Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making Friends: Books to Read

Such a big part of the early years is moving beyond the world of self into the world of friends. Just as we learn many other concepts, our young ones need "friend behavior" modeled and practiced to get started.

Make time for interaction with other children - get out, go for walks, stop and check out areas where your children might spend some unstructured time with others. It doesn't have to be a special dance or sport or art class - although these can be great fun, too! The important thing is that your child gets a chance to mingle and learn what is expected behavior with friends and what isn't! Practice makes …
well, maybe not perfect, but better :)

As another strategy, read to your child from consciously selected books about friendship. There are so many wonderful books that allow children to see characters whose feelings mirror their own, giving them voice. For little ones, the Rainbow Fish books by Marcus Pfister are great, as are the Bear books by Karma Wilson. They have simple language and engaging illustrations, just right for teaching things like sharing, making friends and caring for our friends.

For older children, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a personal favorite. Children can see what bullying behavior looks like and sounds like, and will vow never to be like that! Chester's Way, another Henkes story, is also fantastic for friendship themes like taking turns and having more than one friend.

For a list of books on making friends, click on:

Reading about these themes opens the door for discussion - never let an opportunity get away to help your child develop these much needed social skills.

Above all, have fun with it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Great Halloween Reads!

Halloween is a fun time - and a fun time to read some GREAT stories!!

Two of my favorites to look for:

Too Many Pumpkins!
by: Linda White / Megan Lloyd

This story teaches on so many levels! Work on sequencing with the story of pumpkins growing, from splattered pumpkins to sprouts to vines, etc. Show how it becomes a circular story, with the seeds at the end of the book. The pumpkins' growth, despite not being wanted or cared for, is displayed through the book's interesting artwork and wonderful words.

There is also the deeper story of the book's main character moving from an isolated, unhappy life to having an entire group of neighbors who join her for Halloween festivities. "Too Many Pumpkins" is a consistent favorite with little ones up through primary grades.

Pumpkin Jack
by: Will Hubbell

Kids love this book! Any child who has had to throw out their pumpkin after Halloween will appreciate the way Tim disposes of his pumpkin - in the garden. It has great lessons about the after cycle of the pumpkin's life ... From a Jack-o-lantern to a mushy mess to a snow-covered mound. Then, in the Spring, new life brings Jack (and many others!) back to the garden! Great illustrations and  descriptive metaphors that kids can understand make this a book to treasure.

Have fun reading!!