Dolphin Swimmers Literature

Mrs. Allison Andrews

Each week, the Dolphin Swimmers will explore a new story. I enjoy sharing not only classics and award winners, but books with great illustrations and engaging stories and themes. We will explore various authors, illustrators, genres, and writing styles. Each book will lend itself to a different lesson. We will discuss character, setting, rhyming words, alliteration, illustration techniques, describing words, word recognition, and more. These stories will inspire our own class books, art work, story telling and writing.

Session I – Author Study of Ezra Jack Keats

We will be reading books by author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats. We will learn about Keats’ writing & illustrating styles; his characters, plots & settings; and what inspired his stories.

Lesson plans may change slightly from week to week, depending on students’ needs or interests. If discussion leads in a different direction, we’ll go with it!

If you would like to find out more about Ezra Jack Keats and his books, play online games, or hear some of his books read aloud, go to

There are no reading assignments, but there will be “Something to think about/bring/do for next week, so please check each week. I will also send home any activities we worked on during class, so check backpacks. This will be a good opportunity for your children to share what they learned with you.

Week 1 (Aug. 31) Introduction to Ezra Jack Keats, Book: Snowy Day

Ezra Jack Keats’ characters were sometimes inspired by pictures of people that he found in magazines. We will read and discuss the characters, setting and illustrations.

Activity: We will look at magazine pictures of different people and imagine stories about them. If time allows, we will write out some descriptive sentences for our pictures.

Something to think about for next week – If you have a dog (or you can pretend you do), where could you go on an adventure?

Week 2 (Sept. 7) Book: Whistle for Willie

Who are the characters, what is the setting, what do you like about the illustrations?

Activity: Peter and Willie walked all around their neighborhood. Where would you go with Willie? We will write about and illustrate our Adventures with Willie. If time allows, we will read them aloud to each other.

Something to think about for next week – Do you have something special at home from when you were very little – maybe a blanket, stuffed animal, or toy? Come ready to tell us about it!

Something to BRING next week – Bring a picture of you as a baby. Put it in an envelope so no one can see it! Make sure your name is on the back of the photo. We will send it home when we are done.

Week 3 (Sept. 14) Book: Peter’s Chair

We will talk about special things we have at home from when we were very little. Do you still use these items? Does Peter still use his chair? What are some nice things about getting older/bigger?

Activity: Baby Face guessing game. We will see if we can match our baby pictures with our class mates faces. Who can guess them all correctly? How have we changed now that we are older?

Something to think about for next week What type of neighborhood do you live in?

Week 4 (Sept. 21) Books: Goggles! & Hi, Cat!

This week we meet a new character, Peter’s friend Archie. Discuss what type of neighborhood the boys live in (NY City, just like Ezra Jack Keats). Do you live in a neighborhood that is the same or different?

Goggles! and Snowy Day (from Week 1) won Caldecott awards. A Caldecott is given for a “distinguished American picture book for children”. Ezra Jack Keats used a unique blend of painting and collage to create his illustrations. We will look through his books and make a list of all the different types of materials he used, including newspaper, lace, fabric, patterned papers, and photos cut from magazines.

Activity: Think of an everyday place or object, and try to make a picture of it using scraps of different materials. If time allows, we will play a game with Exclamation Points (see the titles of our books this week!).

Something to think about for next week If you don’t have a pet at home, what kind of pet would you like to have?

Something to BRING for next week – Bring a stuffed animal. Keep it in your backpack until we need it in class.

Week 5 (Sept. 28) Book: Pet Show!

We will make a list of the pets people brought to the pet show, and what prizes they won. Do you have a pet at home? If not, what kind of pet would you like?

Activity: We will “show” our pet stuffed animals, and then make up our own prizes for each pet. If time allows, we will create a floor graph of our pets. What kind of pet did we have the most of? The least? The same number?

Something to BRING next week – Bring your address written on a piece of paper. We will be using it to send a letter to our home next week.

Week 6 (Oct. 5) Book: A Letter to Amy

What are different reasons we write letters? Have you ever written or received a letter?

Activity: We will write a letter to someone who lives at our house. We will learn how to address an envelope, and where the stamp goes. Watch for the letter to arrive at your house sometime next week!

Something to think about for next week – Who is your favorite Ezra Jack Keats book character? Why?

Week 7 (Oct. 12) Books: Louie, Louie’s Search & Regards to the Man on the Moon

We will get to know a new Ezra Jack Keats character – Louie. We will make a list of words and phrases that describe Louie. If time allows, we will draw a picture of Louie, and write a sentence that describes him. We will also discuss our favorite characters from the Ezra Jack Keats books we have read this session.

Something to DO for next week (optional)For the last day of the session, come as your favorite Ezra Jack Keats character. Think about what the character might wear. Maybe the character has a pet, or carries something that was important in the story. Be creative!

Week 8 (Oct. 19) A celebration of Ezra Jack Keats’ books

This week we will have games and activities that highlight some of the books we have read this session.

We will try to guess which characters our class mates have come dressed as. Other activities may include a snowball fight (Snowy Day), a whistling game (Whistle for Willie), pin the tail on the cat (Hi, Cat!), and maybe a few surprises.