Book Review: Sweet Pea and Friends The Sheepover by John and Jennifer Churchman

The following image will take you to Amazon where you may purchase the item. I do not get paid to review the book but if purchased from Amazon I do make a small profit.

By John and Jennifer Churchman

Ages: Preschool 3-5

 

 

 

 

Laddie, a farm dog, wakes Farmer John one night when he realizes something is amiss in the barn. Sweet Pea, the orphan lamb, has a fever from an infected leg. A doctor is called and her friends gather round as she heals. When the infection is gone she has a “sheepover” with her friends in the greenhouse to celebrate her good health.

What I enjoyed about this book is the illustrations which are vibrant and rich photographs. Your child will learn a lot of new VOCABULARY words in the text of this story. From the animals introduced, the people who help Sweet Pea get better and the enriching and rhythmical text. There are a lot of phrases that your child can repeat throughout the story, engaging them in the retelling which builds NARRATIVE, PRINT MOTIVATION, and PRINT AWARENESS skills.

The story may be a little too sweet for adults but children will enjoy the focus on friendship and gentle realistic pictures.

Skills Built:

SKILLchart

 

Questions to enrich the story:

Look through the pictures and help your child identify the different animals.

Have your child repeat the sounds each of the different animals makes.

After reading the story, go back through and ask questions to help your child comprehend the story. Who woke up Farmer John? Who was sick? Who helped Sweet Pea get better? How did the friends celebrate Sweet Pea? When was the last time you were sick? Who helped you get better?

Take it further:

Have your child image what it would be like to live on a farm. Have them draw a picture of the animals they would see, the machines they would use and who would live their with them.

Go to the library and find books on Veterinarians. Explore the profession. The different types of caregivers and what they do to help animals.

Make your own photo book like the authors! Go outside and explore your neighborhood with a camera. Take pictures and print them out. Write out a story from the pictures.

Book Review: Maya’s Blanket La Monta De Maya by Monica Brown

(I am not given books to review. All books are chosen by me for the early literacy skills they possess. If you click on the picture you will be redirected to Amazon where I do make a small commission if you make a purchase.)

Ages:4-6

A retelling of the classic Yiddish tale I had an overcoat, Maya’s Blanket tells the story of a much loved blanket that Maya’s grandmother made for her. She loves this blanket so much it begins to wear out so her grandmother transforms it into a dress, skirt, shawl, scarf, ribbon and bookmark. She loves the blanket in all its many forms and is sad one day when she can’t find her special bookmark anywhere. Maya finds a creative way to keep her much loved blanket close to her for the rest of her life.

This book is rich in VOCABULARY, NARRATIVE SKILLS, PRINT MOTIVATION, PRINT AWARENESS, LETTER KNOWLEDGE and PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS. It is a great book to hit all the early literacy skills your preschool child has developed throughout their childhood. He will be introduced to layered language in the spanish and english text. There are many words to explore throughout the pages. The book also has vibrant and beautiful illustrations which will engage your child reading after reading. The way the story is laid out will highlight how readers follow a story and draw meaning from the pictures. The Spanish word is named first and then the child will derive meaning from the pictures and following text to understand what that word means and how it is used. Spanish words are in italics which draws attention to the letters. Lastly the mulilingual book is perfect for hearing letter sounds and putting together words from those sounds. The book teaches sequencing in story from the repetition of the transformation of the blanket to each of its next forms.

This is one of those rare books that engages children in every early literacy skill. I love it for its diversity and focus on universal themes of love between family members and those mementos every child keeps with herself to feel safe and secure.

What skills your child practices?

6prereadingskills

Questions to ask will reading the book:

  1. What is your favorite toy or blanket. What could you do to reuse it if it got old and frayed like Maya’s blanket?
  2. How do you think Maya felt when she lost the bookmark? What would you do if you lost your favorite toy, book or blanket?
  3. Can you tell me the story using the pictures?

Take it further:

  1. Create a storybook about your child’s favorite toy, book or blanket. Write down special memories, draw pictures and read the completed story together.
  2. Go to the library or favorite bookstore and find other retellings of the Yiddish tale or other books that are strong in narrative skills like Maya’s Blanket. Joesph had a little overcoat by Sims Taback is a Caldecott Honor book. The bag I’m taking to Grandma’s or any of Shirley Neitzel’s wonderful books.
  3. Make your own special blanket together. Go to a fabric store and pick out fabrics in your child’s favorite colors. Explore the store while there and point out the signs your see and the objects he may not be familiar with.

 

 

Print Awareness: What does that mean?

PrintAwarenessgraphic

Print Awareness is the skill that demonstrates a child has a rich print environment in her life. Being read to is more than hearing the sounds and understanding the pictures. Before any of that happens we show children how to use books.

This all begins the first time we read to our baby. The child picks up how we hold the book, how we turn the pages, how we follow the story. In the first year we do nothing more than model.

In the toddler years we start naming the parts of the book. When the child settles in our lap to read we can point out the author and use our finger to point to where the name is on the title page. We name the front and back of the book and show the child through following the text on the page while we read.

