Book of the Week: It’s Catching — Head Lice

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

It’s Catching: Head Lice, by Angela Royston

Look what I discovered in the library office! A book ALL ABOUT LICE! And wait, it gets better! We have THREE COPIES of this book, so an entire grade level team could use it as a mentor text! I can’t wait to hear if this sparks any powerful conversations at collaborations this week. I can’t wait to bring it up at MY collaboration TODAY! Haha.

I ALSO can’t wait to see if we have any of the other books in this series (featuring warts, eczema, etc). Back in our school’s SFA Roots days, this book was originally paired with The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. (You can watch a video of The Very Quiet Cricket here) I think the pairing of those two books is awesome for several reasons:

  • The discussion of the differences between fiction and nonfiction.
  • Talking about why publishers choose to use photographs or illustrations.
  • Pondering why bugs in some books are seen as cute and in other books it seems like they’re included for the gross factor.
  • Discussing the positive and negative roles insects and bugs play in our lives.

Honestly, this is getting me very excited about our upcoming Insect science unit later this year. WOO!

Can’t get enough sweet books about lice? Check these out! Do you love Rookie Read-About Books? You Have Head Lice! is perfect for you. Interested in a spiritual exploration of lice? Try Head Lice… What Do I Do Now?? Looking to not be limited by lice? Learn more about other icky ailments in Tapeworms, Foot Fungus, Lice, and More: The Yucky Disease Book.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Practice common sight words and high frequency words. Chances are, students have never read a book on head lice before. Despite this, there are probably plenty of words in the text that they already do know. Talk about the idea that knowing a good number of sight words is particularly important in nonfiction text, where your comprehension energy will probably be spent learning new information.
  • Adjust and apply different reading rates to match text. If sight words aren’t a classwide concern, you might want to take this opportunity to slow down when you learn new information. Chances are, students who go to school are probably familiar with lice in a general way, but model and talk about slowing down and/or pausing when encountering new, surprising, or interesting information.

Behaviors that Support Reading

  • Work quietly. Head lice are pretty gross. Chances are, your students probably had a vocal or physical response to share while you were reading the book. Discuss and brainstorm examples of how students can express their emotions or reactions appropriately while they work independently so they don’t feel stifled, yet they don’t interrupt students around them.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

I have been itching my head throughout the entire time I’ve been working on this post, but let me affirm that I have NEVER had head lice. Additionally, HEAD LICE is the reason, ladies and gentlemen of my classroom if you’ve read down this far, that students cannot wear hats at school but teachers can. Students have a tendency to share hats, but teachers usually do not.

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