I use Corduroy as a theme for the beginning of the year. The outside of my door has a big Corduroy pulling a little red wagon filled with little bears dressed in corduroy overalls and dresses with eyelet trim. The wagon has "Corduroy's pals". Each student's name is put on each bear with an address label that sticks to the fabric. I also have an incentive program that allows one child with excellent conduct to take corduroy and his book home for the weekend. They record their fun activities in a journal provided and share what they write with the class.At the beginning of the year I give them a picture of a bear but only 1/2 is on the sheet. They draw the other side. (An eye opener for me) I created a book that summarizes the Corduroy book. The children draw pictures that go with the story to have a take home book. After my kids outgrew their stuffed animals they donated them to my first grade classroom to use as reading buddies. Children who would not read on their own will willing read to a stuffed animal.