Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bringing books to life!

My son has been very into acting out stories lately, particularly with his stuffed Elephant Gerald and Piggie from Mo Willems' ever-fabulous Elephant and Piggie series.  My brother-in-law gave W the plush versions of some of his favorite characters for Christmas -- Gerald, Piggie, and the Pigeon (who even yells, "Let me drive the bus!!" when you squeeze him) -- and my daughter got a little Knuffle Bunny.  We LOVE Mo Willems' stories, and acting them out has been the source of endless entertainment lately.  I hadn't been planning on writing a post about our newest source of story time fun, but after reading about Day 14 of the 30 Days to Hands On Play Challenge (over at hands on: as we grow and The Imagination Tree), I decided I'd share more of what we've been up to.  Here are some of our ideas for helping to bring books to life:

Act it out with stuffed animals, puppets, or costumes.  Usually, when we act out our Elephant and Piggie stories, W assumes the role of Piggie while my husband or I become Gerald.  W emphatically reads all of Piggie's lines and acts out every movement and emotion with his plush Piggie along the way.  At first, I thought most of W's "reading" was simply reciting the words from memory, but more and more I'm beginning to think that he is starting to do a lot of actual reading on his own now, too.  It's so much fun to watch!  But back to our little skits. I will say that reading this way is not the best pre-bedtime ritual, as we can't help but get a bit (okay, very) silly when it comes to reading Elephant and Piggie.  Happy Pig Day! is a favorite act-out and read-aloud at the moment, along with There is a Bird On Your Head.  I'm sure the enactments will spread to the Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny series soon, too, though for now it's all about Gerald and Piggie.  I just love the giggle fest that inevitably ensues!

Read the story as you would a play, with each of you reading different characters' lines.  Stories are more fun when characters have different voices, don't you think?  My husband and I both love reading books aloud this way, and our kids just love it when we do.  There are some books that are more conducive to this than others, of course (including the fabulous Elephant Piggie we talk so much about), but one of our other favorite series for this kind of reading is Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. This is another one of our all-time favorite friendships, and I absolutely love these stories.  Frog and Toad's personalities are so different that I just can't imagine them being read in the same voice.  Frog always ends up sounding a bit like Kermit, and Toad always sounds a little more raspy and gruff.  My son just loves being Toad, and has listened to the stories so many times that he has most of them memorized.  I just love hearing his silly little Toad "accent" as we read the stories together.  It's also quite common for him to quote lines from various stories as he is going about his day, and it's always fun to see what lines have stuck in his head.  Children needn't be independent readers to take part in this kind of story reading duet.  Read any favorite book enough times and they'll be bound to learn their lines along the way.

Draw it, build it, act it out!  After reading Jamie's post at hands on: as we grow about acting out Little Blue Truck, I realized that we could be doing even more to bring our favorite stories to life.  This is one of the things I love most about blogging:  becoming connected to so many other people and their brilliant ideas.  Why not tape a huge roll of paper down on to the floor (love that blue painter's tape!) and draw out a landscape or scene?  Bust out the blocks, the trucks, the animals, the Playmobil figures, the Duplos and let those little minds go to work!  I'll sometimes let my son watch Cars just so he can line up all of his cars and act it all out.  We make up Thomas the tank engine stories as we play with our trains on a daily basis.  I don't know why I never thought to do this with more of our books!

Have other ideas that you're willing to share?  I'd love to hear them!  Feel free to post ideas or links to your blog in the comments below.


DeliveringGrace said...

We've just been acting out Ping-with card ducks, a cardboard box and bridge, a real horse whip and basket. There was a bit of discussion about who should spank Ping-poor duck!
Puppets on spoons worked with for the three bears and the children have acted out several stories involving shops. Pretend shops seem to be a real favourite.

Danielle Schulman said...

My daughter is just about 17 months, and we've been doing a similar thing with her (on a young toddler level). Around 12-13 months, she got into "Go Away Big Green Monster" complete with the monster puppet. From then on she was hooked on acting out things from her books. She especially loves Sebastien Braun's "Meeow" books. In the train book she will wave a scarf along with Moo or ring a bell with Meeow. In the band book, she will always drum on the book along with the band (in our house the kitty band plays "When the Saints Go Marching In"), and the other day she was absolutely thrilled to go grab a wooden spoon and bring the book to be read. I love these kinds of activities, especially when she comes up with the idea. I think it can be started much younger than people realize.

Danielle Schulman said...

I've made a post in response, detailing some of what I've done with my daughter between the ages of 12 and 17 months.

Thank you for the great topic idea!

Allen jeley said...

I really like these books because my kids many time listing funny and horror stories when he was on sleeping bed thanks for sharing plugin developers .

Post a Comment