Farmer Duck is an award winning book suitable for children of any age, but, for shared reading purposes, it is suitable for children from K1-P3. It is the story about a duck, who does all the work on the farm. The lazy old farmer sits all day in bed, eating chocolates and reading the paper. Farmer Duck wakes up at the crack of dawn and does everything on the farm as well as the housework, rain or shine, he's on the go doing something. Finally, he collapses, exhausted and drained. His animal friends hatch a plan to make it all right. Martin Waddell's simple and funny way of telling the story, together with artwork by Helen Oxenbury keep the children motivated. There is a chant line in the story, which the children enjoy saying and there is a sense of justice achieved towards the end, which makes it a feel-good book. (Thankfully the more realistic Orwell's Animal Farm is suitable for children who are much older *chuckle*...they have plenty of time to face the harsh realities of life) It also puts forward good values of burden-sharing and collegiality.
The book is available in small format as well as big book. There are many videos available as well, in my class we use the teacher-made video. The purpose of the video was to help children who didn't have adults reading for them at home.
The story is read aloud by the teacher, the children pipe in with 'How goes the work?' 'Quack!'.
This story has a lot of grammar points, most obvious are adjectives (describing Duck and Lazy Farmer, describing the Farm, pre-revolution and post-revolution, for example).
In my class we followed the reading with a 'quiz' where children had to drag boxes onto relevant parts of the picture. Children go up to the board and drag the boxes themselves. Here is a .pdf of the activity. The original activity is in .flipchart format, but it can also be done in PowerPoint, if one finds the time and space to do it. Activity construction is quite time consuming, but also rewarding as one can re-use from one year to another.
The activity, coupled with laminated resources found on Sparklebox and twinkl will get the children all excited to start the written activities. In year three we do a 'Certificate for Farmer Duck', writing the story in their own words in a booklet, a WANTED poster for the lazy farmer and a comic strip, where they have to write direct and indirect speech in different boxes.
All these make a lovely display board, which the children can look at and read each other's work.
Here are some photos from the 2012/13 Farmer Duck work, all done during the IT sessions.