and their sequels) in your classroom newsletter so that if you students come home with yet another book about guinea pigs, parents can make a trip to the library with their children and choose something worthwhile.