Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Picture Walks with Preschoolers

Preschoolers love doing picture walks through their books. A picture walk is browsing through an illustrated book to look and talk about the pictures.  To begin, choose familiar board books and revisit them through a picture walk.  Focus on the pictures rather than the printed story.  Ask your child to tell the story by using the pictures.  

Introduce new books by taking the time to look at each page’s illustrations before reading the book.  When you do pick the book up again to read, ask your child if the pictures helped tell the story.  Picture walks help children visualize and predict story plots.  We love doing picture walks to just have fun with books!

Question Collection:

*Are there any clues in the pictures that help you predict what’s going to happen next?
*Do any of the characters look like people you know?
*Which picture books are your favorites?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Picture Walks with Babies and Toddlers

Picture walks are fun ways to use books with babies and toddlers.  A picture walk is browsing through an illustrated book to look and talk about the pictures.  This lays the foundation for children to use visualization as they later learn to read by themselves.  It’s also just fun to look at pictures and enjoy the story without the words at times.

With babies and toddlers you can extend the learning by noting the color of objects, counting items, noting the position of objects, and/or naming animals.  As children begin to retell familiar stories they can use the pictures to help guide them.  It’s also fun to use pictures and tell a different story than what the author has written.  We rename the characters with familiar family names making each story more personal.  Enjoy the pictures in your children’s books!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks

Learning to be thankful is a character trait we all can learn.  Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks, by Margaret Sutherland, is a thoughtful book that can be read and enjoyed by children and parents.  The illustrations by Sonja Lamut add to the simple beauty of the story.  As a parent I particularly enjoy the explanations that accompany the thankful listings.  As we try to get our children to articulate what they are thankful for, it’s important we help them tell why.  This book is a great way to explore giving thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Question Collection:

*Are you thankful for any of the things that are listed in the book?
*What things are you thankful for that aren’t listed?  Why?
*Which people have you told you’re thankful for them?
*How do you show you’re thankful?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

T is for Turkey

Alphabet books are a favorite in our home library.  They were a great way to learn the alphabet and now have become a great way to introduce those early learning skills.  After several rereadings of alphabet books children can read “A is for…” that appear in most alphabet books. 

A recently discovered alphabet book for us is T is for Turkey, by Tanya Lee Stone.  This book uses the alphabet to teach children facts about the history of Thanksgiving.  We’ve discussed that although Abraham Lincoln is in this book, he wasn’t with the Pilgrims---he was the President who established the first Thanksgiving.  There are other examples that will require explanation, but we’ve learned more about Thanksgiving by reading this book.

Question Collection:

*What did you learn about Thanksgiving?
*Which picture in the book did you like best?
*What can you do to help others have a good Thanksgiving? 

Read more children's ABC books here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Behind the Scenes--Question Collection

Our family loves to read!  We are always looking for new books while also enjoying our favorites.  We like to make reading aloud an interactive endeavor between the participants.  A quick search on the Web always locates literacy ideas to extend book enjoyment.  We enjoy those ideas, but our focus is on reading and interaction between the reader and listener.  Our Question Collection ideas that follow each book review are ways to enjoy a book and dialogue between family members.  We hope that our questions will help you and your family enjoy the books you read.  We invite you to add questions that will help others as they fall in love with reading!

Five Silly Turkeys

Indoor kinesthetic activities are important for young children during inclement weather.  We love reading and acting out Five Silly Turkeys, by Salina Yoon.  Bright colors, rhyming words, and the crinkly feathers that turn with each page make this a fun book for young children.  It is a much requested book in our reading time and has quickly become one we’ve memorized! 

Question Collection:

*Which page is the silliest to you?
*Can you find the rhyming words for the numbers?
*Which activity would you like to do most?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Littlest Pilgrim

Children love to help!  During the busyness of holiday preparation it can be easy to overlook how children want to help, but may not know how.  The Littlest Pilgrim, by Brandi Dougherty, explores this feeling through Mini, the Littlest Pilgrim.  Mini’s determination in finding a way to help can provide a role model for children to never give up.   There’s also a subtle lesson for parents in this book about listening to children!

Question Collection:

*How did Mini finally find a way to help?
*Did you think Mini would give up or keep trying?
*What ways can you help at Thanksgiving?
*How is making a friend a way to help?
*Have you ever helped a friend by being nice?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Autumn Walk

Outdoor time with a book can be an exhilarating time for a child.  Autumn Walk, by Ann Burg, is a board book that invites children to enjoy the outside activities of autumn.  This book skillfully paints visual pictures of autumn’s beauty through rhymes and vivid words.  As we go through autumn, it’s been fun to be outside and recall the various pictures in this book, making those important connections in developing literacy.

Question Collection:

*What’s your favorite thing to do outside in autumn?
*What colors do you see in nature in autumn?
*Why are the animals preparing in the autumn?
*Can you pretend you are one of the animals and act out what it is doing?

Friday, November 18, 2011


Storytelling is a fun way to develop children’s literacy skills. Thanksgiving lends itself to storytelling.  Most children are familiar with the Thanksgiving story and adults can add the details as needed. 

Retelling the story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans can be done in a variety of ways.  Some children like to draw the story.  Others like to act out the story.  We’ve had fun using the Little People Thanksgiving set. It can be set up in November to have a visual reminder and then it’s available to retell the story either with an adult or in free play time.  Visiting friends and family members can also hear your child retell the story.   Taking a few minutes to video children’s storytelling will make a lifetime memory for the family. It’s fun to hear the story through the eyes of a child!

Question Collection:

*Who will be at your Thanksgiving dinner this year?
*What are you thankful for?
*What’s your favorite part about Thanksgiving?
*What have family members told you about their Th