This Is the Nest That Robin Built by Denise Fleming


Denise Fleming’s book This Is the Nest That Robin Built can be used in many ways to support early literacy. here are some possibilities:

Story Structure—How Stories Work
Our next book is This Is the Nest That Robin Built is a story that keeps building on what the sentences that went before. It is a cumulative story. [Read the page with the Squirrel. Have children repeat twigs, not too big, that anchor the next that Robin built. Tell them they can join in on every page.]
Example Tip: When we have children notice the pattern in a story, we help them understand how some stories work. This helps them predict what might happen next and helps them understand the story.

To support vocabulary, there are many words to choose from to explain—anchor, trim, soupy, bind, plaster, cushion, brittle, tufted, fledglings.
Example Tip for Vocabulary: When we explain a word, rather than replace the word with an easier word, we build our children’s vocabulary which will later help them understand what they read.

You could also talk about how the baby birds in the nest feel—worried, scared. Or you might use the word apprehensive, uncertain. This helps to develop both children’s vocabulary and their background knowledge, when you help them relate these emotions to their lives.

Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim

Cat on the Bus.jpg

Introduction: Our next book is Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim. This book is almost wordless, hardly any words, so you can help me tell the story from the pictures. We are going to look carefully at the faces of the characters, the cat, the man, and the girl. I would like you to tell me how you think they are feeling.
[Read the book together, talking about the feelings of the characters. Use words for feelings that may not be so familiar. In addition to happy and sad, you might add curious, confused, disappointed, overwhelmed, content, friendly, joyful, and more.]
Example Aside: Vocabulary: When we add less familiar words to ones that children already know, we are building their vocabulary which will later help them understand what they read.  OR
[Read the book together, talking about when children have felt the way the characters in the book have. You may have this discussion after the end of the book; you need not interrupt the story.]
Example Aside: Background Knowledge: When we relate something in the story to the child's own experiences, we help them make the connection between the story and themselves which helps them understand the story.

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!


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

Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury

Introduction: Our next book The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury has some animals in it. What animals do you see on the cover? What does it look like the animals are doing? In this book, someone is saying "I'm the giant jumperee" in a very loud voice. Can you say that? Let me hear you. [Practice a couple of times.] Great! Now let's see what is happening in this story.
Read the book, having participants join in with the repeated phrase.
Go back to the pages that say the cat slunk and the bear swaggered. Talk about what does slunk mean? What does swagger mean? How would the cat slink, or the bear swagger? You may ask them to show actions for these words. How is it different from walking?
Early Literacy Aside--Example--Vocabulary: Adults, when we help children understand the meanings of words, like by having them act them out and by discussing differences between words with similar meanings, we are helping to develop their vocabulary which will help them later understand what they read.

At the end of storytime, have the children and adults slink or swagger out of storytime.


Spunky Little Monkey by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson

Introduction: Our next book is called Spunky Little Monkey by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson. It is illustrated by Brian Won. [Remember Hooray for Hat? Brian Won wrote and illustrated that book, too! Bill Martin, Jr. wrote Brown, Bear, Brown, Bear, What Do You See?]


I'd like you to help me with reading this book. The monkey is getting some exercise and does somemovements to sounds. So, when it says the rhythm of the head, the sound is ding-dong and we move our head from side to side. Let me see you do that. Great! When it says rhythm of the hands, then we clap twice, clap clap. Try that. Great! For the feet, it says stomp stomp, so stomp your feet twice. Good! And then for the rhythm of the hips, it says shake, shake so wiggle your hips. OK! Let's try it.
[Read the book, having them join in. Repeat the movements in sequence till the children are comfortable with it--the page with ding dong, clap clap, stomp stomp, shake shake] Yay! You got the pattern--ding dong, clap clap, stomp stomp, shake shake!

Early Learning Aside--Example--Math Concepts--Patterns: Adults, in math, a repeated sequence is a pattern. When we did the repeated motions over and again, they could notice the pattern and begin to anticipate what comes next. This fun activity and book helps to build math skills!

Early Learning Aside--Empower: You can notice patterns or make up movement and clapping patterns throughout the day. Lots of fun and builds math skills, too.

City Shapes by Diana Murray


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.
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.

Opposite Surprise by Agnese Baruzzi


[Opposite Surprise is a fold-out board book that can be used on different levels with mixed age groups. Some of the concepts are simple, like small or big which shows a small car and a large truck. Others are more complicated like thin and wide showing a pencil and a bridge, and one rather puzzling hot and cold showing the sun and two plugs. School age children could even make their own fold-out pages of opposites.]

