Early readers are just beginning to learn about the reading process
and the strategies
that help them make sense of written language. Beginners develop a basic understanding of print, know how books work, self-monitor their own comprehension by asking and answering questions, and make connections with literary and informational texts. So ask the boys and girls to join you as you read aloud to them, model comprehension strategies, and talk together about what you all learn and enjoy inside the covers of a favorite book.
| ||Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip|
|by Denia Hester, illustrations by Jackie Urbanovic (Albert Whitman & Company, 2005, ISBN 0807530271)|
Adapted from an old Russian folktale, this cumulative story is filled with delicious humor and family fun. Grandma Lena likes to do things right, and that includes taking very good care of the turnips she plants in her garden. Somehow, though, one turnip grows to an enormous size, and it takes tugging and pulling by everyone in the family to pull that giant out of the ground. What follows is a neighborhood picnic bigger than the Fourth of July and the best turnip stew anyone has ever tasted!
| ||Ohio Thunder|
|by Denise Dowling Mortensen, illustrations by Kate Kiesler (Clarion Books , 2006, ISBN 0618595422)|
"Hazy heat, sweaty brow. Dusty field, tractor plow. Dark horizon, speckled sky. Cornstalks rustle, blackbirds fly." Slowly, across the horizon, we can see the thunderstorm approaching. Descriptive verse transports the reader to an Ohio farm on a summer afternoon where we can hear the thunder and then count the seconds until we see the lightning. As quickly as the storm comes, it’s gone and a rainbow fills the sky. Little children are awed and sometimes frightened by thunderstorms, and this text will initiate discussion and sharing.
| ||Once I Ate a Pie|
|by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest, illustrations by Katy Schneider (Joanna Cotler, 2006, ISBN 0060735317)|
This captivating anthology of poems about dogs introduces boys and girls to twelve canines who tell their own stories in their own dog voices. The animals share a bit about how the world looks to them and the toys and people that make each day special. The book includes very realistic large paintings of the dogs and children will want to hear the simple dog stories again and again.
Emergent readers enjoy repetitive text and predictable stories. The cumulative tale Grandma Lena's Big 'Ol Turnip lends itself to sequencing activities. Children will enjoy acting out the part where the family pulls the giant turnip out of the ground. Choose a child to portray each member of Grandma Lena's family, and ask the participants to arrange themselves in the correct order for the long line of turnip pullers.
Boys and girls will definitely have personal stories to tell about thunderstorms as you read Ohio Thunder. Model the "making connections" strategy, and ask the children whether any of them would like to share a connection to the story. They might also identify a connection to a pet as you read Once I Ate a Pie.
Books selected and reviewed by Carol Price
. Carol Price has been a preschool teacher and director, a kindergarten and first grade teacher, an elementary principal, and a K-12 English language arts coordinator. Recently retired after working thirty years for Worthington Schools in Worthington, Ohio, she now spends her time as an educational consultant, workshop presenter, and adjunct professor at a local college. More importantly, she finally has hours and hours available to read newly released children's books and to curl up with a few of her old favorites, too.