Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street

Written by:Mark Lee

Illustrated by:Kurt Cyrus

Before Reading

Preview and Predict

Who knew a traffic jam could be so colorful and fun! This great counting book walks kids through the numbers 1-20 as trucks get stuck behind one another in the middle of the street. Start off by perusing the cover with your child and discussing what s/he notices about the illustration. Throughout this guide, there are several questions and prompts that you can use as you read, so feel free to spread them out across multiple readings. Ask questions like:

Why do you think all of these trucks are in the middle of the street?

How many trucks can you see on the cover? 

What do you think will happen in this story?

What are some different kinds of trucks? (ice cream, dump truck, etc)

{Flip to a page in the story} What do you see? What do you think is happening in this part of the story?

Engage your little one and address any questions s/he may have before you dive in!

As You Read

Build Vocabulary

This book has a lovely rhyme scheme, so this is the perfect opportunity to practice rhyming words. As you go through the book, emphasize the rhyming words and then work together to come up with other words that rhyme. For example, when reading "One ice-cream truck selling everything sweet, breaks down and blocks the middle of our street.", take a moment to brainstorm some more rhyming words. Here are a few suggestions for the words "street" and "truck" if your little one is having some trouble getting started:



You can also throw in some new words for your little one to learn. For example, you can say "'WAY' rhymes with 'DELAY'. If something is DELAYED, that means that it is late or slow. So you can say that these trucks are being DELAYED because they are stuck in the street."


Also, seeing as this is a book all about numbers, you can help your little with number recognition by writing each number as you get to it in the story. You can count them out on the page and then say, "Two. There are now two trucks in the street! Here's the number 2." If your little one is already writing, you can have him/her write it or trace your numbers.


Monitor Comprehension

Be sure to point out different elements in the illustrations, asking what your child sees and asking things like, "Look, he is trying to fix the ice cream truck. Do you think he'll be able to fix it? What kind of truck do you think will come next? How many trucks do we have now?"

After Reading

Make Connections

Help your child look at the story as a whole once you've completed your read-through by asking/discussing questions like:

Did you like that story? Why/ why not?

How many trucks were there all together?

How did the trucks get stuck in the first place?

How did they get unstuck?

Can you name some of the kinds of trucks that we saw? (You can flip through to name some if you'd like.)

Let's count to 20 together!

Extending the Story


Here are some great activities that help children with number recognition and counting while also using your child's love for trucks to keep him/her engaged!

Fill the Dump Truck!

Use this great activity from The Measured Mom blog to help your child with counting by adding blocks, legos, or anything else into the dump truck on the printable mat (a link for which is provided in the post). You can also make your own dump truck out of an egg carton using this activity from Rub Some Dirt Blog!


Counting Maze

All you need is a truck, some tape and a marker for this awesome activity that turns a room into an awesome counting maze!