Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If You Read A Kid A Story ...

Kids love the style of Laura Numeroff - her characters are cute and interesting to look at and her stories get them involved in predicting what comes next - which they LOVE! There are so many things you can do to get them involved in the story ... and, when they do more than just read or get read to, they learn more!

For example, look at the Laura Joffe Numeroff books, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie", “If You Give A Moose A Muffin,” etc. You and your child should notice the circular nature of these stories - they end with the thing they start with! The concept of the circular story is one that kids can identify - "play" with this idea and they will remember it!

Here's what you can do:  Draw pictures of the different parts on index cards, or use a copier to make picture cards and then lay them in a circular, clock-wise pattern to get back to the beginning of the story. Model this for your child ... "First, I remember, he asked for a glass of milk....hmm, what came next..."  Mix up the cards and have your child decide "what comes next" while walking around a table or by placing in a circle on the floor - this is great for recall and retelling a story! Make sure you get all the way around and back to the beginning!

While this concept is one that teachers do with elementary students, it works with younger children, too! When we’ve tried this in Pre-K, just about every child who experienced this could tell what a circular story was after that!

When you're reading a particular author, check out their websites if you can - often there are coloring sheets  and other projects to go with different stories! There is a link to this author at the bottom of my blog page. :)

If you read these circular stories in a bunch, as an author study, your children will recognize the characters and story style and you can have conversations about things that are the same and different, about sequence in a story (what comes next?) and about using pictures to predict things in a story ... all great literacy projects!

Sharing with your child and watching "the lights go on" as they start to put these things together is so great - and it's free entertainment - use your library to assemble a group of books and dive in!

I like to do a science lesson that is circular in nature alongside this particular author study. Little ones as young as four can get the concept of the water cycle - and we're getting into the rainy season of spring! Talk about how the rain comes down, fills up the rivers, oceans, etc., evaporates in the sun's heat, gathers in the clouds, comes down as rain, etc. Next time it rains, catch a little in a clear plastic container, measure it and mark it with a permanent marker and then place it outside when the sun comes out - see what happens!

You know they're really listening and understanding when they figure out that the water cycle is a "circular story" ...  exciting learning going on here!

Have fun!

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