This semester, I spent beyond the twenty required hours perfecting my “A contract” proposal. Over the last ten weeks, I have met with the preschool class to observe and participate in their story time. I find it necessary to keep students engaged in their literature by providing props or activities to go along or follow story time. I spent many hours of the week creating activities or props to go along with each book I planned to read. I then read two books to the preschool class each week. As I read the stories, I observed the behaviors, comments, and mood displayed between the children. Lastly, I finished each book with questions that I kept age appropriate. I took extensive notes following the readings which have been displayed below! Enjoy!
Caps For Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
I printed the peddler and his hats which I then colored and used to tell the story as a visual image. This book was one of the favorites from the preschool class. they were amazed by how many hats the peddler could fit on his head! I asked the children, “Do you need a hat? Because he has his hats for sale!” many of them reassured me that they had hats at home. as the book came to the pages of his hats missing many of them gasped. I was shocked that they had not read this book yet, therefore many of the were unsure of what would occur on the following pages. As we reached the monkey business, I had the students stand up and mimic the peddler’s actions just as the monkeys did. The students’ attention during this book I would have rated a nine.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
I printed off the letters and put together a palm tree to resemble this book. While this story was a hit, I found my props to need some repair considering they did not fit the injuries of the letters at the end of the story. I also found it difficult to hold all the letters and the tree up where all the students could see. As I read the story I had the letters follow the book up the tree. The children really enjoyed this. As the numbers at the top of the tree continued to increase the students began to get roweled up. They thought the tree was too full! After the book was over, the class and I sang the A, B, C’s I did this to help the students correlate this book to the alphabet. I would rate the students’ attention at an eight.
The Rainbow Fish
I was so excited to read this book to the preschoolers. The night before, I made a couple batches of blue play dough and bought some sequins. I planned for the class to make their own rainbow fish following the story. I was very disappointed when I read the book. Halfway through I had lost the attention of half the class. I have found that lengthier books are not the best choice for younger preschool classes. I pushed through the reading and tried to reengage the children by asking them questions about the illustration such as, “What color is this fish?” and “Do you share your home toys with friends?”. As we finished the story, I regained the attention of the students. They loved creating their own personalized fish as you can see in the pictures! During the book, I rated their attention at a three but at a nine during the activity.
I created Popsicle stick characters for this story. I then used these to tell the story rather than the images in the book. The children loved it. I made the book interactive by having them repeat the different noises that each animal made. They also had a blast guess which animal would come next at the end of each page. At the end of this book is the song, I tied this book together by singing the song with the children. I rated the attention at a nine.
The Very Hungary Caterpillar
I printed off and colored all the different pieces that made up this story. I feel the best part was how the pieces were brought to life once I hole punched the “bites” out. as I read the story, I asked the children which day of the week came next and how many fruits I had before I went on to what the little caterpillar ate. I felt this was a great way to keep learning aspects in the reading. the students favorite part was when I put the caterpillar behind the cocoon as if he had morphed. I then told them to close their eyes and count to three. When they opened, there was the beautiful butterfly. They were very amused at his transition. Their attention levels were at a nine.
Where’s My Mommy?
I reused some props from a previous story to put this book together. I interacted with the children by asking them if each of the animals was the kitty’s mommy as I read the page. Most of them usually had an enthusiastic, NOOOO! I then had them say the animals’ noises as I turned the page to help the little animals find their mommy’s. I found that the children’s attention was shaking during this read. the older preschools were being loud and obnoxious to the point where I would have to stop reading until they pulled it together to finish reading. the younger ones, enjoyed the book but I often lost their attention as I was regaining the respect of the older. I rated their overall attention to the book at a six.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
For this story, I created wooden spoon characters. I found the idea from Pinterest and could not resist! The children all found these hilarious. As I played through the book, I asked the students’ such as, “Do you think this chair is the right size?” and “Is she too big for this bed?”. Their answers were usually correct. I did not find them to be as interested in this story as I had hoped. The enthusiasm and remarks just weren’t there like they had been during the stories I previously read. Their attention was at a six.
Hansel and Gretel
I colored and laminated the characters and had other physical props such as the pebbles to play along with this story. I will be honest. This story is NOT for the preschool age. As I played out the story, I slowly lost the attention of the student’s one by one. I felt that the story was too long with a complicated story line for the age group I was reading it to. To make the issue worse, one of the younger girls became scared because she found the witch scary. Once again, most preschools do not like the story of Hansel and Gretel. I gave them a rating of a two on attention.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Of all the props, I made, these were one of my favorites. The goats looked so cute on the Popsicle sticks! Many of the boys in the class had a blast with this story. I used a bridge from one of their centers to have the goats walk across. They thought this was neat! I used different voices to best fit each character. That was a hit! They loved when I changed my voice. I even got a few giggles out of it! I played out the part of the large Billy goat head butting the troll into the water. I tossed the troll to the corner. The classroom began to roll with laughter. I am pleased to say that when Hansel and Gretel doesn’t pan out, choose the goats. Their attention was high during this book at a nine.
Hooray for Thomas!
I struggled the most in props for this book. I searched for ideas, however I could not find any I was in love with. I finally decided to use the Thomas the Train engine from one of the movement centers as my prop. This worked decently, however I think it would have been more of a success if I had all of Thomas’s friends too rather than other random train sets. The children loved how the trains raced as portrayed in the story. We had a vote on who we thought was going to win. I finished this story by sharing that everyone is a winner when you are kind and helpful just as Thomas was to the children. Of all things, this book did a great job showing the students how they can be good classmates. I gave their attention a rating of a seven. Most were intrigued most of the book; however, a few minds began to wonder.
