In My Tree

Written By: Sara Gillingham

Illustrated By: Lorena Siminovich

Before Reading

Consider the front cover and illustrations with your child before beginning the story. From the beginning, you can use the finger puppet to speak to your child as the owl and describe its different characteristics. For example, you can say, “Hi, _____. I’m an owl. I’m a bird, and like other birds, I have wings that I use to fly. Can you point to my wing? Owls like to sleep in the daytime and stay up in the nighttime. I have really big eyes so that I can see at nighttime. People are different because you sleep in the nighttime and stay up in the daytime.” Even if your child isn’t verbal yet, this will help to make a connection between your child and the book. If your child is slightly older, ask questions like “Do you know what sound we owls make? {That’s right} Owls say ‘Whoooo whoooo’.”

As You Read

If your child is slightly older, s/he may enjoy turning the pages him/herself or using the finger puppet so allow your child to manipulate the book as you read the text. Say, “Ok, it’s time to turn the page. Can you help me turn the page? Good work!”

Vocabulary Building:

Help your child point to unfamiliar or interesting illustrations and be sure to narrate things in the illustrations that aren’t included in the text. It is also helpful to be repetitive and describe the scenes in different ways. For example, when the owl is in the rain, say, “Look, it is raining and the owl is getting wet. See how it is sitting on the tree branch? It is using the raindrops to wash its feathers. This is a snail. Can you point to the snail? Good work! It is sitting on the tree branch next to the owl.”

After Reading

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:

Show me your favorite picture.

Did you like the story?

When do owls sleep? At nighttime like people do or in the daytime?

Where does the owl live?

How did the owl wash him/herself?

Activity: Pretend To Be An Owl

Supplies: Large blankets and two chairs

This is a great role playing exercise where you and your child can pretend to be owls! Place two chairs with their backs facing each other and drape a blanket over them to create your own owl roost. You can also bunch blankets underneath to create a little nest. Now you can reenact the story by hooting at the ceiling or pretending to wash your feathers in the rain and getting dry in your roost. You can also just hoot as you flap your wings and fly around the room. If you’ve got a really young child, s/he may just enjoy lying down in the nest and listening to this story.