In the preschool years the child will be able to name the parts of the book and although he or she can’t read, they will be able to point out where to find the author’s name. Where the first page starts and where the book ends.

So how do you make this fun and not a chore for you or your child?

  1. Don’t attempt to point out every single piece of the story in every single book. Pick one part to highlight and focus on that during the reading.
  2. Hand your child the book upside down, sideways or backwards and see what she does. Does she reorient the book the correct way? You can even start reading from the back to the front of the book. A preschooler will giggle and tell you to start at the beginning and a toddler might even turn the book the right way.
  3. Have your child use his finger to follow the text. Even if they can’t read the words after years of practice they will understand the flow of text.
  4. Look at the pictures and find the words on the page that describe the action. It helps connect the words with the action.
  5. Have your child read to you! At this point they will either recite the story as they have heard it told after many repetitions or they will use the pictures as a guide. No matter how they do it, you will see them demonstrate the many skills of print awareness as they tell you the title, turn the pages and follow the text with his finger.

Print Awareness is the building block to future reading success. Kids who feel comfortable and confident with books are more likely to pick them up. It doesn’t stop there though. Print Awareness is a skill a child can develop no matter where they are.

  • On a walk or in the car point out familiar signs and have them “read” to you. STOP signs and brand name stores are signs they will immediately recognize. You can help by pointing out the text.
  •  At the grocery store have them help shop. Give them a list either with pictures and words underneath or tell them a food and have them find it. Then point out the sign where the food is kept.
  • Read through a menu with them. Often times kids menus will have the picture of the food with the text. Have them point to the food they like and use your finger to read the word that goes along with it.
  • Write your child’s name in magnetic letters, sidewalk chalk, on paper or wherever you can.
  • Cook together. Follow a recipe on paper or in a book and make sure to use your finger to follow along as you read off the ingredient list.

Reading Rockets has a great informational video that describes many of the activities listed above and why Print Awareness matters in a child’s life.

 

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some books that are great with helping children develop the skill! (All book suggestions are my own, I do not get paid to review them, however the link does take you to Amazon where I receive a small commission when you make purchases.)

Buy on Amazon

 


Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

Book Review: Bear and Duck by Katy Hudson

Ages 3-5

Bear doesn’t want to be a bear anymore. He is tired of missing winter, being uncomfortable in the summer and being chased by bees when he finds food. He discovers a flock of ducks and tries to fit in. No matter what he does he can’t become a duck. One of the group decides to help bear out and show him how much he is appreciated exactly as he is. Bear may not be able to become a duck but he can be a great friend.

Children will relate to wanting to be something they are not or feeling like they don’t fit in. The topics tackled in this gentle read are feelings all children understand. This book encourages PRINT MOTIVATION because of the universal theme of wanting to be something we are not. The VOCABULARY is strong in the book. Words like chimed, growled, circumstances to name just a few. There will be lots of words your child won’t have heard in everyday conversation.

The flow of the book will help introduce PRINT AWARENESS. There is the traditional text and a list of rules which will help a child learn to follow along. It is done in a way that doesn’t take the reader out of the story but compliments it instead. NARRATIVE SKILLS will also be built reading this book together. There is a strong story line of how the bear feels at the beginning of the story, his challenge, how he attempts to overcome the challenge and what he learns about himself in the process. It is a complicated storytelling thread that is made approachable to the youngest of readers.

What skills your child will learn:

SKILLchart

Questions to ask while reading:

  1. Have your child name the animals on the front cover. What sounds do each of the animals make? What do they eat? Where do they live?
  2. Flip the book over and look at the back of the book. How do you think the Bear and Duck feel about each other?
  3. Open the book and look through the pictures. Ask the child to tell the story or if unable to you tell the story just through the pictures. Then start at the beginning and read the book. Do the pictures and words tell the same story?
  4. Why do you think the bear doesn’t want to be a bear anymore? Do you ever feel like you the bear does?
  5. After reading the story look again at the pictures. Focus on the bear’s faces and ask the child how you think the bear feels. Have your child mimic the expressions.

Take the story further:

  1. Have your child name their favorite animal. On paper, write down the “rules” for being that animal. What do they eat? Where do they sleep? How do they move?
  2. Talk about feelings. Part of developing reading comprehension is being able to draw concepts from the words on the page. Have your child draw pictures of different faces and have them explain how the face feels. See if your child can match the expressions to some of those that the bear feels.
  3. Act like a duck! Take the list of rules and see how well you and your child can act like a duck. Talk about what was easy and hard about each of the rules. What other animals can you act like?

What else have you done to enhance your reading experience today? Comment below and share ideas.

 

By clicking on the image at the top of the post you will be directed to Amazon. I am an affiliate and make a small profit if you purchase items using the link. The profits go to support our family’s reading habit.

 

Book Review: I Will Chomp You! By Jory John

 

 

 

Ages 2-5

The monster in this book has a secret he doesn’t want the reader to know. He scares, threatens, and pleads with the reader to go away and find some other book to read. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody but he hates to share even more. Are you daring enough to challenge the monster to see what he hides at the end of the book? Will you be able to read it again? Continue reading “Book Review: I Will Chomp You! By Jory John”