Friday, July 31, 2015

Reading with Little Miss Muffet, July 2015

New Book Behaviors

Little Miss Muffet is now right around 20 months, and it is amazing to see how much more verbal - and physically capable - she is becoming. Thankfully, despite the many distractions that catch her eye, she still loves books, and we still read quite a bit on most days, even if we don't always meet the "requirement" of fifteen minutes a day. Amidst her newly emerging skills, I have noticed two new book-related behaviors.

  • Choosing library books. In general, when we take Miss Muffet to the library, we do all of the browsing and she does a lot of running around and playing with toys. On our last trip, however, she actually chose two books of her own to bring home! Both were board books: Oops! by David Shannon and Wemberly's Ice Cream Star by Kevin Henkes. Though she is really much more into picture books than board books in general right now, she has asked for Oops! to be read to her at least once a day since we brought it home, and she is even learning to recite the entire story herself. The Henkes book didn't make as much of an impression, but I'm still glad we brought it home, since she went to the trouble of selecting it! 
  • Acting out stories. The other thing Miss Muffet has been doing with greater frequency is acting out the books we read. It started with From Head to Toe (a favorite from back in April that has yet to lose its appeal), and has since expanded to any book which provides instructions on how to move, or which involves animal sounds, or naming body parts. Usually, she makes movements that I have modeled for her, but on occasion, she comes up with her own unique motions, too. It makes reading time more fun for me, because it adds some variety to the many repeated re-readings of her favorite books, and it makes it easier to engage her with a story. 

Current Favorites

Though we are still reading many of the previous months' favorites, Miss Muffet has also added some new ones to her repertoire.

  • Can You Cuddle Like a Koala? by John Butler
    I have been reading this book to Miss Muffet every night at bedtime for a few weeks. I initially chose it because it is a true bedtime story, which invites the child to curl up and get ready to sleep in the final pages, but I stick with it because I love the way she acts out the animals' different movements. I also love the way she stops on the otter page every night to tell me it's not a mouse. ("Mouse no.") 
  • The Great Big Word Book by Margaret A. Hartelius
    This was my book as a child, and when my mom told me she had found it among my childhood possessions, I asked her to set it aside so we could bring it home when we visited. Miss Muffet loves it almost as much as her Richard Scarry word book, and we have already spent a lot of time poring over the details on every page. She is especially fond of the scenes early in the book where the family eats breakfast and gets ready for the day. 
  • The Grumpalump by Sarah Hayes and Barbara Firth
    My mom bought me a used copy of this book, which I have been wanting for my personal story time collection. I usually use it with older kids who can act out hand movements to accompany each animal's role in the story, but Miss Muffet took a surprising liking to it, so we have been reading it a couple of times a day. She is fascinated by the yak and the gnu, and she loves to identify the "boon" (balloon) on the last page of the story. 

One Tip from Mom

  • Let your toddler fill in the blanks. In the past couple of months, I have started pausing at certain points in familiar books to let Miss Muffet fill in the next word. Even in books where I am positive there is no way she could know what comes next, she has surprised me by chiming in with the exact right response. We are at the point now where she can "read" Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? on her own, and she has also started filling in two-word phrases in some parts of Caps for Sale. This is a fun way to engage your child with favorite books, and it's also proof that reading aloud to your little ones makes a difference even when they don't always look like they are paying attention! 
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