Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

The Role of Big Books and Shared Reading, Part 3

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. To read the first article in this blog series about shared reading, click here. To read the second article, click here.

In the third and last post of this blog series, I will offer ways to use Joy Cowley big books for shared reading activities in your classroom.

BOOK THREE: WISHY-WASHY MOUSE

REASONS FOR SHARED READING:

  • Many students are familiar with Mrs. Wishy- Washy and her animals.
  • The book uses words ending in '-y' that are pronounced with the 'e' sound.
  • The book provides opportunities for inferential questions: why didn’t the animals help Mrs. Wishy-Washy get the mouse out of the barn?
  • The last page of the book uses quotation marks.
  • The word "help” appears as an uppercase "H" on page 3 and a lowercase "h" on pages 4 and 5.
  • The sight words 'is,’ 'in,’ 'the,’ 'did,’ 'not,’ 'said,' 'come,’ and 'out' are featured in the story.
  • The illustrations help the children understand character traits and feelings, helping to promote fluency.
  • The children can hear how the reader's voice changes with periods, quotation marks, and exclamation marks.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR FIRST READING:

  • Introduce the book title and provide opportunities for children share what they know about Mrs. Wishy-Washy. Use the title page to introduce the mouse. What do you know about mice? Where do you think the mouse is? Why do you think that?
  • Read the story to the children, employing emotion as you read. As you come to multisyllabic words, tap the pointer to indicate the number of syllables.
  • After reading the story, ask the children to discuss how Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the animals felt about the mouse. Why did Mrs. Wishy-Washy ask for help? Why did the duck tell the mouse to come out 'now'? Why did Mrs. Wishy-Washy run back to the house?
  • Discuss the dialogue on page 8. How do we know that duck said this? Ask the children how the duck was feeling. Stress the word 'now.' Why is that word important?

SUGGESTIONS FOR SECOND READING:

  • Encourage the children to read along with you. What do the children think the word 'cried' means? Is it different from being 'sad'? When you get to page 8, invite a child to be the duck and the rest of the class to read the last line on that page.
  • Study the picture on the title page and the picture on page 2. What happened to the mouse between the two pages? When do you think Mrs. Wishy-Washy first saw the mouse?
  • Ask the children to study the faces of the animals on the last page. How do the animals feel about what happened? What might they be thinking?
  • Ask different children to use the pointer. If the child has trouble with 'one to one,' guide the student's hand, slowly reading and tapping out syllables in words with more than one syllable.

FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES:

  • Create a blank bingo-shaped grid with a free center square. Prepare large flashcards with eight sight words or write each word on the board. Ask the children to write each word in one of the squares on their grid. Explain that everyone has created his or her own game boards. Call each word one time, encouraging students to listen for sounds in the word. After the students have put an 'x' on the word they think is correct, ask them to spell and say the word with you. If they were correct they can draw a smiley face inside the box. Two of the words begin alike but have different endings. The other six all begin with different sounds. Collect the students’ game boards to help you evaluate each child’s sight-reading strengths. Were they able to accurately write the words? Are there letters that they are still reversing?
  • Ask the children to draw a picture about a time when they were scared. Add a speech bubble above their heads and write a line of dialogue. Add a caption to explain what is happening in the picture.

FURTHER REREADING:

  • Use the book in oral or silent guided reading. The book can then go home for sharing with the family.
  • Add more Mrs. Wishy-Washy books into your class library.
  • Place the big book in a center or the class library. Students can take turns playing the role of the teacher.

 

BOOK FOUR: DAN AND THE PARROT

REASONS FOR SHARED READING:

  • The story includes dialogue that will help practice fluency and reinforce quotation marks and exclamation marks.
  • Rhyming patterns '-an,' '-ash,’ '-ay,’ and '-age' are included. Page 4 and 12 contain words that rhyme but have different spellings.
  • The text includes the contractions 'don't,' 'can't,' 'I'm,' 'you're,’ and 'I'll.’
  • Examples of onomatopoeia are on pages 8, 11, and 13.
  • The story allows for inference questions: What did the parrot mean when it called itself 'tricky'? Why did the parrot tell Dan that he was ' as slow as a flying carrot' on page 9?
  • Some words contain all capital letters. How are these words different?
  • Two synonyms for 'yelled' are used in the story: cried and shrieked. Why did the author use different words?
  • Words ending in '-ing,' '-ed,’ and ‘-y' are used more than once in the story. Discuss the purpose of these particles.
  • The pictures provide good clues for unknown words and understanding character traits.

SUGGESTIONS FOR FIRST READING:

  • If students are already familiar with Dan the Flying Man, ask them to share what they know about Dan.
  • Introduce the three characters on front cover. Ask the children to predict some things that might happen in the story. Turn to the title page. What does the picture tell us?
  • Use a pointer as your read with expression and emotion. Exaggerate the quotation marks and exclamation points.
  • Discuss the main conflict and Dan’s resolution. Why did Gran call Dan "a clever man”?
  • Discuss ways that the Dan and the parrot are alike and different. Use pictures from the books for hints (setting, size, method of flying, etc.) Create a T-chart to record the children's comparisons.

SUGGESTIONS FOR SECOND READING:

  • Encourage students to read along with you and adopt the different character’s voices. Point out the exclamation mark on page 1 and reaffirm its purpose. Practice as a class.
  • Read the story, using a pointer and talking like the characters.

FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES:

  • Assign each child to a character in the book. Students without an assigned character can 'SWOOP’ and ‘FLIP-FLAP.' The picture on each page will give clues about which character is speaking. You can point to the character to help the children understand when they should speak.
  • Provide a list of the contractions in the book and ask the students to write the two words that formed the contraction. Then write a sentence using the contraction.
  • The simile "slow as a carrot' was used in the story. Discuss the definition of a simile. The following simile patterns can be included on an activity sheet with blank spaces for the children to complete the simile:
    • The parrot's wings could flap as fast as ________ __________.
    • Dan could fly as high as ________ ____________________!
    • Dan swooped into the air like ________ _______________.
    • As the story ended, the parrot was as mad as ________ ________.
  • Explore the following word meanings, using pictures as clues:
    • "That's not fair!"
    • "I don't care!"
    • shriek with rage"
  • Ask students to study the picture on the final page. What is probably going to happen again?

FURTHER REREADING:

  • Place the book in a center where children can read the story and assume the role of teacher. The book can also be used with a shared reading group or shared with families.
  • Add the other Dan the Flying Man books to the classroom library.

I hope that this blog series has helped you understand the power of shared reading and that you will enjoy it as much as I have over the years. Not only is it a delightful way to spend time with all students, but it also provides ample opportunity for follow-up activities based on your students’ needs. 

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Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from Hameray's Kaleidoscope Collection. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. 

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Visit our website to learn more about Wishy-Washy MouseDan and the Parrot, and other books by Joy Cowley. Click the image below to download a brochure featuring Hameray's Big Books Collection!

Leveled Big Books