Written By: Chris Haughton
Consider the front cover and illustrations with your child before beginning the story. Say something like, “Look, there is an owl. Can you point to the owl? What do owls say? Owls say, ‘Whooo whooo’.” This will allow your child to make a connection between him/herself and the book you are about to read. If your child is very young, point to the owl on the cover and describe what you see by saying, “This owl is black. Those are his big eyes and his wings. He has purple around his eyes and blue squiggly lines on his belly.” For older children, ask him/her to describe what they see to you.
As You Read
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. For example, when the owl falls out of the nest, say, “Oh no! Little Owl fell out of the nest!” For older children, ask for him/her to contribute by making comments or asking questions that s/he may have. Also, when the different animals appear in the story, ask your child to name and point to each of them as you go along. To help with vocabulary acquisition in younger children, tell him/her the word for the object as you point to it so that s/he can make the association. For example, when Little Owl first meets Squirrel, say, “This is a squirrel. They like to climb trees and eat lots of nuts.”
Add movement and gestures to your reading! This adds to the non-verbal communication between you and your child, and s/he will get more excited seeing you fully invested in the storytelling. For example, when the Little Owl says, “My mommy is VERY BIG. Like THIS!”, try to spread your arms as wide as possible and be very animated.
Asking questions is a helpful way to encourage your child to think about what s/he has just experienced so regardless of understanding, ask about the story and what Little Owl went through to find his mother. For little ones, you can ask questions and then provide the answers yourself. Questions might include:
Show me your favorite picture.
Did you like the story?
What were some of the animals you saw in the story?
Did Little Owl find his mommy at the end?
Activity: Sorting Game
Inspired by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Supplies: Different stuffed and toy animals
Pick a stuffed animal to be the mommy and then start picking out characteristics that you can find in the other animals. For example, if your mommy is a stuffed monkey, say, “Let’s see if we can find another animal that is brown like the mommy monkey.”For younger children, simply make the similarities apparent by naming the animal and then showing how that animal shares that characteristic with the monkey. If multiply animals qualify, then name each one. For older children, ask them to pick out the animals on their own.