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They’ll huff & they’ll puff & they’ll become storytellers

Angela Burns’ East Oakview Elementary K-4 classroom for students with special needs wrapped up a three-week unit on all things Three Little Pigs by acting out the classic nursery rhyme.

Anthony Lafata is the big bad wolf

“Reading like a storyteller is an ongoing goal for my readers,” Burns said. “This activity allows them to retell the story using props and vocabulary from the story. Being able to retell the story with success gives my students confidence as readers and engages them in literacy.”

Burns uses the Read It Once Again curriculum she acquired a few years ago, thanks to a grant from the Northview Education Foundation

“The basis of the curriculum is to do repeated readings of familiar stories to support language and reading comprehension,” she explained. “We use an anchor book — usually a nursery rhyme — and then fractured or similar versions of that book and read them for three weeks.” Reading, writing, and even math lessons all had a Three Little Pigs theme. 

“I love hearing the kids use their storyteller voices to retell,” Burns said. “Hearing their big bad wolf voice when they say, ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff!’ cracks me up. The confidence and joy for reading that the kids have while they do it makes my day.”

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.


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