Pocket Craft

Craft: Make a Pocket
Using yarn and paper and/or fabric, sew a pocket. This can go with books like Pouch by David Stein or There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss.
Early Literacy Aside: Example Aside--Writing:  When we do crafts like this, using scissors and lacing, children are developing fine motor skills, strengthening the muscles they need for writing! If you would like to write a letter on the pocket, P for pocket or the first letter in their name, for example, then they would be learning letters as well!

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Thanks to Jenny Rodriguez, Boynton Beach(FL) Public Library for this idea

City Shapes by Diana Murray

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Introduction: Let's look at the cover of our next book, City Shapes by Diana Murray. It is illustrated by Bryan Collier. What do you see on the cover? [Note some different shapes, also kaleidoscope. Describe one, show one if possible. Open to end papers--what do they see, what does it look like?] 
Read the book, pointing out and asking children to point out some of the shapes.
Early Literacy Aside--Example:  Did you know--recognizing shapes is a first step to recognizing and writing letters, because researchers have found that children actually identify letters by their shapes. And this book has so many possibilities for recognizing shapes, from toddlers to school-age children.
Early Literacy Aside--Empower:  When we talk about shapes all around us, throughout the day, we help our children become more aware of shapes which will support their letter knowledge.
OR
Writing Activity: Have children draw a picture of whatever they like, can be related to the book.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Adults, as your children are drawing and talking about their picture, talk with them about the shapes they see in the picture. Helping them be aware of shapes will also them identify and write letters.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F.Isabel Campoy

Introduction: Our next book is about making a place better to live by making it more beautiful. It is called Maybe Something Beautiful and the illustrator, Rafael Lopez is the person who actually helped to make a neighborhood in San Diego, California, more beautiful by painting murals. Let's see what happened. This story is based on what really happened in San Diego. [After reading the book, or parts of it, describe what is said in "A Note from the Authors."]

Activity: Have some mural paper and paints. (if not paints, then crayons/markers) Talk about what the children might like to paint that might make a neighborhood beautiful. Then have them paint on the paper. Display it.

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Early Literacy Aside (option 1): Adults, when we have children paint/draw, it is helping children develop the skills for later writing.

Early Literacy Aside (option 2): Adults, after your children have finished painting/drawing, ask them to tell you all about what they have made. Encourage them to tell you a story about it or how they got the idea. You can enrich the experience by expanding on what they say, descriptive words, words for feelings, encouraging their imagination, giving information about a topic. If they drew a butterfly, for example, you might add some information you know about butterflies. Your conversation can build their vocabulary and background knowledge, what they know about the world, which will make it easier for them later to understand what they read.

Peanut & Fifi Have a Ball by Randall de Seve

Introduction: When we use books that are fun and use imagination, our children make a connection to the story. In Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball written by Randall de Seve and illustrated by Paul Schmid, Peanut has a new ball and Fifi tries so hard to get her to play.  Watch how this story uses a simple item and adds imagination.
Read the book.
Activity: Act out the story.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Acting out the story, dramatic play, reinforces both the story itself and the pleasure about the story. By internalizing the story, they are better able to understand it.
Early Literacy Aside--Empower:  I hope you'll encourage playing with stories at home as well. Take a box, ruler, blanket, ball, or many other simple items and use make believe to encourage play.  Other books that work with Play and imagination are Not a Box and Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis.  After playing with a simple item, you can always expand on this play by having your child draw something they did, dictate a story about their play, or just describe what they did with the item.  Using writing to expand on the story validates your child’s play. Talking about and recording the story,  going over the sequence is uses their narrative skills which helps your child learn how stories work by using first, next, and last. Submitted by Dianna Burt, Allen County (IN) Public Library

Old Macdonald Had a Farm Handout

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: Today we talked about farm animals and sang Old Macdonald. Here is an activity sheet for you and your child to draw farm animals and talk about the sounds they make, which is a first stem to helping your children hear the smaller sounds in words. Don't worry if you can't figure out which animal your child has drawn. Your child will tell you what it is. Enjoy!

Old Macdonald Had a Farm Handout

You Can Do Anything, Daddy by Michael Rex

Read the book You Can Do Anything, Daddy by Michael Rex.Craft/Activity: In this book, the boy is thinking of bad things that might happen to him. His father is figuring out how to save his son. I am giving each of you [adults and children] a piece of paper. On one side I want you to draw something you think of that is scary for you. On the other side I want you to think of something your a grownup could do to help you. It is all pretend, make-believe. What can you think of? Eary Literacy Aside: Having your children draw and then tell you about what they drew develops their narrative skills. It also gives us a window into their thoughts. You can also write down what your children say with the picture so that they make the connection between the written and the spoken word. This helps develop their print awareness, knowing that print has meaning.

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester

As you read the book, ask the children to identify the animals in the book. Talk about the landscape in the pictures--where in the world might this take place? Use words the children may not know (arctic, icebergs, ice floes, glaciers, etc.). Also, talk about Tacky the Penguin's personality, his uniqueness and originality, explaining words children may not know. For an activity, have children and adults draw and color a penguin however they want.Early Literacy Aside--Empower: We used lots of interesting words today with Tacky the Penquin, some were not even in the book. This helps develop your child's vocabulary. On your way home, talk about being creative and ways your child is unique, using some of the interesting words we used today and adding your own. Through talking and talking about your children's drawings there are many opportunities to expand your child's vocabulary.

Submitted by David Banker, Radford (VA) Public Library