My daughter has just turned 8, and she is a very fluent reader. Very often I hear the same question, What did you do with her when she was little? Well, we read a lot, and I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries in my blog. I decided to make these reading diaries more useful and create a new series on my blog where I will share our best books for each month for ages 3, 4, 5, and 6. Moreover, I will pair each book with an extension activity – sometimes with ours and sometimes with activities from my creative friends from Kid Blogger Network. In this post I am featuring books that we read when Smarty just turned 3 years old.
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1. Thanksgiving Day
Over years we read probably over 50 fictional and non-fictional Thanksgiving books, but Thanksgiving Day by Anne Rockwell remains to be our favorite, and I chose it as a recommendation for this age group. My daughter connected much better to modern characters at that age than to people, even children, who lived long time ago, and in this book the main characters are modern children preparing for Thanksgiving celebration. The origins of the holiday are explained as the kids are preparing for their play and decorate their classroom. There are many several interesting craft suggestions in the book, but my daughter was interested in replaying a big Thanksgiving feast with paper dolls:
2. A House for Hermit Crab
Eric Carle was one of our most favorite authors in preschool. We read all of his books many times, but on this pass through Eric Carle books my newly 4 year old was already reading them to me. A House for Hermit Crab happens to be one of her most favorite Carle books, because hermit crab is so sharing and generous in the story. We didn’t do any craft projects for this book, but I love this 3D Hermit Crab House craft from I Heart Pretty Things.
3. Today I Feel SillyOur preschoolers need to learn to sort through their emotions and recognize emotions in others as the critical step in developing empathy and compassion. Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis focuses on moods that make us human – both positive and negative moods. The rhyming verses are enhanced by entertaining watercolor illustrations of Laura Cornell. To extend the book, you can do your own “emotion matching game” using a free printable and instructions from B-Inspired Mama.
4. Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers
Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers by Mary Ann Hoberman was our “poetry selection” for November, and Smarty really enjoyed this book. All the poems are short (she could read them on her own) and revolve around ever popular topic of what our families look like. There are poems in the book that will appeal to adoptive and blended families, and a verse about single children, which I was so-so about, since it focused too much on the negatives of being a single child. This book could be a great read during All Around Me theme in preschool or kindergarten, and I really love this peek-a-boo family tree from No Time for Flash Cards. It could be a great extension activity for this book.
5. Big Rain Coming
We live in California, and droughts come more often than we would like them to be. Usually we don’t see any rain between April and October, and its return is a big deal to us marking an official start of fall. This is perhaps why Smarty really enjoyed Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein. This book set in Australia and illustrated in a traditional style of Australian Aborigines by Bronwyn Bancroft. We read this book again later for our preschool hands-on geography study of Australia and did a project for aboriginal art. If your children are wondering where fall rains are coming from, a science experiment might be in order. A very spectacular one that I’ve seen on dozens of blogs (with ever better pictures) is a cloud in a jar involving a shaving cream and food coloring, but, honestly, it’s not really scientific. Instead, I recommend this rain making experiment from I Can Teach My Child.
6. Everybody Cooks Rice
Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley continues the “multicultural books” theme, but action now shifts to the United States, to a neighborhood that could be part of our Silicon Valley. A girl is on a mission to find her younger brother who is playing outside, so he can come home for dinner. She checks with neighbors who are all making dinner, and she is always welcome and invited to try some of the dinner menu. We eat rice quite often at home – both with traditional European fare of “starch, vegetable, meat” that my husband and I normally cook and with Chinese takeout, but Smarty was amazed to discover that rice dishes are made all over the world. I have to warn that the book is rather long, and might have to be broken into pieces for kids who don’t want to sit still for a long story. On the other hand, you might combine each reading with making recipes mentioned in the book (recipes are included in the end) or you can just make your own favorite dish with rice. This Mexican beefy rice recipe from Crystal and Comp sounds yummy!
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