Introduction: Our next book is a book about opposites. Can anyone tell me something that is opposite? [See if they give examples.] Let's look at this fun book of opposites. [Choose a few pages or read the whole book, talking about the pictures and the words that are opposite, letting older children guess what might the picture might be before opening the fold-out page.]
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Background Knowledge--Conceptual Thinking: Adults, we might often use words that are opposite like big and small or up and down. However, also pointing out that these ARE opposites helps children learn the concept of opposite which builds their understanding about the world around them, and also their comprehension when they later read these words.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Vocabulary: Adults, when we use the word opposite with words that are opposites, we are helping to build children's vocabulary which will later help them understand what they read.

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: Adults, you certainly don't need a book about opposites to talk about opposites. As you are playing with your children, even lifting them up and down, feeling tired or rested/refreshed, or in the bathtub--float and sink--there are many opportunities throughout the day to talk about opposites which helps your children understand their world.


Found by Salina Yoon


This book can is a good one for mixed age groups. It can be understood on many levels. Even adults will enjoy the humor in the "Lost" signs, such as "Anyone see an elephant in the room?" or "Lost track of time."
Introduction: Here is a story called Found written by Salina Yoon. I see Bear on the cover. What do you think he has found? Yes, a bunny, a stuffed animal bunny rabbit. Let's see what happens when Bear tries to find bunny's home.
Read the book. On the page with all the Lost signs, read some of them, pointing to the text.
Early Literacy Tip--Example: [After reading the book, go back to the page with the lost signs. Point to and read a couple of the signs.] Pointing out the words in signs is one great way to help children develop print awareness, that print has meaning, that we are reading the text, not the pictures. This will make it easier for them to focus on the text when they learn to read.
Early Literacy Tip--Empower: Whenever you see signs, as you are driving, walking, at a store, pointing out what the text says is one way to help your children develop print awareness, one of the pre-reading skills they need to learn to read.

Clip, Clop by Catherine Hnatov


Introduction: Our next book is about the movements animals make and what it sounds like when they move. The book is Clip, Clop by Catherine Hnatov. What is this animal on the cover? That's right, a horse. When he trots about, his hooves on the ground sound like this--clip, clop, clip, clop. Let me hear you say clip, clop. Very good! [They can tap their thighs if they like.]

Read the book. [Pause to talk about the words for the movements and making the sounds together.]

Early Literacy Aside--Example: This book is full of interesting words that we might not use in regular conversation with our babies and toddlers. Sharing this book with our children offers us the opportunity to build their vocabulary as they hear new words and their listening skills as they become aware of words that sound like the sounds themselves. When we expose our children to new words, even if they don't understand all the words right now, we build their vocabulary which makes it easier for them to understand words later and to understand what they will read.
When we point out sounds, we help them become more aware of the sounds around them. This awareness can also help them later hear smaller sounds in words which will help them later sound out words when they learn to read.
[You may do either or both of these aspects of the book--vocabulary (words) or sounds (phonological awareness).]

A Stick Until . . . by Constance Anderson


Introduction: Here I have a stick. What can we do with a stick? [Respond to replies, encourage ways people may use a stick, how about animals using sticks? Show the cover of the book A Stick Until . . . by Constance Anderson.] What animals do you see on the cover? Let's see what this elephant will do with a stick.

Early Literacy Aside: Adults, this book has many interesting words your children may not know yet, such as a bird's plumage, or the alligator is submerged. When we use these unfamiliar words with children and then give a brief explanation, that is how they learn new words which will later also help them understand what they read!
Read the book, offering synonyms for a couple of words.

A Stick Until . . . by Constance Anderson


Introduction: Here I have a stick. What can we do with a stick? [Respond to replies, encourage ways people may use a stick, how about animals using sticks? Show the cover of the book A Stick Until . . . by Constance Anderson.] What animals do you see on the cover? Let's see what this elephant will do with a stick.
Read the book, pointing out the true ways animals use sticks. Point out additional factual information at the end of the book.
Early Literacy Aside: When we share factual information about topics that interest our children, it builds their background knowledge, what they know about the world. Their background knowledge helps them later understand what they read.

Math Handout for Parents/Caregivers


Here is a sample handout on math concepts for parents/caregivers.
It is available in Word so you can edit it. However, sometimes the text and graphics get scrambled in Word, so there is a pdf version here as well.
The idea is that you can copy them back-to-back and then cut in half, so you get two handouts per sheet. One side is the general information on math concepts. The other side (half the sheet) you would edit to reflect whatever concept and activities you are doing in a particular storytime and an idea to keep it going after storytime is over.

Here is also a general handout of science and math concepts.  Word    PDF

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.


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.

Tractor by DK Publishing (Board book)

Introduction: Our next book is a board book that is cleverly cut in the shape of a tractor. We won't read the whole book, but this is a good introduction to a tractor, its different parts, and what it does. Let's look at the cover. What do you see? (lights, tires) What does a tractor do? . . . Good ideas! Let's find out more. [Choose a page or two to share.]


Early Literacy Aside--Example:  Adults, when we talk with our children, even our young children, about factual information, we help them learn about the world. This introduces them to the background knowledge they will need to later understand what they read. Even if they do not understand everything we say, it is still important to share the information with them.

