Elementary Programs Chapters

By Bonnie Langan and Anne Neidinger

The Heart of Places

Books to Share

The Alamo Cat by Rita Kerr.

Bluebonnet at Dinosaur Valley State Park by Mary Casad.

Canyons by Gary Paulsen.

Fire on the Hillside by Melinda Rice.


This Land is Your Land

Sing “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie. The NIEHS Kids Page at http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/thisland.htm includes a MIDI and lyrics for this song.

Riddles and Jokes

Select riddles from Riddle City, USA! : A Book of Geography Riddles by Marco and Guilio Maestro.

Reader’s Theater

Time Warp Alamo

Let the children read the “Time Warp Alamo” script by Gayle Travis in Read Across Texas, the 2002 Texas Reading Club manual at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2002/manual/scripts/timewarp.html.

Stories to Tell

Tell Babe of the Alamo by Donna Ingham in Read Across Texas, the 2002 Texas Reading Club manual, at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2002/manual/scripts/babealamo.html.

Tell The Zebra-Riding Cowboy by Angela Shelf Medearis.


Travel Journals

  • Inexpensive or donated spiral notebooks of all sizes.
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Glitter Glue
  • Yarn
  • Buttons (or other three-dimensional decorations)
  • Cardstock or Construction Paper

Let the children create their own travel journals with just a few simple materials. The children cut a piece of cardstock or construction paper to the same size as the front cover of the spiral notebook, and then glue it to the cover. They then decorate the cover of the journal using markers, crayons, and glitter glue, and glue on the buttons or other three dimensional objects. They tie the journal closed with yarn, and attach a favorite pen to the yarn. Encourage children to write about their summer travels, even if they are close to home.

For more ideas for crafts, games, and activities, see “Texas Geography and Plant Life: Where is Where, and What Grows There?” at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2002/manual/elementary/index.html in the Elementary Programs Chapter by Gayle Travis in the 2002 Texas Reading Club manual, Read Across Texas!

Travel Journal - Folder with Buttons

Games and Activities

Poetry Time

Let the children select poems from In Aunt Giraffe’s Green Garden and The Frog Wore Red Suspenders by Jack Prelutsky, and read them in a round-robin style. Then, give the children paper and pencils and let them write poems about Texas.

Bluebonnet Travels Across Texas

Read one of the Bluebonnet books by Mary Casad each week throughout the summer. Discuss the place that Bluebonnet visits in each book, and bring other books about that place for the children to check out. Explore the Mary Casad’s web site at http://bluebonnetarmadillo.com/ for the history of each location and for ideas for additional activities.

Where in Texas?

Place a large map of Texas on the wall and let children place foil stars on towns where they were born or have visited. A United States map may be placed beside it to mark summer vacation spots and for those who were born in another state.

Six Flags Over Texas

Bring out books that show the six flags over Texas. Let the children draw or create them using construction paper or crayons. The six flags over Texas are: the United States, the Republic of Texas, Spain, Mexico, France, and the Confederacy they are included at the end of this program and as clip art in this manual.

Guest Speakers

Invite a representative from your local Chamber of Commerce or City Hall to tell the children and their families about the entertainment or recreational places available in your area.

Books to Display or Booktalk

Cowboy Stories from East Texas by John Lash.

Natural Wonders of Texas: A Guide to Parks, Preserves and Wild Places by Paul Cook.

Texas Outdoor Adventure Guide for Kids by Melissa Maupin.

Texas Family Style: Great Places to Go to Have Fun with Your Kids by Cassie Bascope, et. al.

Bulletin Boards

Enlarge and affix the outline map of Texas from Enchanted Learning at www.enchantedlearning.comusa/states/texas/ to your bulletin board. Add pictures of various places and landmarks in Texas, such as the Alamo, Big Bend National Park, Galveston Bay, the Fort Worth stockyards, the Astrodome, Palo Duro Canyon, Missions, cityscapes, parks, etc. Ask the children which ones they have visited.


Display pictures, postcards, or trading cards of places in Texas, along with related books. Create trading cards for Texas places using the instructions at Big Huge Labs at http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/motivator.php. This web site allows you to take your photos and make a poster and trading cards, and store them for your future use.


Decorate your programming room with pictures and memorabilia from natural and man-made attractions and biomes in Texas, such as Six Flags, Big Bend, the hill country, the coastal regions such as Galveston or Corpus Christi, etc. Display souvenirs such as pennants, postcards, shells, etc., along with books about Texas cities and landmarks.


Ask your local parks department, travel agencies, museums, Chambers of Commerce, and local businesses to provide free tickets, passes, maps, and travel magazines.

Film, Video Recordings and DVDs

The Best of the Real West. (200 minutes)

Big Bend National Park (41 minutes)

Professional Resources

Riddle City, USA!: A Book of Geography Riddles by Marco and Guilio Maestro

Big Huge Labs


This web site allows you to take your photos and make a poster and trading cards, and store them for your future use.

Bluebonnet the Armadillo


Author Mary Casad’s web site featuring characters from her books.

NIEHS Kids Page


This site includes a MIDI and lyrics for children’s songs that are in the public domain. The site is indexed and includes a search option.

Texas Parks and Wildlife


The ultimate site for Texas outdoor enthusiasts, including fishing, hunting, boating and park destinations in the State.



This is the official web site of the Texas Travel Industry Association and includes links to destinations, events, maps and downloadable brochures.

Travel Tex


This Official Site of Texas Tourism includes day trip planners and virtual tours of Texas.

Craft Materials

Six Flags Over Texas: United States of America

United States Flag

Six Flags Over Texas: Confederate States of America

Confederate States Flag

Six Flags Over Texas: Republic of Texas

Republic of Texas Flag

Six Flags Over Texas: Mexico

Mexico Flag

Six Flags Over Texas: France

France Flag

Six Flags Over Texas: Spain

Spain Flag

Texas Reading Club 2009 Programming Manual / Libraries: Deep in the Heart of Texas!

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

Page last modified: June 14, 2011