5 Children’s Books to Use With Movement Props for Read Across America Week & National Reading Month

5 Children's Books to Use With Movement Props for Read Across America Week & National Reading Month

Did you know that March 2nd through the 6th is Read Across America Week? This week is the nation's largest celebration of reading. The National Education Association (NEA) established this week of celebration to educate on the importance of reading and its benefits, especially for young children and adults.

Not only do we have Read Across America Week to celebrate, the entire month of March is National Reading Month! We are excited for the focus on literacy this month and thought it would be fun to compile a list of books that can be paired with our creative movement props.

Keep reading for 5 children's book ideas to use with movement props along with a book by one of our long-time friends, Maryann "Mar" Harman.

5 Children's Books to Use With Movement Props National Reading Month Read Across America Week Bear Paw Creek Creative Music and Movement with Props

1. "Wheels on the Bus" Book and Activity With the Stretchy Band

Wheels on the Bus has always been one of my favorite books. I have the 25th anniversary pop-up edition of this book and it is so fun to read, children are always fascinated with the interactive pages and the illustrations are beautiful. One of the great things about this book and song is that it is perfect to use as a Stretchy Band activity! This blog post by our friend, Carole Stephens, talks about the different movements you can do with the Stretchy Band while singing the song. Here is a snippet to give you an idea:

Start singing the traditional song, “The Wheels on the Bus”, while moving the band in circles away from your body. Children will follow along quickly. Below are motions for some of the additional verses. Feel free to add your own! This is definitely a favorite activity in my classes!

  1. Wheels — move Stretchy Band in circles away from body.
  2. Doors — legs straight out in front, lay back slowly, then sit up (yep, it’s sit-ups!).
  3. Windows — move Stretchy Band up’n’down- up on the word “up”, down on the word “down.”
  4. Wipers — move hands/band from side to side.
  5. People go bumpity-bump –— shake the band and wiggle all around.
  6. Babies cry — knock fists together, then apart quickly on “waa waa waa!”
  7. Repeat wheels verse to end the song

I'm also linking a few videos below to give you a visual idea of how to incorporate this fun Wheels on the Bus Stretchy Band activity into your next music and movement time. Including one where we customized the song and made it a "Wheels on the Tractor". Get creative with this activity and have fun with switching up a few words and changing the movements. Not only is this book and activity perfect for Read Across America Week and National Reading Month it's great to use year-round.

2. "Tammy the Troll: A Dance in the Forest" — A creative dance book to use with movement scarves!

Our friends at Once Upon A Dance released an adorable book last year titled Tammy the Troll: A Dance in the Forest. We were so excited when they reached out to us asking about collaborating to make a set with the book and some of our creative movement scarves. You can check out the set here.

Readers are invited to stretch, spin, jump and more as they act out the journey to find Tammy. Kids are invited to use a creative movement scarf as a backpack, a paddle, butterfly wings, a towel, and a pillow to enhance the fun and explore the movements, dnace fundamentals, and early-learning concepts.

As kids move along with the book’s diverse characters, they explore levels, direction, spatial awareness, emotions, balance, movement quality, and more. Dance stories are a wonderful way to combine books and movement for kids who love both, making them great for Read Across America Week. Tammy the Trolls: A Dance in the Forest is perfect for dance class, creative movement play, physical education, or any setting where children are inspired to explore and express themselves.

3. "Shake my Sillies Out" (Raffi Songs to Read)

Many of us are familiar with Raffi's classic song, "Shake My Sillies Out".  When I ran across this book, Shake My Sillies Out (Raffi Songs to Read) on amazon I was so excited and thought it would be a perfect addition to our list of books for Read Across America Week and National Reading Month.

My first thought for a movement prop to use with this book and song was a streamer. We have several different streamer options from hoops to fabric wrist scrunchies, ribbon and chiffon, primary or rainbow! I can see each child or student holding a streamer while they shake, clap, jump, and wiggle their way through this classic Raffi sing-along book. You could also do this with movement scarves. Both the streamers and scarves would be less stimulating as they would be soft and quiet even with kids getting excited and moving around.