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: Adults, you do not need a book to share factual information with your children. As you are doing things together or going places together, share information you know about any topic of interest. You are building your child's background knowledge about the world which helps with comprehension. And! they are so very curious about the world.

Over in the Arctic Where the Cold Winds Blow by Marianne Berkes

Introduction: Our next book is called Over in the Arctic Where the Cold Winds Blow by Marianne Berkes. We can make the actions and sounds of the animals as we go along.


Read or Sing the book. After completing the book, come back to the page with the owls.
There are some interesting words on this page. There is a mother snowy owl. What color is the owl? And her little owlets seven. A baby owl is called an owlet. Let's say that together. It says here that the owls glide. Let me see how the mother owl glides (Let them show you wide wings with their arms). And how does a baby owlet glide? (wings/arms not so wide). What does flying look like? What does gliding look like? (more smooth, soar) and what does swooping look like? (from high to low--plunging, lunging, diving).

Early Literacy Aside--Example: Songs can give us words we might not hear in regular conversation. In this book, having fun with the action words can help children distinguish between words of similar meanings. This helps children learn small differences in the meanings of words which builds their vocabulary and helps them later understand what they read.

From Flower to Honey by Robin Nelson


Introduction: How many of you have ever tasted honey? What does it taste like? Do any of you know how honey is made? How? In our next book, called From Flower to Honey by Robin Nelson, we can find out in more detail about how honey is made. Let's see what it says.
Read the book, shortening if necessary. Share some of the Table of Contents and point out Glossary at the back.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: When we share factual books with children, we show them that books can be used for different purposes, stories as well as learning about the world. When we point out features like the table of contents and the glossary, it helps them learn how different kinds of books work.


Don't Wake Up the Tiger by Britta Teckentrup

Early Literacy Aside--Example: Adults, in our next book there are many words written in bold and large letters. I will be pointing to these words and saying them more loudly, and encouraging you all to say them along with me. By pointing out these words, we help children notice the text which will help them later focus on the text when they learn to read.
Read Don't Wake Up the Tiger and point out some of the words in bold, saying them more loudly, with emphasis. Point to the words as you have children repeat some of them. You can sing "Happy Birthday" to Tiger.
If you like, you can make or bring in a happy birthday banner, or use the flannel board to spell out happy birthday.


Don't Spill the Beans by Ian Schoenherr

Early Literacy Aside--Example: Adults, in our next book, notice the many ways to say the same thing, so many different expressions. Talking about the different meanings of words helps to build your children's vocabulary which will later help them understand what they read.
To the children: Our next book is called Don't Spill the Beans by Ian Schoenherr. What do you think "don't spill the beans" means? What is one thing it might mean? . . . discuss
In this book it is meaning--don't tell a secret. Bear has a fun secret. Let's see what it is. [Read the book.]
Early Literacy Aside--Empower: Adults, this week you may like to think about some of the expressions you use, and talk about words with different meanings. I have a handout with some more idioms.
Idioms Can Be Funny


Look at You! by Star Bright Books (book with a mirror)

Early Literacy Aside--Explain: Today I'll be pointing out we can share feelings while using books and songs. It is important to use many different words for feelings. This not only helps your child learn new words and builds their vocabulary, but it also helps them manage their feelings. The first step to managing feelings is to able to identify feelings.


Book: Read Look at You!  Talk about the expressions on the faces of the children in the photos. For some, you may ask them to make the faces of those feelings. Older children will be able to remember a time they felt that way.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: As we shared this book, some of the children shared when they have felt upset or surprised, which helps them understand these feeling words and their own feelings more deeply. Using specific words for feelings helps develop your children's vocabulary.

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: There are many books that lend themselves to talking about feelings. Sometimes you may talk about feelings from the expression on a character's face in a picture, even if the feeling word is not mentioned in the text. When you read with your child, your child can share more than in a storytime group. I hope this week you will enjoy sharing feelings as you read together. I have a list of some feeling words to give you, to help bring them to mind. Sometimes it is hard to think of words for our feelings, other than the obvious ones like happy, sad, angry, surprised.
Words for Feelings handout

Libro! Book! by Kristine George

Introduction: The boy in this book loves to read books and he got a book as a gift. Where do you like to read books? . . . Let's see what this boy likes to do with his book.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Adults when we are a bit silly as we talk about the pictures in a book, [such as the one wearing the book like a hat or turning it upside down] we are encouraging that enjoyment around books which will serve your children well when they try to learn to read. That enjoyment makes them choose to read and the more they choose to read, the easier reading will become, bit by bit.

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: I have pulled some books onto this table for display. Having your child choose a book they may enjoy is another way to support print motivation, your child's enjoyment around books and reading. If your child does not like the ones here, I would be happy to help you pick out something together from our collection.