Written By: Petr Horacek
Let your child explore any illustrations that interest him/her before you begin your read-through. Bring different elements to his/her attention by pointing and giving each a name. Say, “Look, there is a hippo and a butterfly. The hippo is very big and the butterfly is very small.”For older children, ask how some of these animals differ from each other by asking, “How is a hippo different from a butterfly? How is a cheetah different from a snail? Let’s see what this story can teach us about these animals.”
As You Read
Pop up books are a great way to incorporate your child’s hand-eye coordination and motor skills so let him/her help you turn the pages and flip back the tabs to reveal the hidden animals. Also, make the story more entertaining by using a dynamic voice, body movement and fun sounds. Allow your voice and body to take on the characteristics of the animals you are reading about. When reading about the sloth and the kangaroo, go from being very still to very bouncy as you read. When reading about the rabbit and the lion, start being very quiet and then get louder. Also, ask your child what sounds different animals make by saying, “‘Smooth frog.’ What sound does a frog make?” All of these things will help make your story-time more enjoyable for both you and your child.
Summarize and Interpret:
Help get your child in the habit of asking questions and thinking about stories once they are through. Even if s/he is too young to verbally respond, simply asking questions like these and answering them yourself can demonstrate good reading behavior.
Did you like that story? Why?
What are some animals that we saw in the story?
If your child is older, ask him/her to help you come up with more opposites. Ask, “Can you think of any more opposites like the ones we read in the story?” Some examples include HAPPY AND SAD, EMPTY AND FULL, and UP AND DOWN. It works very well to incorporate opposites into your everyday conversations, too. For example, you might demonstrate cold and hot with morning coffee and ice water! Or, for older children, try declaring that it’s opposite day and have fun by saying, “Wow, it’s so BRIGHT outside,” at night, then say, “it’s opposite day!”
Activity: Sorting Opposites
Adapted from Rockabye Butterfly
Supplies: Three baskets, note cards, a marker, and small, hard and soft toys
Continue the opposites fun with this great activity that lets your child sort his/her toys into different opposite categories like soft and hard. Simply gather some of your child’s small toys and put them all into a basket. On one note card, write “Soft” and on another write “Hard” and place each into a basket. Now help your child sort his/her toys into these two categories. To make things more interesting, you can try things that “Sink” or “Float” by placing household objects into a container of water and determining which category they fall into. Either way, this is a fun, hands-on activity that will get your child thinking about opposites that can be found all around them.