Written by: Roald Dahl
Illustrated by: Patrick Benson
Create a K-W-L Chart and have your child fill in the first two columns with information that s/he knows and wants to find out about the story. S/he can fill in the last column, "What I Learned", once s/he has finished the story.
What I Know
In the "What I Know" section, let him/her think about what things s/he already knows about the subject matter, author, and characters. Ask your child if s/he has ever read any of Roald Dahl's other stories. If so, ask him/her to describe those stories and whether or not s/he anticipates this story to be similar. If so, how will it be similar? Also, ask about what your child knows from the illustrations, like the story's setting, main character and possible scenes.
What I Want to Know
Include questions like, "What is a Minpin? Who is the boy on the cover? What will he find in this forest?"
As You Read
Take Turns Reading
Although your child may be able to read independently, consider taking turns reading each page or alternating after every few pages. While reading, you can check for story comprehension and engage in conversation about words or topics that your child has questions about.
Ask your child to stop when s/he gets to a new word in the story. Encourage your child to discover its meaning by using the illustrations and words surrounding it. In addition to context clues, have your child reread the sentence or try to connect the sound of the word to ones s/he already knows. Ask “Have you seen or heard it before? Can you discover its meaning by look at the root word, prefix or suffix?” If not, look the words up in a dictionary or online. Be sure to keep track of your child’s newly acquired vocabulary words by keeping a “Vocabulary Journal” nearby when reading. Examples of new words from The Minpins include:
Ask your child questions that will help him/her relate parts of this story to the rest of the story as well as the real world. For example, when Little Billy devises his plan to get rid of the Gruncher, ask your child about how one solves a problem. First ask, "What is the problem that Little Billy and the Minpins have?" Then ask your child about other possible solutions: "What does he know about the Gruncher? What are some ways that he can get rid of the Gruncher? What do you think he will do?"
Summarize and Interpret
Help your child write out the answers to these questions. Be sure to use linking words like "because" and "therefore" in your answers to connect opinions with reasons.
Did you like this story? Why or why not? What was your favorite part? Why was it your favorite part?
What are some words that describe The Forest of Sin?
What is Little Billy's first reaction to seeing the Minpins in the trees? How would you have reacted if you were Little Billy?
What would have happened to the Minpins if Little Billy hadn't come into the Forest?
How does Little Billy defeat the Gruncher?
Extended Learning Exploration
Write Little Billy's Next Adventure
Brainstorm what Little Billy's next adventure will be and write about it! Be sure to use lots of onomatopoeias like "whoosh" and "bang", as well as plenty of descriptive words about the setting and characters. Start by asking questions like:
Where is Little Billy going?
What creatures will he find?
What problems/obstacles will he face?
How will he overcome these obstacles?
Make sure that your story has a beginning, a middle and an end and talk to your child about other story elements that should be included like point of view (who is telling the story) and theme (message or lesson of a story).