Over the Moon
I again used previous props and a toy monkey to put this book together. I chose this version of the story because it provides a wonderful twist to the classic story of the cow jumping over the moon. I loved how the words were displayed through comic bubbles and most of the story was done through dialog. The students loved the book just as much as I did. I changed my voice to be the demanding director and the children loved it. They giggled as the cow was continuously not doing what he was asked. This book is a great book to use to keep the children’s attention and allow a break from the typical lesson. I considered their attention to be at an eight.
Red Riding Hood
For this story, I struggled with deciding what I would use as the props. I decided to use Gretel from “Hansel and Gretel”, the wolf spoon from “The Three Little Pigs”, and the farmer from “Old MacDonald in addition to a doll hat for granny and the basket of goodies. Most of the children had already heard this story, therefor it was not much of a surprise. They did, however still find it silly that the wolf was pretending to be granny. Their attention was at a seven. I began to lose the attention of some of the younger ones for this story is a bit on the lengthier side.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Of all the stories, I read, I think this one was the most enjoyed. The students absolutely loved making their own props to be used during the reading of the book. With the help of the preschool teachers, I sent out flyers requesting that parents bring in their empty plastic water bottles. A few weeks after we sent out the letter, we had enough to supply all eighteen preschoolers with five bottles each. I began the lesson by sharing with them the project. We then made bottles representing the mud, snow storm, tall grass, forest, and river that the characters would travel through. I brought dirt in from outside where I helped the children spoon it into their bottles which we then filled half full of water to represent mud. Cotton balls were stuffed into the second bottle to resemble the snow storm. Dirt and green paper strips were placed in the next bottle as grass. The students filled the next bottle with water and a few drops of food coloring to create the river. Lastly, I took the children outside where they collected leaves, pine cones, and sticks to make their forest. Now that the shakers were created, we went back inside were I read the story. As I read the book, the children shook the shaker that represented the page. They LOVED this. I loved seeing the smiles on their faces as they were an active part of the book. I was filled with warmth when a little boy asked me if he could take his home and read the book to his parents. this was the overall point of my project. I planned to help children find their love and interest for reading. there is no doubt that their attention was at a full ten.
The Three Little Pigs
These characters were also created from wooden spoons. I also used building supplies at the school to resemble the homes of each of the pigs. The children loved watching the pig huff and puff and blow the different houses down. I enjoyed bringing this story life. As the wolf approached the different homes, I stopped and asked the students if they thought the wolf would be able to blow them over. While most of them already knew the answers, I loved hearing the creative remarks from a few. One little boy said that the wolf could blow down the brick house too because his block towers fall over when he blows on them. While most of the students were interested, a few were not, therefor I rated their attention to this book at a seven.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
I colored and created the animals that make up this story. This was also one of the children’s favorites. I had them guess to see what they thought each animal would see next. I loved their remarks on the very colorful animals. Their attention was at a nine.
I read this story a week and a half before Thanksgiving because I wanted to allow enough time for the project to be completed. I incorporated the parents and families into this book to provide for a twist on the other books I read. The children enjoyed seeing the different disguises turkey had for himself in efforts to live through Thanksgiving. With the help of the teachers, we sent a letter home with an outline of a turkey. The students were instructed to be creative and come up with a disguise for their turkey before Thanksgiving. We then displayed the wonderful results on a wall in the hallway. I loved hearing the stories on how the students worked with their parents to put together their turkey! During the book, the children’s attention was at a nine.
Go Away, Big Green Monster!
This one was so much fun to create! I found a pattern for the different pieces that make up the big, green monster. I loved how the pieces can be taken away and added just as portrayed in the book. This book was difficult to show to the entire class at once because I had no way of holding the pieces up together. This can be easily fixed by adding Velcro to the backs of each piece. For the sake of this reading, I split the students into smaller groups and played the book out on a flat surface where all the children could view the monster. I found that the smaller groups allowed me to better see the expressions of every students. I also feel it helped with the attention level for they were all very close to the story taking place. I rated their attention a ten. They loved seeing the monster disappear!
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear?
This book was reenacted using popsicle stick animals that I colored as well. I loved how the children drew their own conclusions that this book is like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”. The children loved guessing which animal would be heard next. They paid close attention to the varied animals which is the reason I rated them a nine.
Pete the Cat: My White Shoes
To create this story, I made my four “Pete the Cat’s” with his different colored shoes. I then had a bowl with each of the different substances. As I told the story it was as if Pete was walking along and singing his song. The children have already heard this story, so I loved keeping them interactive by having them sing his song with me. The children loved this story. Their attention was at a ten.
This book was very complicated to create in a visual and required a large amount of paper. The children did not get as into the story as I hoped they would, however they did enjoy how the square transformed himself into different objects. I would say they were attentive at a seven level.
I learned many new things doing this project. I have learned that strong and interesting activities help to keep the youngest ages interested while allowing them some interaction. I also got a good grasp on which stories I would like to use in my classroom and which are not the best for read-alouds. I loved meeting with the preschoolers twice a week. I recommend that any of you who plan to become teachers and have yet to get some classroom experience use this as a starting point. I felt as if I was a role model while being in charge. The teachers used this time as their break to get a few things done that they needed to. this left me with the reins to conduct the story time in my own manner. This project has been much more meaningful than a letter bump.