Summer Fun for a Pre-reader

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sounds of Summer

I’m not a classroom teacher anymore, but Memorial Day hits and I’m still ready for summer! We had lovely weather this past holiday weekend; we enjoyed outdoor play, swimming, barbeque, and family fun well into the evening. Our patio small-talk was accompanied by the sounds of B and a friend playing tag on the lawn and another harbinger of summer: the chirping of crickets! When B first noticed the sounds of crickets last year, he found them a little disconcerting – I think mostly because he couldn’t see where the noise was coming from. We got out a book we already owned but hadn’t yet made a real life connection to: The Very Quiet Cricket, by Eric Carle.

Intro to the Insect World
The Very Quiet Cricket
The book begins when a tiny cricket hatches from an egg. He is welcomed by a bigger cricket, who chirps by rubbing his wings together, but the little cricket is unsuccessful when he tries to return the greeting with a chirp of his own. On each page, the cricket meets another insect, including a locust, cicada, spittlebug, and others, each of whom make different sounds. The poor little cricket is frustrated again and again by his inability to communicate with the other bugs he meets, and finally decides to enjoy the quiet of the Luna moth. As day comes to a close, he meets another little cricket and tries his chirp one last time… with success! A lesson in perseverance, should you choose to read it that way. Our version is a board book with a battery operated "chirp" sound activated as you open the final page - extra fun. It also helped B connect the outside sounds with the story of the cricket. 

Let Your Pre-reader Chime- (or Chirp-) In!

The text of this book is perfect for pre-readers because rather than being decodable, it is predictable. Repetition abounds, both in form and syntax. Each page reads the same way:

  • A greeting: (Good afternoon!) verb: (screeched) insect: (a cicada),
  • Progressive action with preposition: (Clinging to a branch of a tree).
  • “Chorus”: (The little cricket wanted to answer, so he rubbed his wings together, but nothing happened, not a sound.)

The “chorus,” or repeating text, will likely be the first thing your little one picks up on, especially if you pause for fill-in-the-blank style participation. For example, you read: “The little cricket wanted to answer, so he…” and your child responds: “rubbed his wings together,” and you read, “but nothing happened…” and your child responds: “not a sound.” As the book (and the insects) become more familiar, your child may be able to recall more on her own, including the greetings and actions of each bug.

Repetition Getting Old? Here’s Why You Should Keep it Up:

Parents often tire of reading repetitive books even when preschoolers love them. (This is one you’ll be able to read with your eyes closed before long, which is sometimes handy!) However, repetitive books are ideal for the preschool set for two reasons: they appeal to their developing cognitive skills of recall, order, and sequence, and they help establish a connection between text and meaning which is an important early literacy skill. So, think of your preschoolers favorite repetitive books like the dish you can order at your favorite restaurant without looking at the menu: it may be predictable, but it’s comforting and always satisfying.
Appropriate for babies, toddlers, preschoolers.


What My Child Is Reading

Where in the World Wednesday


Braley Mama June 2, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

I love Eric Carle. In fact we just played a game with my 2 year old called "Brown bear, panda Bear, What do you see?" A very good pre-reader game!

Anonymous,  October 13, 2010 at 7:06 AM  

Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.

Anne@LittleSproutBooks October 13, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

I'd be happy to provide details to the comment above if I knew who you were! Please leave your email address!

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