Halloween is almost here, so it's the perfect time to use the festival as a learning resource. What better way to celebrate the season than reading aloud a ghostly story and using the story to start a ghostly literacy session?
Here are five ghostly picture books to share in your
home and classroom.
I am always asked about cheap ways to source books. I don't buy every book I use. Many come from my local library. We also have many wonderful little free libraries that I use too. We love exchanging our old books when we find new books we want. Many authors now read their books online, and we also use the ebook apps Borrowbox and Libby.
Ghostie is a truly delightful book with beautiful illustrations.
Ava is the little girl in the story, and she is bored. Mum and Dad are busy working, and she has nothing to do. As she sits, a voice from beyond tells her they are bored, too. Together, they have fun. After reading, we discussed the word 'ghostie' and used Post-it notes to make a family of ghost words by adding suffixes. We also made the compound word Ghostbusters. The word ghost is tricky because of the H. Discussing the H makes this silent letter come alive, and the spelling is easier to remember.
Post-it notes are an excellent resource for building words. Once my student had read the words and discussed the meaning, we added the words to oral sentences. Next, my student added some sentences to her little folded book. We often use little books in the clinic as they are more engaging than a piece of paper. The books can then go on a bookshelf at home to be read again.
Ghost Afraid of the Dark is the adorable tale of Boo.
A ghost who is scared of so many things. Boo celebrates his first Halloween with friends who help him realise that he is braver than he thinks. This is the perfect read-aloud to start a conversation about bravery, acceptance and friendship.
The Little Ghost who didn't like to be Scary
A tiny picture book that is just the right size for little hands. Layla is a ghost who knows she should be scary because that's what ghosts do, but she would rather play with her friends, and she doesn't like scaring people. This is the perfect book to read before looking at other words in the ghost family. We talked about the Old English word for ghost (gast) and discussed the 'how' and the 'why' of the spelling change. Next, we looked at the words aghast and ghastly. We added the words ghastly and aghast to sentences about Layla.
Layla is aghast she has to scare people.
Lasla thinks it is ghastly to haunt the castle and shout BOOOOOOO!
Layla thinks the other ghosts are ghastly.
Next, we used a ghostly paper doll cut-out to write some words and a sentence. Students can often be motivated and engaged with a change of medium. A piece of paper or a whiteboard might do just fine for most students. However, there are ones who need a bit more coaxing In the clinic, I always try to find ways to inspire more writing because a plain piece of paper just doesn't cut it for some. We have had lots of success with paper cut-outs and little books. This small change can make a world of difference to a little person.
How to Make Friends with a Ghost
This is the perfect book to start a conversation about a plan. This book is a whimsical field guide for use if you so happen to find a ghost. The second section, Ghost Care, was a favourite.
We used this book to scaffold making a list. The list was really a distraction as I really wanted to work on sentences. Sometimes, students need a reason to write that goes beyond the usual. Our list was all about getting ready for Halloween night. What do we have to do to get ready for trick or treating? How will we sort it all out? Each point on our list was a sentence in the style of the book.
There's a Ghost in this House
I am a huge fan of Oliver Jeffers. This is the most amazing book for all ages. The transparent pages and the ghosts that appear on every page are truly captivating. It is genius! Check out Oliver telling the story here.
After reading, we used the word ghost to build a family of ghost words on Post-it notes. Next, we used the words to add to sentences. A fun end to our session was to write a silly sentence on a ghost cut-out. Spelling instruction can be interactive, and it can be fun. We just have to use the right resources for the students. This little guy hates writing but was happy to use the ghost cut-out. I left a black ghost and a white pencil so he could write more words and sentences at home before our next session.
Want to know more about the spelling of the word ghost?