Written and Illustrated by: Patrick McDonnell
Look at the cover, and peruse the pictures throughout the book. Ask your child to summarize what s/he thinks the book will explore. Ask questions about illustrations and descriptions you see. For example:
The title of this book is Me...Jane. Who is Jane? Just by looking at the pictures, what do you predict Jane will be like? List three words to describe her.
At the end of the book, there are real photographs, not drawings. Why do you think those are included?
Ask About Personal Preferences
This little girl is spending a lot of time with animals! Do you like animals? What is your favorite animal? Why is that one your favorite?
Tell your child that this book is a biography. See if your child already knows what that means. If not, explain to him/her that a biography means this is a true, non-fiction, story about a real person. Ask your child who s/he would write a biography about. Why?
As You Read
The first time you read a story, consider going through the whole book, and only stopping if your child asks for help with a word. If s/he is reading independently, ask your child to stop when s/he gets to a new word in the story. If you are still working through the story with your child, stop to discuss unfamiliar words on subsequent readings. Encourage your child to discover a word’s meaning by using the illustrations and words surrounding it. Examples of new words from Me...Jane include:
As you read, do simple comprehension checks, followed by making connections to your child’s everyday life. For example, “Here, Jane is climbing a tree. Do you like to climb trees? Would you like to?” Or, “Jane dreams about a life in Africa. If you could live somewhere else, where would it be? Why?”
Summarize and Interpret
To ensure comprehension, ask your child about what happened in the book. Who were the main characters, and where were the primary settings? What happened in the story? Ask your child the following questions after finishing to further explore his/her understanding of the book:
What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
What miracle Jane see that made her so excited about the animals and world around her?
Jane loved to read books about Africa and animals. What books do you like to read the most?Which animal books are your favorite to read? Why?
At the end of the book, Jane awakens “to her dream come true.” Read About Jane Goodall to learn more about this. What was Jane’s dream? What is Jane doing today?
Revisit the questions you answered before reading the book. Were you right? Now that you have read the book, what three words would you use to describe Jane?
Activity: Scrapbooking and Collaging
Inspired by Classroom Bookshelf
Supplies: a poster board, magazines, scissors, glue, markers, newspaper, and other crafting materials
In Me… Jane, the author uses collage technique reminiscent of scrapbook entries by incorporating engravings from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, photographs and images of journal entries. Invite your child to use collage materials or scrapbooking techniques to create a poster highlighting the accomplishments of a person that they admire.
- First, decide who that person will be. Help your child think of someone, preferably real, who has done something important to your child.
- Then, gather crafting materials, markers, scissors, glue, magazines, and newspapers.
- Cut out images and words that remind you of this person. Also, have your child write down words, and cut those words out, that remind them of this person. If s/he is not writing independently, have your child say the word while you write it down, or have him/her trace your writing.
- Put all of these elements together, and you have a beautiful collage that can remain a piece of inspiration for your child during the year.
Observing Animal Behavior
Readers may find humor in Winters’s image of Jane Goodall’s tent overflowing with field notes; however, children can learn a valuable lesson about the importance of careful documentation when engaged in scientific study. Have your child practice close observation with note-taking using the chimp cam below or animals that can be observed more locally, like squirrels, birds, or even a family pet.
- Either give your child a blank notebook, or staple several pieces of blank paper together.
- Determine the animal(s) you want to observe.
- Go outside, and observe! Ask your child to write down, or dictate to you so that you can write down, all of the activities an animal does. Help your child with starters like, “The bird is flying into the tree…” Make sure s/he notes time of day, and times observed.
- Observe for 3-5 days, and at the end of that period, go back and review all of these observations.
- What have you learned about this animal? What else do you want to know? Try searching for unanswered questions through internet searches.