Introduction: Our next book is 17 Kings and 42 Elephants written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Patricia MacCarthy. Now we will take a journey into the jungle without even leaving the story room. In this story there are some nonsense words—that means they are not real words, but are made-up words. Listen carefully to try to figure out which are the nonsense words, but don’t tell.
Read the book.
Go through the book and tell which are the nonsense words. Ask the children what they think a couple of the nonsense words might mean. Talk about one of the real words and its meaning.
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Talking about specific meanings of words strengthens your children’s vocabulary which will help them understand what they later will read. Often times children have a general idea of what words mean but that benefit from an actual explanation. No need to do that with every unfamiliar word! Just pick out one or two or ask your child to pick out a word that sounds interesting and talk about its meaning.
For a sound clip 17 Kings & 42 Elephants of an excerpt from the book said in a mesmerizing chant by Amy Alapati
Submitted by Amy Alapati, Montgomery County (MD) Public Libraries
Extension Activity: Elmer Puppet
Hand out elephant cut outs on white card stock and colorful construction paper squares to glue to the elephant or crayons to color the elephant. They then glue a popsicle stick to the back. Encourage children to describe what they made and to retell the story using their puppet. Adults with babies can make a colorful elephant to move in front of their babies’ eyes and talk about the shapes and colors.
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: Adults as you play with your children or make crafts with them, try to use a word they are less familiar with. Children learn words best through their experiences, not by memorizing words. You might use less familiar words for colors, like fuschia or magenta, or perhaps the way the elephant is walking, lumbering slowly along. You have many opportunities throughout the day to build your children’s vocabulary. It is these little things you do over and over again that make a difference.
Submitted by Katie Ringenbach, Bucks County (PA) Public Library
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: I have a handout for you on the topic of our storytime today–night. It has some book titles which I have also displayed here. I hope you’ll like the suggestions of ideas and techniques you can do with your children at home to help develop their pre-reading skills, just as you saw me do in the storytime. You are with your children more often than I am so you have many opportunities to use some of these ideas. Let me know which ideas you enjoy doing with your children.
Storytime Handout for storytime on the theme of Night/Noche
Handout in English Nighthandoutkc
Handout in Spanish Nochehandoutkc
Submitted by Katie Cunningham
We sing this song after reading Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza. The first time you come to the word scrumptious, add the words delicious or yummy. [If you prefer you can tlak about the word scrumptious before starting the book.]
Early Literacy Aside–Example: When a book has a word that is unfamiliar to your child, this is a great opportunity to build vocabulary. Don’t replace the word with a simpler one, just explain it briefly. Books have rich language, more unusual words than we use in daily conversation.
Five Scrumptious Cookies
Five scrumptious cookies in the baker’s shop
Big and round with some sugar on top
Along came a boy with a penny to pay
Who bought a scrumptious cookie and took it away.
Four scrumptious cookies . . .
Three scrumptious cookies . . .
Two scrumptious cookies . . .
One scrumptious cookie . . .
No scrumptious cookies . . .
Big and round with some sugar on top
No one came with a penny to pay.
So close the baker’s shop and have a baking day.
Animals Storytime Handout animalhandvocabcarolwagstaffdouglascolpl
by Carol Wagstaff, Douglas County (CO) Public Library
Junglemania Storytime Handout: yadkinnchandoutJunglemania
by Lynne Reed, Yadkin County (NC) Public Library
Sing songs in English and in at least one other language during storytime.
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: Adults, you can sing anywhere about anything in any language! Singing helps children hear the smaller sounds in words to help them sound out words later. Also many songs have new words for them to learn which will help them know the meanings of words when they get to school.
Randi Kay Stephens, Sacramento (CA) Public Library
Early Literacy Aside–Example: You can use unfamiliar words with your children and model what they mean. For example, you can whisper when reading “whispering” and have your child say a quiet, “hush.” This is a simple way to expand the words your children know. Let’s try it as we read Goodnight Moon.
Read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: When you go to play in the park next time with your children, talk about some of the concepts we talked about today–over/under, top/bottom, left/right. The best way for children to learn these concepts is not by memorizing what they mean, but by learning them as they are playing. By helping them learn these concepts, they will later better understand what they read.
Natalie Beaver, Sacramento (CA) Public Library
Video clip explanation and demonstration of ineffective and efffective early literacy asides.
Saroj Ghoting, Early Childhood Literacy Consultant www.earlylit.net