Kids love to giggle, and they love to be silly! So why not harness that and get in some reading time, too?
Riddle Rhymes by D.J. Panec is a fun book that encourages interactive reading with parent and child. The parent reads the riddle, which shows a photograph clue, and the child answers with a word that rhymes. When you turn the page together, you can find out if your child solved the riddle correctly!
My kids were instantly hooked on this book and after reading it several times together, they were practicing it on their own. Very sweet!
This can also be used in a classroom setting for a cooperative read-aloud or practice for an emergent reader. Or if you have a reluctant reader in the home or the classroom, this might be a book to catch his/her interest!
Best Ages: pre-k – kindergarten (read aloud), 1st-2nd grade (independently read)
Do your children or students ever ask you, “What’s that for?” Or come up with their own ideas about what an object’s function is, what a sign reads or what a word means? It’s comical and sometimes exasperating to hear what goes on in those little heads. Kids have a totally different perspective on the world oftentimes.
Here is something my preschooler tells me from time to time as we run errands in the car: “Mommy, when I’m bigger, I will drive you to the store and then you can sit in my carseat!” She says this with great enthusiasm and delight, as if it will be such a treat for me! I laugh every time she brings this up. If you hear wacky and cute things like that come out of a child’s mouth, you will appreciate the humor in the Minerva Louise books by Janet Morgan Stoeke.
I am fond of Minerva Louise because she is child-like in her perspective on the world. As a hen, she perceives every human as a “farmer” and believes that every single object and setting in the world relates to the farm and animals on the farm. The simple and cute illustrations only serve to underscore the hilarity of her perspective. My children and I loved reading what Minerva Louise at School and hearing what thought when she stepped inside a school for the first time! This makes a great back-to-school read.
Best Ages: pre-k – 2nd grade
- Ask your child: Does Minerva Louise understand that she is not on the farm? How would you explain to her where she really is?
- Walk around your home and think together about what Minerva Louise might think of various items or places. What would she think the bathroom sink is for or the cupboards in the kitchen? Have fun and laugh together as you try to imagine your home from a hen’s perspective!
- Write the word “perspective” on the board or easel and explain to your students that it is the way someone sees the world around them. Use a pair of sunglasses or turn off the lights to demonstrate that in either of those situations, everything in the room looks darker… That is one perspective. How does our perspective change when we take off the sunglass or turn the lights go back on?
- Ask your students: What was Minerva Louise’s perspective? Was she in a school or on a farm? Why did she think that?
- Create a T-chart with the categories of Minerva Louise and Our Class. Write down the perspective the hen had versus your perspective of each scene in the school. (For example: Minerva Louise thought the cubbies were nesting baskets. We think they are for storing our things.)
All summer, my kids have been asking me to get a watermelon each time we shop at the grocery store. Although I am not a big fan of watermelon, I’m happy to purchase it and slice it up for my family to eat week after week.
Not surprisingly, when one of my daughters recently spotted The Watermelon Seed at the library, it caught her attention immediately. She sat down among the rows of bookshelves and began to peruse it. After finishing her pre-read of the book, she put it in our “check out” pile. Soon after we arrived home, everyone piled on the couch and laughed aloud at the silly text and illustrations. We have read it multiple times and even shared it with friends when they came to our home to play. What a great summer read-aloud!
Even if, like me, you’ve had your fill of eating watermelon for the season, The Watermelon Seed is sure to be a refreshing read with your little ones.
Best Age: prek-1st grade
- Pick out a watermelon at the store together. Slice it up to eat while you read aloud together.
- Invite friends over for a fruit bash! Ask each friend to bring along their favorite fruit. Make a fruit salad together. Read The Watermelon Seed before/after/while you eat the fruit salad together. Take a moment to point out the importance of “eating the rainbow” for good health.
- Take a class poll of favorite fruits. Create a chart that represents the number of students who like each fruit best. Discuss the importance of “eating the rainbow” for good health.
- Have students finger paint a watermelon slice. Cut up white paper plates in half or quarters. Use red paint for the inner fruit and green tissue paper for the rind. Hole punchers and a sheet of black construction paper make great seeds! Hang up the completed watermelon slices around the classroom or make a fun bulletin board (hang up favorite fruit chart in the middle if desired).