Written By: Stephen Krensky
Illustrated By: Sara Gillingham
Consider the front cover and illustrations with your child before beginning the story. For younger children, tell him/her about the things that you see in the illustrations by saying things like, “Look, there is a girl. She is a riding a bicycle that has three wheels. There is a little birdy sitting on the bike. And look at these blue and white flowers , they are so pretty. Let’s count how many flowers there are.” Be sure to point to each element as you describe it so that your child can make the connection between your words and the illustrations. If your child is verbal, ask him/her what s/he sees in the illustrations. Ask questions like, “How are you like the little girl in this book? Can you ride a bike? Can you blow your nose by yourself?”
As You Read
Describe everything as you read, by saying things like, “See, the girl can do lots of things by herself like pick out her own clothes and turn out her light at bedtime. And look, the little birdy is sleeping with her in her bed. Can you say ‘Goodnight’ to the girl and her birdy?” Ask older children to name and point to different things in the illustrations by asking, “Can you point to the books in the picture? Where are is the birdy? What is she doing in this picture?”
Depending on your child’s age, you can compare him/her to the girl when she is little or big. For example, if your child is younger, say something like, “You are like the girl when she was little. When you get a little bigger, you will be able to read books to yourself too!” For older children, ask, “Can you eat an apple all by yourself? Can you blow your own nose when you have the sniffles?”
Summarize and Interpret:
Asking questions is a helpful way to encourage your child to think about what s/he has just experienced. Regardless of whether or not your child is verbal, ask about the story and answer the questions yourself for really little ones. Questions might include:
Did you like the story? Why or why not?
What are some things that the little girl can do all on her own?
What are some things that you can do on your own?
What do you want to be able to do all by yourself?
Activities: Pick Out His/Her Own Outfit
Clothing is one way that children are able to start expressing themselves and their independence so let your child pick out his/her own outfit for the day. If your child is verbal, you can discuss why s/he chose each article. As wacky or mismatched as it may end up being, it’s a great way to start letting your child become a bit more independent. It will also make him/her feel great about the fact that s/he picked it out all on his/her own!