A House is a House for Me


Written By: Mary Ann Hoberman

Illustration By: Betty Fraser


Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Take some time to look over the cover and illustrations before beginning the book. Ask your child these questions about what they see and what they predict the story will be about:

What do you see on the cover? What do you think is happening?

What do you think will happen in this story?

Can you find the turtle in the picture?

Can only people have houses or do animals have houses too? 

Can you describe our house (or apartment building)? What color is it? Is it big or small? What about your room? What does it look like?

Activate Prior Knowledge:

You can test your child’s knowledge on where different animals live by flipping to a page and asking your child to find a certain animal in it. For example, flip to a page and ask your child, “Can you find the hippos in this picture? Where do hippos live?” Try asking this for a couple of different animals and then say, “Well, let’s find out if you’re right!”


As You Read

Vocabulary Building:

When your child comes to a word that s/he does not know, encourage him/her to stop and try to discover its meaning using the words and illustrations surrounding it. Examples of new words from A House Is a House for Me include:

1. DWELLING

2. FAR-FETCHING

If your child is unfamiliar with a type of animal house, s/he can use the animals in the pictures as tools to help find the house. For example, if your child doesn’t know what a fold looks like, you can say, “A fold is where sheep live. Can you find the sheep in this picture? That’s right! So that open area with the fence around it is a fold.”

Be sure to check if your child’s guesses from before the read-through were right and point them out as your read along!


After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask your child these questions at the end of the book to gauge their understanding of the story, as well as help them process the main points of the story. 

What was your favorite picture? Why?

What were some of the houses that you learned about in this story?

What is the house for every creature and thing that’s known? 

Did you know that a book or a head could be a house for things and ideas too before we read this story?

What do you think that means? 

Look around the room where you’re reading and pick out objects that are “homes” for other things. Then, consider other rooms. “A bathroom is a home for a sink and tub!” and so on.


Activity: Make a Birdfeeder 

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Adapted from Parents

Supplies: half-gallon carton, X-acto knife, acrylic paint, paintbrush, yarn or ribbon, glue, tape, beads, hole punch, thin sticks, and birdseed. 

As with all activities, remember that you can improvise! If you have the basics (milk carton + decorations + tape or glue), you can make a home! 

  1. A nest is a house for a bird but this bird feeder is where birds can go to rest and have a snack on their way home...and it’s a home for bird seed! This great craft provides endless fun for your child as they get to first create and decorate their birdhouse and then see if birds come to feed in it.
  2. Take your milk carton and use your x-acto knife to cut a large opening in the side of the carton. 
  3. Paint the whole carton in any color and with any design you choose. Once the paint has dried, you can continue decorating with any beads, glitter, or yarn that you may have.
  4. Glue the thin sticks to the top of the carton.
  5. Hole punch a hole into the very top piece of the carton and thread a piece of yarn through it and tie the ends. Also punch a hole slightly below the opening, and place a stick in the whole. Make sure it is secure, and if it’s not, tape the end of the stick to the inside of the carton. 
  6. Fill the bottom of the feeder with bird seeds and you’re ready to hang out bird feeder in a tree outside! 

After you hang up your bird feeder, be sure to check up on it periodically and refill it. If you want to monitor how much the birds have eaten, make a slight mark where you filled the bird seed up to and see how much the birds love your feeder!

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