I love using children’s books as one of the first steps in building a classroom community each new school year. The Day You Begin is one of my new favorite books. Thi beautiful book is filled with Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and is such a compelling story. Rafael Lopez (he is one of my favorites) has illstrated this beautiful story.
Get ready to explore awesome daily reading comprehension activities based on this book that will jazz up your teaching experience. Oh, and we’ve got a special resource that’s going to rock your world! It’s packed with lesson plans, discussion questions, and more to make your life easier. Let’s jump right in!
The Day You Begin Book Summary
The Day You Begin is a delightful read-aloud book with a powerful message. Woodson tells us that the day we truly start living is when we realize that even though we may be different from everyone else, sharing our own stories gives us a special place in the world. The book centers on a young girl, Angelina, who is nervous about the first day of school. When she walks into the room, she sees different students who are not quite like you. It’s great to find new friends who are similar to us, but when we share our stories we realize we also have things in common.
With Woodson’s words and Lopez’s beautiful illustrations, they show us that being on the outside can be scary, but once we start sharing our own lives and stories, others will listen and we won’t feel alone anymore. This beautiful picture book caries an important message and it is the perfect way to start the first week of school.
The Day You Begin Activities Interactive Read Aloud
Each week we select a text and dive deep into discussing and thinking about story. We love finding young people’s literature that gets to be read again and again. The Day You Begin is a perfect book for the beginning of the school year (or for any time.) Through thought-provoking quesions, we can begin teaching reading comprehension even at the beginning of the year! Remember, reading comprehension begins with listening comprehension and this inspiring book is fantastic!
Visualizing Activities for The Day You Begin
As you read “The Day You Begin” aloud, we ask students to create mental pictures in their heads. Then, have a chat about what they visulize. Many elementary students get used to seeing the pictures in the read-aloud books the experience. However, asking them to close their eyes and make a mental picture is so important. Here is the discussion prompt for this activity:
- Readers visualize pictures in their heads. The author described how Angelina was remembering her summer. Draw and write about what you are visualizing.
Inferring Activities for The Day You Begin
New skills, like inferring are easily taught during our read aloud time. So it is time for students to put on those detective hats! We ask open-ended questions that make kids think and draw conclusions based on the book.
Get them to guess or infer how the characters feel, what they’re thinking, and what their experiences are like. It’s all about reading between the lines and discovering meaning!
Discussing the Author’s Purpose
Let’s dive into the author’s mind! Discuss why Jacqueline Woodson wrote “The Day You Begin” and what she wanted to say. How does the book’s message about diversity, inclusivity, and empathy relate to our lives? This activity will get kids thinking and reflecting on the importance of these ideas.
Students Make Connections with The Day You Begin
Making connections is a comprehension strategy that we can use with just about any book. Students may make connections to a similiar event in their life or another book they have read. Encourage students to share their own experiences and relate them to the characters in the book.
It’s all about finding similarities and differences, making connections, and understanding each other better. This is the discussion prompt used for this book:
- Some of the children in the book felt like they were not like anyone else. Have you ever felt like they did?
Writing Opinions for The Day You Begin Book
Each week we ask students to think about their opinions. This is a great way to expose students to the differences between opinion writing and other types of writing. Sometimes we simply ask them to talk and write about their favorite part. Other times we provide a prompt that is tailored towards the book. This activity will boost critical thinking and persuasive writing skills. Here is the prompt we used for The Day You Begin:
- Do you think, The Day You Begin is a good title for this story? Why or why not?
The Day You Begin Vocabulary Activities
Oh, and don’t forget the words! Throughout these activities, we’ll be shining a spotlight on some cool vocabulary from the book. We’ll explore words like “triumph” and “unfamiliar” together. Kids will get to understand their meanings, use them in discussions, and rock them in their own writing. Words are power, my friends!
If you are not familiar with teaching vocabulary along with your read aloud lessons, don’t worry, we have it all planned out for you complete with printable activities.
The Day You Begin Book Craft
We always like to include a craft in each of our read aloud lessons. Many teachers attach one of the response pages or sentence study to the art. We encouraged students to create their own watercolor masterpieces inspired by “The Day You Begin.” It’s hands-on fun that ties everything together!
The Day You Begin Read Aloud Video
Nothing beats hearing National Book Award Winner, Jacqueline Woodson, read her own book!
This New York Times Bestseller Book, “The Day You Begin” by Jaqueline Woodson and award recipient Rafael López, is an amazing book to use in with your young readers.
This inclusive story contains the empowering message of inclusivity and empathy. It is perfect for those first days of school when everyone wants to feel like they belong. Trying new things or being the new kid can be daunting, but this lyrical book offers some bright hopeful possibilities.
The Day You Begin Lesson Plans
Hey, we know you’re busy, and planning activities can be a real challenge. That’s why we’ve got your back with our amazing resource. Inside, you’ll find ready-to-go lesson plans, discussion questions, printable pages, and more for “The Day You Begin.” It’s like having your own personal guide to make teaching a breeze. We’re here to save you time and make sure your little learners have a fantastic educational experience.
You can find all of these activities by clicking:
Free Editable Lesson Plan Template
Would you like to download this free lesson plan template? Simply click on the lesson plan image below and you can download this file from my Google Drive… EASY!
More Lesson Plan Ideas
Here are a few more lesson plan ideas that are great from the beginning of the school year.
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Do you want to see a whole year of lesson plans like this one?
I’ve got you!