On Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books this month, I have been reviewing books that I considered touchstone texts in my classroom. In the classroom, touchstone texts are texts we turn to again and again for various teaching topics. For example, I have been showcasing Cynthia Rylant books at Teaching with Picture Books. I often used Cynthia Rylant books to teach writer’s craft. Her book When I Was Young in the Mountains (Reading Rainbow Books) is a great mentor text to use to teach memoir writing, brainstorming topics, as well as to discuss moving endings.
This got me thinking. Are touchstone texts something we can use at home as well? I don’t see why not. In fact, our children probably make it easy for us. What are the books they turn to again and again and want read to them? What are your favorite books to read aloud to your child? With any good touchstone text, you know it so well, you can probably recite it in your sleep. I’m sure you feel that way about many of the books your children ask you to read. So why not use your family’s touchstone texts as a learning opportunity? Look through a family touchstone text and determine what teaching points you can touch on. Perhaps the text leads to making predictions or asking questions. Maybe it allows the reader to make inferences or visualize. Whatever the strategy, as you read the book over and over again, you are able to make each reading experience a little different then the last. And doesn’t that take away from the feeling of, “I absolutely cannot read this one more time!”What are some touchstone texts you read at home with your child? What strategies have you taught through these read alouds?
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