Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading Time: Bill Martin Jr.

A book isn't just a book! Each time you read to children, you show them that books and reading are important and that sharing time with them is valuable to you! Reading aloud is a stepping stone in the exploration of literacy with a child. Make it fun and use opportunities that the stories afford to ask questions that will extend your children's growth in literacy.

Bill Martin Jr. wrote many of the first favorite books that children everywhere love to hear. His book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?,” illustrated by Eric Carle, is a favorite among children and adults and has built-in lessons to help your child grow!

“Children in a literate society are fascinated by books and reading. From the toddler years, children are drawn to a parent's or caregiver's lap by the call of rich, predictable, melodic story books. Reading begins through the ears and through the eyes as children hear the melody of language and see the beauty of the picture book art. Reading aloud to children creates a loving and pleasurable haven as the adult reads the story to the child time after time. Love and repetition are two key variables. Art and language structure are two more.”
Michael Sampson, Ph.D.

Dean, School of Education

Southern Connecticut State University on

The obvious lessons, colors and animal names, are easy to spot as you read. Anticipation of “what comes next” and recall of the order of the story are two more things to explore. You can break it down even more to find beginning sounds and repeating words – all great skills for learning to read!

“Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?” looks at endangered animals, introducing new vocabulary and following the same sort of pattern as “Brown Bear.” Reading aloud with melody and rhythm gives this story a familiar sound, but with different animals – animals who are not as familiar – which is another area to converse about with your children.

“Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” puts a different spin on the progression of animals, as you listen for what they sound like, not what they look like! Working with these books as a unit, you can explore same and different, order and recall, and even chart the stories to see if any of the animals mentioned are the same or have anything in common. Extending the story helps children gain new skills for reading!

For an extension project, make a book with a single child or a group, in the framework of one of these stories ... use family members, classmates or friends for each of the pages and have the children illustrate and possibly fill in some words to “write” on each page – it will become a favorite!!

Listen to Bill Martin Jr. read with the melodic rhythm that he intended when he wrote it! @ .

Cozy up with all these great books, and the many others by this wonderful children's author, and spend some "quality time" with the children in your life! Have fun!

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