Written and Illustrated by: Gay Wegerif
Up Close is a wonderfully simple book that helps children recognize and label shapes, colors and animals. Take a moment to look over the cover with your child and point out the different things that you see. For younger children, describe and point to each element. Say, "Look! There are two red circles and two orange triangles! I wonder what they will be when they aren't so up close!" For older children, ask what they notice and what they think will happen in this book.
As You Read
Help your child connect to the story by pointing out both his/her facial features as well as your own. Talk about eye color and if your child has blue eyes, point to the monkey's eyes and say, "Look! The monkey has blue eyes, just like you!" You can use a mirror to look at your faces while you are talking about these features. You can also say, "All of these animals have two eyes just like us but some don't have noses like we do. Can you help me point to the animals that don't have noses?"
Work together to make predictions about what will be on the next page. As you read, point to each element mentioned in the text like the bunny's green eyes or the pigs red snout and ask, "What animal do you think this is?" Encourage older children to guess and assure them that these are just guesses and that there are no right or wrong answers. For younger children, simply shoot out your own guesses before moving on.
Incorporate Colors and Counting
Be sure to incorporate counting and color names as you read. Ask your child, "How many eyes does the frog have? What color are they?" Also ask about what shapes your child sees in each illustrations by asking, "What shape are each animal's eyes? What shape is the pig's nose?"
Talk to your child about what you saw in this story. Even if your child can't respond verbally, answer these questions for your child and help him/her to engage in other ways. Ask questions like:
What are some animals that we saw?
What sounds do these animals make?
Can you point to your favorite picture?
What shape is the lion's nose? Let's trace it with our fingers.
Activity: Color Matching
Inspired by: Gift of Curiosity
Supplies: a printer OR paper and colored markers
Use the items in your home as teaching tools with this fun and easy color grouping activity. Start off by printing off these color cards to creating them yourselves with colored markers and paper. Then, shuffle the cards up and have them facing downward. Have your child choose a card from the pile and go off in search of items in your home that are this color. Collect all of the items that you find into a pile in your living room and then choose another card from the deck. Once you've found items for each color, you can then go further by separating them into shapes. For example, you can have a pile of red, rectangular objects like books, paper, boxes, etc. Be sure to talk about each item and what it is used for.
Looking for tips to start building your child's literacy from a young age? Here is some great advice on how you can help your child get a jumpstart. Simple things like asking questions that require more than simple "yes" and "no" answers and singing more rhyming songs can help your child build his/her vocabulary and phonemic awareness.