Elementary Programs Chapter

Go Wild with Words

Books to Share

  • Alphaboat by Michael Chesworth.
  • C D B! by William Steig.
  • C D C! by William Steig.
  • King Who Rained by Fred Gwynne.
  • A Little Pigeon Toad by Fred Gwynne.
  • Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Alphazeds by Shirley Glaser.
  • Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
  • Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver.
  • Several Lives of Orphan Jack by Sarah Ellis.
  • There’s a Frog in My Throat: 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me by Loreen Leedy and Pat Street.

Bulletin Board

Words – Wonderful Words!

Center the title on a bulletin board and surround it with rectangles of paper on which you have printed multi-syllabic words such as “exuberant,” “prehensile,” “antebellum,” etc.

Riddle Romp

Use the “Wild Wacky World of Riddles” bulletin board idea described in the Celebrations chapter of this manual if you have not already done so.


Set up a display of books featuring jokes, riddles, tall tales, alliteration, and idioms.

Reader’s Theatre Script

Use the script for Readers Run Wild by Barrie Teague Alguire.


Alphabet Picture

  • Paper
  • Pencils, crayons, or markers

With Alphaboat by Michael Chesworth as inspiration, create a picture using alphabet letters as structural shapes.

Literal Translations

  • Paper
  • Pencils, crayons, or markers

With Fred Gwynne’s books as inspiration, draw a picture illustrating an idiom in a literal manner.

Illustrated Words

  • Paper
  • Pencils, crayons, or markers

Draw a word so that it looks like its definition. For example, the word “icy” might have icicles dripping from it, the word “fire” is drawn with flames leaping from the letters, or all the letters in the word “hairy” are covered in hair.


Tongue Twister Challenge

Print tongue twisters on slips of paper. Fold the papers and put them into a large bowl. Let the children take turns drawing a paper from the bowl and reading the tongue twister aloud.

Round-Robin Storytelling

Sit in a circle with the children. Start a story by saying “Once upon a time, there was a _____________.” The first child continues the story for a few sentences or minutes and then passes the storytelling to the next child. Each person takes up the story in turn. The last person has to give the story a conclusion. The length of each person’s speaking time can be flexible or structured by using a small hourglass timer.

Guest Speakers

Invite an actor, writer, poet, or language arts teacher with a sense of humor to talk about words, writing, and humor.

Web Sites

Arizona Kids Net: Activities and Resources for Kids and Parents

The site is a good source for jokes and riddles.

NIEHS Kids’ Page Double-Speak Proverbs

This site offers interactive jokes, riddles, and brainteasers along with “Double-speak Proverbs” for children to decode on-line.

Professional Resources

  • Funny You Should Ask by Marvin Terban.
  • I Am Phoenix by Paul Fleischman.
  • Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman.
  • Riddle Me This by Hugh Lupton.
  • Six Sick Sheep by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson.
  • You Must Be Joking!: Lots of Cool Jokes, Plus 17 ½ Tips for Remembering, Telling, and Making Up Your Own Jokes by Paul Brewer.


Texas Reading Club 2005 Programming Manual / Go Wild...Read!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011