Ready for some fun?
Grab a group of young ‘uns. Read them a story book aloud. Make it one that has characters full of personality, perhaps with a repeating action or line, in a setting that captures their attention.
If they like it, read it again!
Afterwards, chat about it. See if they can recall the story, the characters, the action that takes place.
Oh, the fun . . .
Have them act it out!
Children who act out the tales they hear become part of the story; they better understand the action as well as the characters, themselves. They have fun, and their enjoyment is associated with books and reading. It is kinda the best thing ever.
And when I say act it out, you can do this in a number of ways. You can – literally – ask your child to become a character, to get up, walk around, and be that person or animal. You can employ the use of masks, puppets, images on popsicle sticks, and stuffed animals. Get creative! You, as reader, can read the entire book and have your kiddos act the story as you read. But, if they’re willing, you can have them say the lines of the character they are assigned (this works particularly well when there are repeating lines of text in the story).
Now, many fairy tales work particularly well for acting out: The Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Mitten. And, it is easy to see why. Repetitive action, repetitive lines, a well-known story line. Use them! It never hurts to indoctrinate the tried and true fairy tales with kiddos! You can surf online for even more ideas; every teacher has his own favorite act-out books.
What are mine? I’m so glad you asked.
Make a tiny little fly — out of felt or construction paper. Have it land on the various animals in this book. Surely your kiddos will enjoy proclaiming, “I’m going to catch that fly!” And, they’ll love to act out the swooping, rolling, tramping at the end of the story even more!
As Suzy escapes into the woods for some much needed peace and quiet, she is followed by a fox, a wolf, and a bear, who are all given sounds (tiptoe, creep, pad) as they follow behind her. And, if you don’t have a “main part,” who wouldn’t want to be one of Suzy’s loud, honking flock?
These four explorers creep around, attempting to capture a bird. When their efforts fail, one will silence the others, “Shh! We have a plan!” Lots to act out, as this book relies on illustrations; kids can have great fun with this one.
The refrain, “Oh no!” is enough to give this one a try. Kids will get to pretend to be an animal who falls into a hole! Don’t worry – they get out (most of them, anyway)!
I’ve mentioned this one before — as Carmelita makes her way down the city streets, she encounters neighbors, friends, and shop keepers along the way. They all stop to say hello — in a variety of languages. Act this one out and learn how to say hello in a new way!
I’m always in favor of reading a little Jan Thomas, anyway, but this title would be fun to assign parts. As mouse’s friends disappear, one by one, into the doghouse, mouse gets more and more freaked out. This one will give everyone a laugh.
Another book I’ve blogged about previously, but worth a second mention. So many animals! So many characters! They want to get cozy together, but all of them piled up on each other ends up being not-so-cozy after all.
As squirrel works hard in collecting all kinds of nibbles in preparation for winter, his animal friends try to entice him to spend a little time with them. But Squirrel can’t: he is so busy!
With fabric or a big splat of pink butcher paper, create a big blob of faux bubble gum for all the characters to get stuck in. Great vocabulary in this one!
Keep acting out those books – and
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