Thursday, October 7, 2010
…and Cool, and Colorful, and Cumulonimbus
It’s “C” week in preschool, and it’s also been a tumultuous couple of weeks weather-wise. With the temperature and humidity peaks and valleys we’ve been experiencing, it seems like every afternoon has a thunderstorm lurking around the corner. I love our usual sunshine (I could never live in Seattle) but that makes the novelty of rain kind of fun! However, B was troubled by the ominous gray clouds, the crash of thunder and lightening, and how quickly the sun glinting off the sidewalks was replaced by puddles. So we turned to books for comfort.
Addressing the Cognitive Side:
We picked up several non-fiction titles from the library to help explain the various weather phenomena. The text was a little meatier than B is used to, but he ate it up. His natural curiosity coupled with the urgency of understanding the current weather made him eager to learn all the facts he could soak up.
Electrical Storms, by Liza N. Burby, is probably the most challenging text but the photographs are great. I think the way non-fiction picture books are often organized with bold headings is a great way to make the transition to chapters and explain how ideas are grouped together. It’s also teaching B some patience, as we don’t always read the whole thing at once, so we’ll decide to read x number of sections.
How Does a Cloud Become a Thunderstorm?, by Mike Graf, has questions rather than headings, and is thus written in a cause-effect style. B liked checking out all the photos, and I liked that several of the questions featured matched his queries exactly.
Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll, by Franklyn Branely, is targeted at younger kids, both in text and illustrations. The text is easier and a little more reassuring, and the cartoonish illustrations are fun, but B was disappointed at the lack of “real lightning.”
Don’t Forget the Social-Emotional:
Facts help make fears less scary, but they don’t do much for already rattled nerves. Including some soothing stories that featured storms allowed us to talk about the weather in a non-threatening, even pleasant way.
The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm, by Paul Bright, tells the story of three young bears frightened by sounds they hear during a storm. They are soothed by their father, who harbors some anxiety of his own. While most of the sounds are explained by the weather, it turns out some of the sounds are made by a moose looking for shelter from the storm! I like the message that it’s worth investigating the unknown to conquer fear.
Before the Storm, by Jane Yolen, was appealing because it featured the same kind of wild-weather afternoon storms we’re experiencing. In it, the characters spend the afternoon wishing for a way to cool off, but once the rain begins, they are soon wishing for the sun to return. This story makes rainstorms seem less frightening and more desirable.
Going Beyond the Science
The final title we explored was Lightning and Rainbows: A Child’s Guide to God’s Wonders in the Skies, by Michael Carroll. Each weather feature (clouds, wind, thunder, etc) is featured on its own page and is introduced by a passage of scripture. Then the majority of the text on the page is devoted to a scientific explanation, with the final sentence referencing back to God’s purpose for each phenomenon. The final segment of the book is called, “God Calms Our Storms.” In this comforting section, Carroll reminds the reader that storms, both in weather and in our lives, will always pass.
Appropriate for preschoolers, primary grades, elementary
Do your little ones find rainstorms inviting or frightening? I’d love to get your take!
If you have a book recommendation this week, link it up!
Also, I'm considering planning themed link-ups (ie: bedtime stories, alphabet books, etc.) for some Fridays... thoughts?