Written and Illustrated by: Divya Srinivasan
Discuss the illustrations and your child's prior knowledge of the subject matter before diving into the story. Try asking questions like these:
What do you see on the cover?
Who do you think the main character is?
Why do you think the octopus is alone?
What do you think will happen in this story?
Activate Prior Knowledge
Talk to your child about sea life with questions like, "How many legs does an octopus have? (If your child doesn't know, count the number of legs on the octopus on the cover.) Where does an octopus live? What are some other animals that live in the ocean?" You can take this time to look over all of the sea creatures on the inside of the front and back covers, or you can save this for after your read-through.
As You Read
Help your child discover the meaning of new words. Use the inflection in your voice to help teach your child what FRANTIC means, by sounding very flustered and frightened as you read the sentence. For words like CREVICE, ask your child questions about the illustrations to give clues as to what the word might mean. For example, ask, "Where is the octopus now? Is it a big opening or a small opening? He is hiding in a CREVICE." Another new word that can be found in Octopus Alone is ANEMONES.
Also, help your child discover the names of new sea creatures by pointing to each as they are mentioned in the story. Ask questions like, "Why do you think this is called a 'seahorse'?"
Connect the story to your child's life by asking questions about the octopus' emotions and motives, while also asking about real world applications. Ask:
Do you like to be alone sometimes?
What do you like to do when you're alone?
Do you sometimes have funny feelings? When do you have them?
Why do you think the octopus is dancing now but didn't want to dance with the seahorses?
What color is the octopus now? Why did she change colors?
Summarize and Interpret
Review all of the sea creatures that you've learned in the story! Flip through the pages and have your child identify what animals s/he remembers! Talk about the story by discussing questions like:
What happened in the story?
How did the octopus feel when the seahorses were watching her?
What does the octopus do when she is scared or shy?
What does the octopus like to eat?
Why does she want to hang out with the seahorses at the end of the story?
Extended Learning Exploration
Sea Creature Swatting Game
Inspired by: Toddler Approved
Supplies: blue blanket, printer, marker, laminating sheets (optional), and a bug swatter
Play this fun swatting game that will get your child engaged while also helping him/her learn!
- Search the internet and print out images of various sea creatures like octopuses, turtles, clown fish, sharks, dolphins, seahorses, blowfish, etc. Write their names under each image, with the first letter in caps and bolded, and then cut them out. You can print out a few of each if you'd like to add counting to your activity. You can also laminate them to make the cards last longer.
- Lay out your blue blanket to make the ocean and then spread out your creatures. Now it's time to swat!
- Ask your child to swat the different animals based on different characteristics. Here are several examples of commands:
- Count the number of turtles in the ocean! Swat them all!
- Swat all of the animals that start with the letter "S"!
- Swat all of the green animals!
- Swat the animal that has lots of sharp teeth!
- Once your child gets the hang of the game, let him/her give you commands and see how fast you can swat the different animals!
Check This Out
Looking to learn more about octopuses? See National Geographic Kids for more information on their habitats, diets and behaviors!