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Benefits of Literature-Based Lessons

I am drawn to literature-based lessons. If you choose the right book, the pictures attract student attention and reinforce concepts. Using proper read-aloud techniques engages students, giving them practical experience with the concepts you hope to teach. In most cases, the literature-based lessons fill in any gaps in experience before teaching the lesson, thus placing all students in the same playing field.

Literature-based lessons can be used across the curriculum. See the examples below:


“Armadillo Ray” by John Beifuss introduces the reader to the phases of the moon.

“The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle describes the evolution of a plant from a seed.

Eric Carle’s “The Hungry Caterpillar” describes the life cycle of a butterfly.


“Even Steven and Odd Todd” by Kathryn Cristaldi illustrates what an odd number looks like every time Todd adds one to Steven’s of even collections.

“A Fly on the Ceiling” by Julie Glass and Richard Walz is a great story to introduce the Cartesian method of plotting points on a gridded map. The lesson could be extended to geocaching on your own campus.


David Adler’s series of books on notable historical figures not only give students facts to learn, but also integrate well with language arts concepts. For instance, the books on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln lend themselves easily into a lesson on comparison and contrast.

In “We the Kids” by David Catrow, the pictures encourage the students to infer the meaning of each phrase of the Preamble to the Constitution into language understandable by kids of today.


John Steptoe’s “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” and Fiona French’s “Snow White in New York” offer other opportunities to compare and contrast with the traditional Cinderella and Snow White stories.

Laura Joffe Numeroff’s “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” “If You Give a Moose a Muffin,” “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake” and others illustrate the structure of a circular story.

“Amelia Bedelia” books by Peggy Parish inherently explore the idioms in our language.

So you see, literature-based lessons lend themselves to teaching all kinds of lessons! The list above is just a starter. There are books on every topic at every level to introduce what you want to teach. They build the schema necessary to process your lesson to follow. Happy reading!

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