This past weekend my partner and I spent four wonderful days visiting our best friends in Oregon. They’ve got a 20-month-old, our nephew Ethan, who absolutely loves to read. And it’s no surprise considering all the early literacy goodness in their home.
Of course we had to take a trip to the bookstore to pick up some new reads, but I also spent some time helping my friend make some felt stories for this TOTALLY AWESOME FELT WALL she created on the side of her kitchen.
We made some weather pieces so she could sing What’s the Weather? each morning, plus Little Mouse, Little Mouse as it is toddler gold. Because we had bought the book Go Away, Big Green Monster!, I also made the felt version. Expanding books with felt stories, props, and crafts is a great way to help kids retell stories which supports their narrative skills. They also help children internalize stories and can spark further conversations between parent and child. And we know the benefits of repetition – repeating stories, songs, and rhymes helps children remember them and helps them understand the stories on different levels. I also love this article on the importance of repeated interactive read-alouds in preschool and kindergarten.
I’ve been wanting to try this out more in storytime. So here’s some different ways I’m going to try out telling Go Away, Big Green Monster! when my next storytime session starts in January.
1. Read It!
In this book you build up the monster and then talk him apart piece by piece. I love having the kids yell, “Go Away” as we read it. I tell parents that this book is great for helping kids overcome their fears and repetition of phrases is great for brain development.
2. Felt It!
The felt is super easy to make. You do not have to be precise and can use any colours you have on hand. The best pattern I’ve found is from KidsClub found here. And I have to share the following picture because we laughed for SO LONG when we came home from dinner one night to find the babysitter’s version. Bless her heart, but we were crying from laughing so hard.
3. Use the Puppet!
My library bought the puppet version here. But if you’re crafty you could make this on your own with some fabric and velcro.
4. Draw it!
My colleague Francesca introduced me to this method. If you have a whiteboard or chalkboard, you can easily draw the story and use an eraser to make the monster go away. Check out this post by So Tomorrow for step-by-step instructions.
5. Use the App!
We’ve been using this app in our Parents’ Night Out on apps for preschoolers. I love how it has four different ways to read/listen to the story, and I guarantee once you hear the jazz version you’ll never be able to read it in the same voice.
6. Craft It!
We don’t do crafts after storytime at my library, but if we did I’d be all over these! Try creating masks, use this squash painting method, make a Letter M monster, make a paper plate monster, or simply cut out the shapes that make up the face and have kids create their own versions of monsters. And this post and this post have even more ideas for all types of literacies!
Did I miss any? What story do you like telling in a variety of ways? Let me know in the comments.