I think we can all agree that reading books to children is important for so many reasons. As early childhood educators and professionals, we are constantly reading books throughout the day to children – infants all the way up to school age children and beyond. In fact, some of my favorite memories of school are when my teachers read stories to me. I remember my fifth- grade teacher reading The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scienszka and Lane Smith. My memory of that book was so impressed on my mind that as an adult when I found the book in mint condition at a thrift store, I couldn’t pass up buying it and entertaining my youngest daughter with it!
Reading books at circle time or reading to a child sitting in the cozy area are great ways to engage children in literacy; however, we often forget that linking stories to hands-on experiences is also an important way to link written language to actual events. There are so many interactive stories and other books that allow children to act out characters in a book in every learning and play center around your classroom – yes, even in the block center!
The possibilities are endless when it comes to making stories come alive in your classroom. Below is a sample list of stories and how you can link those stories to hands-on experiences for your children.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats: Take children outside in their snow boots for a fun snowy experience.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: Have volunteers bring in the food mentioned in the book and during snack have the children make a celery stick caterpillar that eats its way through the food.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen: This is a great rainy day book that gets kids moving around the room.
If You’re Angry and You Know it! By Cecily Kaiser: Teach children how to handle emotions as they stomp, breathe deep, and tell a friend during this interactive story.
Animal Action ABC by Nancy Sheehan: Another great gross motor book for rainy days.
Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni: This book is all about measuring! Give each child a ruler and a pretend inch worm to help them measure the characters in the story and things around the room.
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin: A book that teaches simple math facts as well as a fun sing along book.
Jack’s House by Karen Magnuson Beil: This is a great book to use in the block center as you build with the children!
Any of Jan Brett’s books! If you go to her website, she has printable animal masks that go along with her stories! These are great for making the characters come alive!
My ultimate favorite is Stone Soup. There are SO many different versions of this story! You can act this story out in the dramatic play center and use it as a fun cooking project.
Have fun making stories come alive in your classroom! I would love to hear about the books and stories you use in your classroom!