Attention Getters! (Using books of course!)

Attention GettersSo many stories become a part of the identity of our classroom. Don’t you just love it when you are cruising along in your classroom, following your carefully constructed plans (ha!) and you have a moment of spontaneous brilliance?

I make as many connections to literature as I can during the day. Read alouds are our favorite time of day. There is nothing like a solid piece of text to bring everyone together on the rug. One thing I happened upon this year is using references to our favorite stories as attention getters.

One day after reading Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes my class was particularly chatty while I was teaching (Can you imagine?!?).

““Listen up!, said Mr. Slinger!”” I spoke to the class in Mr. Slinger’s voice.

Instantly, everyone’s eyes turned to mine, with recognition on their little grinning faces. They loved it! They responded! I continue to use this attention getter every once in a while.

Another one that came to me on a whim was after reading, Listen Buddy! by Helen Lester. This one required some practice, as the students need to respond as part of the procedure. I like this one because it gives them a little time to be ready to listen.

Teacher: “Listen, Buddy!”

Students: “Who??”

Teacher: “You!”

Students: “OK!”

At this point, they are facing me, ready for anything!

The possibilities are endless! Choose a character or a story that really appealed to the students, or that became part of the classroom community while you were reading it. For example, this classic story has become a favorite after using it in several mini-lessons.

King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood

(* Adapted from the repetitive pattern in the book)

Teacher: Help, help, cried the teacher when she needed to teach. Who knows what to do? Oh, who knows what to do??

Students: We do, cried the students with a hear, hear, hear! Today we are ready to learn!


Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle

(*follows the pattern)

Teacher: Students, students, what do you hear?

Students: I hear my teacher talking to me.


Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester (or any in the Tacky series – they all end the same way: )

Teacher: Tacky was an odd bird…

Students: But a nice bird to have around!


The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Teacher: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot…

Students: Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.


And one more spontaneous mind grabber!

Hooway for Wodney Wat! by Helen Lester

Teacher: Woot! Woot!

Students: Wooty-toot-toot!

Some of our best attention grabbers have been accidentally discovered because the students were already responding to the literature in some excited way. If there is a part that repeats, or a part that the students are amused by and repeat out loud, then that is a perfect place to try using this technique. Look out for ways the text is connecting to the students.

I can’t wait to see what our class creates this year! I’d love to hear your ideas as well!

If you want a quick printable freebie of these attention getters, click HERE. You can post them, or laminate them and put on a ring for a quick reminder for yourself or a substitute!

New ideas and flexibility make us better every year!


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