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Two Excellent Read-Alouds for Early Childhood Substitutes

More books no sub should be without!

Cover art from Kate Lum's delightful story book
Adrian Johnson, Illustrator

Let’s start with a brand new find that I’ve read to two very different Kindergarten classes – and it worked perfectly in both!

“What!” Cried Granny, by Kate Lum, illustrated by Adrian Johnson , is a hilarious look at a little boy’s first sleepover with his oh-so-industrious Granny, who must have been the original homesteader. Before you know it, the children catch the cumulative pattern of the story – every time Granny settles one problem, she invites the next by telling her grandson to snuggle up in a new item that he doesn’t have. “But he doesn’t have a – bed! - a blanket! -a Teddy! – a pillow!” they cry out gleefully! (Prediction! Sequencing!)
The story works on so many levels: Of course it introduces the methods of construction for all these commonplace items, and gives quite detailed explanations of how Granny goes out and makes each one. I noticed children commenting on how they know people who can knit, or sew, or do carpentry. They loved the illustrations, especially the ‘blueprints’ for the bed.
The sequencing of the task – preparing for bedtime – is also a useful discussion, and brings up things children may take for granted. Can they sequence their own bedtime in a story? What do they need? Think of all those “How to…” book ideas!
Finally, there is the social-emotional level. Sleepovers are a familiar childhood experience, taking many forms – commonplace or exceptional. In some classes it may be appropriate to talk about what kind of Granny would invite her grandson over and make absolutely no preparations – on the other hand, what does he really need, beyond a loving Granny and maybe a couch?

The second selection is: “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!” by Karen Beaumont (Author) , David Catrow (Illustrator)

This book has proven itself many times, right up to 2nd grade – it would probably go higher, I just haven’t tried it! The illustrations are absolutely exquisite, and hilarious. The little boy finds creative ways to paint every part of his body, right down to his toes, which look like Ukrainian Easter eggs! If you know the song that goes along with it, even better, and children pick up the rhyming pattern very quickly, predicting each of the body parts as the page is turned. Here is a reading of the book that uses the song effectively too, from Lansdowne Public Library - The typical response for this book is “Again! Again!” Follow-up activities can include choosing a part of the body and making a design for it. Painting or marking their actual bodies is NOT recommended! Be prepared to share each picture over and over again for inspiration.

Often there are plans for the entire day, and carrying books along may seem redundant, but having some extra books with me provides that opportunity to enhance some spare moments and get the children engaged for the sheer enjoyment of it!

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