Friday, June 28, 2013

Mr. Popper

We finished reading Mr. Popper's Penguins {see HERE} - grandma was visiting and asked Truman if he wanted to read with her - he ran and got Mr. Popper's Penguins and said he only had one chapter left and she got to read it!  
After he was done listening I asked him to draw a picture of what we read.  Above is a picture of the front of the book.
My sister and I have been having an on-going conversation about reading and specifically reading out loud to your children.

Some of her thoughts on the subject are really good and I wanted to share {and remember} them.
She has an elementary education degree and 5 {and 2/3} children so I go to her with lots of questions!

I asked T about Mr. Popper's and do you know what stood out to him so far? Mr. Popper is a painter. Cute. I told him he is a funny dad. He is going to get some very strange pets. He is going to get penguins and they have to freeze their whole basement to make a home for them and he is going to teach them some tricks. "you'll love it" I said.

Don't be afraid to start with a  little pitch about the book. In a very conversational way mention the main characters and what happens in the story and hint a few things to listen for. As adults, we never want to give the story away, but children like things predictable. It is just as exciting for them to identify something happening that they were on the look out for as it is for you to read and discover!

Think about it as if you were providing a page from a coloring book with the black outlines and their job as they listen is to fill it in with color.

A few extras you can do to enhance your read-aloud:
stop and ask, "what do you think will happen" kinds of questions, and always follow with, "let's see if that really happens" (b/c a VERY common mistake for kids is to make a prediction and think that their imagination is reality and totally miss reality!).

Stop and ask 'connection' questions.
There are 3 kinds of connections we make:
me to the book,
the world to the book,
and book to book.

"Did you ever feel/act that way?"
"What would you do?"
"Can you think of someone in another story that did that?"
"That is like when blank happened somewhere else in the world or in real life, or to someone we know."

Read with expression: don't read too fast. speed up some parts and slow down some parts. whisper, change your voice for characters, or at least exclamation points!

PAUSE- the most underutilized effect in reading aloud.

Stop and ask inference questions: why do certain characters act/say the way they do (even though the text doesn't explain it, the circumstances do). why do certain things happen?, work? don't work?
let him draw while you read sometimes or draw after you are done/next day to show what he sees in his head.

These are all strategies to develop higher level thinking and comprehension skills. They seem really deep, but think about how they look on a 4-yr old level. 4-yr olds are intelligent enough to talk about these things in their own way and they really like to. Whatever they offer, accept. Don't push them to think on any deeper level than a 4 yr. old.

Love Tiff
Here is another good thought on children reading:

"... While No Child Left Behind is in sync with the air-line industry's "on-time departures and arrivals," children aren't planes or trains; they don't all depart or arrive on time, and some come with extra baggage....There should be no rush to have your child reading before age 6 or 7. That's developmentally the natural time. Finland refuses to teach children to read until age seven and it boasts the world's highest reading scores....Sooner is not better. Are the dinner guests who arrive and hour early better guests than those who arrive on time?"

The premise of the book is that the most important thing to do is read aloud, read aloud, read aloud to your children!!

We rented the movie Mr. Popper's Penguins to watch when we finished the book - what a disappointment!

Next on our list of books to read out load: