Thursday, February 3, 2011
Never Out of Style
Some of our favorite board books have been languishing on the shelves or in the book bins since B has been voraciously devouring “fresh” books from the library each week with a newfound passion for the unfamiliar. However, thanks to T’s continued (albeit slow) progress toward literary appreciation, we’re enjoying a re-introduction to some beloved titles. I’m discovering that as much as I enjoy some of the books we’ve borrowed (and often renewed) there is a reason I purchased many of the board books we own. The classics are classics for a reason, or for many reasons. And board books are ideal because they are so durable and inviting!
Leave the Dictionary on the Shelf
Our latest renewed affection is for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. If you’re unfamiliar, the basic story line is thus: Father and children head out into the wilderness to find a bear. Must conquer much challenging terrain. Find bear and hurriedly retrace steps to hunker down safely at home. While the suspenseful trip home and climactic barring of the door generates some fun adrenaline, it is not the plot that makes this story so engaging. Rosen’s treatment of the traditional song makes it enjoyable for readers and listeners alike. The rhythm and repetition of the text is buoyant and fun, begs for pre-readers to join in, and perfectly punctuated by the alliterative sensory descriptors chosen for each geographic challenge. The family travels through “swishy swashy” grass and trudges “squelch squerch” through the mud. The descriptive words are great for building vocabulary and for enriching cognitive concepts of each place being described.
More on the Menu
Opportunities to expand on We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with art, literacy, and games are plentiful, but here’s a few of my favorite suggestions:
- Define and internalize those fun descriptive words by applying them to food (and then playing with it)! Think squelch squerch pudding, swishy swashy carrot tops or herb bunches, splash splosh ice cubes into water, creating a puff of blizzard blindness with a hoo-woo through a straw into some loose flour, stumble-tripping over pretzel “sticks” and walnut “rocks,” and grains of rice tip-toeing in an empty margarine tub or yogurt cup. You can find a pdf file of the words flash-card style at schoolsnet.
- Practice retelling and ordering the story using pictures and/or key phrases. Great activity for flannel board, but also fun for book-making. Kizclub has printable graphics and matching word strips.
- Focus on the spatial vocabulary highlighted in the repeated lines, “we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, oh no, we’ll have to go through it!” Discuss what kind of obstacles we might try to go over, under, and through. Schoolsnet has matching word and picture cards for practice if you need inspiration.
What books to you return to again and again? What makes you come back?
Please link up your book recommendations or activities, visit some others you find here, and if you just can’t get enough, check out more book-lovers at Read.Explore.Learn!