I am always on the hunt for picture books to read aloud with my middle school students. I look for texts that enhance student understanding of standards and stories that my BIG KIDS will connect with. I love the book The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger for all of these reasons.
There are many benefits to reading aloud, and I am one of those ELA teachers that LOVES reading aloud to my students. I start each school year with favorite first day read alouds. Research shows that read alouds help students by:
- Providing opportunities to hear fluent reading and build vocabulary.
- Connecting them with different genres of literature to expand their personal writing.
- Enhancing their visualization skills, which can promote a love for reading.
- Improving their listening comprehension.
The Little Yellow Leaf tells the story of a leaf who watches as the other leaves around it begin falling to the ground in autumn. The yellow leaf is anxious at the thought of falling from its tree. Months later, in the midst of a snowy night, our yellow friend sees a red leaf that is also still hanging on. They find support in each other and let go together.
I like to use The Little Yellow Leaf for a quick lesson on imagery. While the book is about 40-pages long, it is primarily a picture book, so it is easy to read in a single class period. There are dozens of imagery examples to share and discuss with your students. Here is a free PDF mini-lesson you can download to use with your classroom.
Use this imagery mini-lesson to enhance student understanding of imagery. The task cards can be used in small groups, or to start a whole class discussion. I have also included an “Imagery Is…” interactive notebook page that can turned into a craft activity.
Beyond these lessons on imagery, The Little Yellow Leaf also provides opportunities for engaging journal prompts and writing assignments. Here are a few ideas I have used in the past…
The Little Yellow Leaf Journal Writing Prompts
- What does the author want the reader to take away from this story?
- What are of the different emotions the yellow leaf experiences?
- Has a friend ever helped you make it through an intimidating situation?
- What do you think happened to the red and yellow leaves after they left their tree?
You can probably see why I enjoy this book as a read aloud for my students. Despite it being a picture book for younger audiences, there are plenty of lessons it can teach older kids and adults alike! October and November are perfect times to share this wonderful story. Download the free lesson plan above and try it with your classroom!