Booklist: Worms on the Sidewalk, Books for Shared Reading

Booklist: Worms on the Sidewalk, Books for Shared Reading

Ground Hog Day’s Punxsutawney Phil may get the notoriety for heralding the onset of spring, but to me the surest sign of spring is worms on the sidewalk.  My mother is a gardener, so I grew up respecting worms and using gardening gloves to move them from the sidewalk to soil.

My favorite worm book is Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin with pictures by Harry Bliss. This book inspired son #2’s summer project of a DIY worm composting bin. Due to only having a small patio, we couldn’t winterize the worms and set them free in the fall in time for their dormant stage. The azalea bush is still grateful. When granddaughter #1 is ready, I will probably pair that book reading with the nonfiction book We Dig Worms! — words and pictures by Kevin McCloskey — because they share the same cartoon style illustrations. Bonus: both authors are from Pennsylvania where we live.

 

Before Shared Reading: Set the Stage

Select a good time, these books are perfect to read during a rainy day.  Get comfortable and cozy; proximity is important because in a shared reading experience you want everyone to be able to see all the pictures and the words. The book should be within reaching distance so your child can help turn the pages (when appropriate by skill and age).

Point out the names of the author and illustrator on the book cover. This will build the concept that books are created by people and will subtly reinforce your own child’s agency in creating pictures and stories.

 

During Shared Reading: Be Dramatic and Go for an Encore

It’s time to let your inner Oscar, Emmy, Tony or Golden Globe out. Use funny voices and encourage your child to add in sound effects.

During the first couple of read throughs you might want to stick to the main text. For repeated readings take time to explore the dialog balloons or side text boxes; move your along the words to show that you where your are on the page. Ask questions (who, what, where, why, & how) to check your child’s comprehension for the plot and character or factual information.

 

After Shared Reading: Engage in Activities

Find a few worms to observe in a jar with local soil (potting soil may not have enough compost nutrients for them) for a couple of days. Feed them small bits of compost material (for example: leftover vegetable leaves) and lightly spray the soil with water.  Also, make a wrap around sleeve of cardboard for darkness when you aren’t observing them. (See the nonfiction books on earthworms, they don’t have eyes but do have light sensitive cell receptors) Like a any good scientist, encourage your child to take dated field notes (pictures, dictation, bullet points) or like the worm in the book keep a diary for the time you have your wormy guests. Besides observing them, there are a few experiments you can try with your worms. For example, while on a tray place the worm in front of wet paper towel and a dry paper towel, in which direction will your worm move? After a few days, do the capture/release or search & rescue (if you saved them from a wet sidewalk) and set them free because the earth needs worms in the environment.

 

Booklist: Worms on the Sidewalk, Books for Shared Reading

Diary of a Worm

Words by Doreen Cronin and Pictures by Harry Bliss

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

With humor and clever cartoons, this book takes you through the day to day life of a young worm. There is also an easy reader spin-off in the I Can Read series that extends your stay in this setting as well as a companion picture book Diary of a Spider.

 

 

Best Lowly Worm Book Ever!

Words and Pictures by Richard Scarry

Picture Book Fiction Ages 3 – 7

Nostalgia for grown-ups and new adventures for children, readers follow Lowly Worm as he rides around in his apple car on a busy day. Plenty of details in the pictures will keep children engaged during re-reads. Huck Scarry completed the book making process for his dad.

 

How to Eat Fried Worms

Thomas Rockwell

Chapter Book Ages 8 – 12

Two boys make a bet that forces one of them to eat a worm each day for 15 days in a row. Lots of dialog makes for a great read aloud. There is a 2006 movie adaptation with a PG rating, for more on the movie see https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/how-to-eat-fried-worms

It’s a Good Thing There Are Earthworms

Words by Jodie Shepherd

Illustrated Book Nonfiction Ages 4 – 8

Basic introduction to earthworms with photographs for up close illustrations.  Also see similar photographic works: Earthworms, by Lisa J. Amstutz; Earthworms, by Nikki Bruno Clapper; Earthworms, by Claire Llewellyn and Barry Watts.

 

Snail and Worm Again!

Words and Pictures by Tina Kügler

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 9

Geisel Honor Winner

Snail and Worm are friends, share three stories about their friendship. The mini-chapters can be read by new readers on their own. There is a previous work with the same duo, Snail & Worm. Also see, Wiggle and Waggle, a beginner chapter book by Caroline Arnold that features the friendship between two worms.

 

The Story of Silk: From Worm Spit to Woven Scarves

Words and Photography by Richard Sobol

Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 6 – 9

The author/photographer shares his trip to a village in Thailand, where all the town’s people including the children work together to produce cloth from silk worms.  Pair this travel story with How to Eat Fried Worms, because there is a photograph of villagers eating boiled silkworms with their lunch, nothing gets wasted in this culture.

 

 

We Dig Worms!

Words and Pictures by Kevin McCloskey

Graphic Novel Nonfiction Ages 5 – 7

School Library Journal’s Top 10 Graphic Novels 2015

Shares facts about worms with a focus on how earthworms aid in plant growth with their tunnels and castings. In the back of the book, the author shares great tips on how to read comics with kids.

 

Wiggling Worms at Work

Words by Wendy Pfeffer 

Pictures by Steve Jenkins

Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 4 – 8

Basic presentation of a worm life cycle and facts with interesting torn paper collage illustrations. Back of the book suggests experiments for observing worms in their environment. For a similar book, see Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard; Words by Nancy Loewen and Pictures by Rick Peterson (Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 4-8)

 

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer

Words by Carol Brendler

Pictures by Ard Hoyt

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

Our spunky heroine, Winnie Finn is on a quest to enter her worm friends in the Quincy County Fair, even if there is no category for worms. See the back of the book for advice on starting a family worm farm.

 

The Worm (Disgusting Critters Series)

Words and Pictures by Elise Gravel

Picture Book Nonfiction, Part of a Series  Ages 6 – 9

With humor, a worm introduces himself to the readers, along with a variety of worm facts.  The cartoon illustrations will pair well in a read along with Diary of a Worm.

 

Worm Weather

Words by Jean Taft

Pictures by Matt Hunt

Picture Book Ages 3 – 5

In rhyming verse, two children play in rain as worms underground raise up to explore the wet ground.

 

Superworm

Words by Julia Donaldson and Pictures by Axel Scheffler

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

Superworm saves his friends, the toads, the bees, and the beatles, however, when Superworm is caught by the wicked Lizard wizard, it’s time for Superworm’s friends to save him.

 

Yucky Worms

Words by Vivian French

Pictures by Jessica Ahlberg

Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8

Bridges the gap between a fiction and nonfiction book. While gardening, a grandmother explains to her grandson the importance of worms, so this book provides an overview of worm facts within a gentle setting.

If you like this booklist, then see

Booklist: Spring Books for Shared Reading with Children

Recommend your favorite book with worms here