February is a month to inspire students with historical fiction and biographical accounts of some of the most influential African American figures to shape history. My students are so drawn to these historical accounts that it makes teaching informational standards a breeze! I use these books to teach identifying firsthand and secondhand accounts, integrating information, interpreting quotes, and more. Below are my top picks for fourth grade for the month of February.
Martin’s Big Words
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport is a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told through quotes by Martin himself. This book is nothing short of inspiring.
In this book unit, students practice identifying details that support the main idea and interpret the words of Martin Luther King. I also introduce firsthand and secondhand accounts by showing photographs and videos of Martin’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Click here to purchase Martin’s Big Words on Amazon.
Through My Eyes
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges is an autobiography written by Ruby herself. This is a phenomenal book that includes Ruby’s story from her perspective as well the perspectives of many other witnesses. The book includes accounts from newspapers, magazines, teachers, photographers, and more. These accounts are truly eye-opening.
Through My Eyes could not be a better mentor text for teaching firsthand and secondhand accounts. With a variety of sources included, this book provides so many accounts for students to analyze and practice deciphering between primary and secondary sources.
To build background knowledge, I have my students read my “Brave Ruby Bridges” biography mini book before we begin our read aloud of Through My Eyes. We also fill out a K-W-L chart, which we revisit later to compare and contrast Ruby’s autobiography with the biography mini book. These resources are included in my Through My Eyes Read it Write Book Unit.
Click here to buy Through My Eyes on Amazon.
If you are looking for a book that inspires, look no further! Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull tells the story of the amazing Wilma Rudolph. After overcoming leg paralysis from polio as a child, Wilma grows up to become the first female American to win three Olympic gold medals in track and field.
I use Wilma Unlimited paired with one of my original informational texts about Wilma Rudolph to teach students to integrate information from two sources.
Wilma Unlimited is written much like a nonfiction narrative, which my students especially enjoy! It focuses on Wilma’s early life and overcoming challenges related to polio and the paralysis of her leg. My nonfiction passage focuses on Wilma Rudolph as a civil rights leader. It mentions the racial challenges Wilma faced living in the South and how it inspired her to become an activist.
I guide my students to find similarities between the two texts and find a big idea that both texts share. We then practice integrating information from both sources to write about how Wilma overcame challenges.
We then practice integrating information together with anchor charts and short passages, all of which are included in my 4th Grade Read It Write for February.
Click here to get Wilma Unlimited from Amazon.
Of course, I had to balance my February mentor texts with a fictional story! What better time than Valentine’s Day to build your classroom community with an inspiring book about kindness. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson will change the way your students view acts of kindness. This story is so moving, I honestly get emotional every single time I read it.
Theme is a skill that many readers struggle with in fourth grade. This book is an excellent opportunity for reteaching this important skill and helping students differentiate between theme and main idea.
I also like to take the time for class building after reading Each Kindness with my class. My students create kindness paper bag books, which challenges them to find ways to show kindness at home, at school, and with their peers.
Click here to purchase Each Kindness on Amazon.
Fourth Grade Reading – Read It Write February
If you’re looking for ready-to-go fourth grade ELA curriculum, Read it Write includes everything you need for reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary. Each month includes four books that are carefully chosen as mentor texts to help teachers optimize reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary instruction.
Included are daily lesson plans with plenty of activities to engage and challenge fourth grade students.
Fourth Grade Read It Write for February is available for purchase in my TpT store.
I hope you enjoy!
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