Another option would be egg shakers, of course! We have a variety of different hand instruments available on our website including egg shakers. While they would definitely add an element of noise to your music and movement time, egg shakers would be very fun to use with Raffi's "Shake My Sillies Out".

4. "My Many Colored Days" — A Dr. Seuss Board Book to Use with Scarves

Did you know that National Reading Month was started as a way to honor Dr. Seuss' birthday and motivate people of all ages to read every day? Once I found this out, I knew My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss had to be on our list of books for Read Across America Week and National Reading Month. This book is perfect for learning and reinforcing skills such as:

  • Color recognition
  • Identifying and exploring moods and emotions
  • Starting and stopping — motor control
  • Creating movements to match music and words

We have a kit available on our site that includes My Many Colored Days board book, IDEAS Music Color CD, and creative movement scarves. We have a group kit option as well as a small kit to fit your needs. You can check out the kit here! The music tracks accompany the Dr. Seuss board book and creative movement scarves. It can be used for both classroom and individual use. The music is also perfect also perfect to use by itself for exploration of movement, mood, and creativity.

5. "My Color Book" — Use Bean Bags and Scarves to Practice Color Recognition

Help children love learning by incorporating this colorful and engaging book by Kathy Schumacher MT-BC at Tuneful Teaching. The book is also a great accompaniment for learning sign language. The following signs/motions are included: my, color, book, sun, yellow, pumpkin, orange, sky, clouds, white, plum, purple, apple, red, leaping, frog, green, ocean, blue, acorn, brown, rolling, tire, black, everywhere, in, out, eyes, and look/stare.

The colors included are: yellow, orange, white, purple, red, green, blue, brown, black

By using a movement prop in tandem with the My Color Book, you can provide something tactile to further reinforce the color concepts. Our Primary and Neutral pack of Bean Bags would be perfect as it includes all of the colors listed in the My Color Book. You could also build your own kit of movement scarves by choosing the colors you need.

As you read through the book, have your child or student point to or pick up the corresponding colored Bean Bag or Scarf. In a group setting, you could pass out the Bean Bags or Scarves and as each color is read, whoever is holding that color could do a fun movement or just lift it up and repeat the colors' name.

BONUS Book: "Building Brains with Music: A must have guide on how to use music to enhance brain development"

Last but not least, I have to recommend this book by Maryann "Mar" Harman. She is a music educator with a Bachelor's Degree in Music and a Master's in Education, with an emphasis on Early Childhood and is a certified Level I Orff. These degrees contribute to her ability to write songs that are musically and educationally sound for children's music as well as fun and easy to use for teachers and parents.

This book is all about using music to enhance brain development and in it, Mar discusses how to use movement props with music to further enhance music's incredible benefits. Her book also includes access to 27 of her amazing digital songs.

We collaborated with Mar to put together a kit with different props and instruments to go with her book. You can check out the Music with Mar. Student Manipulative Kit here or click here to check out the book only.

I hope after reading this blog post that you are left inspired and maybe have a few more ideas on how you can use books with our movement props. If you incorporate any of these activities into your next music and movement time and share any photos or videos, please tag us! We love to see them. You can find us @bearpawcreek on both Facebook and Instagram. If you have any more book suggestions for us, send us an email at info@bearpawcreek.com. Happy reading!

Madison Stephens

Madison Stephens

Madison has been a part of BPC her whole life. As a young child, she and her siblings helped stuff stretchy bands and flip bean bags. Over the last six years she has become even more involved and is now an official BPC employee with the role of seamstress and social media manager. When she’s not working, you’ll find her spending time with family and friends, going on walks with her dog, working with horses, or cooking and baking. Madison feels honored to have the opportunity to work alongside her mom, Janet Stephens, and be involved with the family business.

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