Today I read Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester to my first grade class. It is about a rat who has a hard time pronouncing the /r/ sound. I love reading this story because there are so many topics to discuss.
Wodney evolves from a shy rat into a leader by the end of the story. The other rats who bullied and teased Wodney come to appreciate him. More importantly, Wodney has found his own voice.
Various forms of bullying are represented in the story. Did the other rats realize that by teasing Wodney, they were bullying him? Camilla Capybara is another character in the story that represents the traditional bully. In the end was she bullied?
Wodney was deemed a hero at the end. Did that make Camilla a villan? What are the traits of a hero? What are the traits of a villan?
Wodney could not pronounce the /r/ sound. How would you feel if you could not do something everyone else could? Should we make fun of how people talk?
One of my favorite activities is the mystery cover. I used construction paper to cover up the front cover and title page. After reading the story, the class brainstorms possible titles. I then have the children create their own front cover. Once everyone is finished, I reveal the actual title and front cover. The children love this activity! It can be performed with just about any book.