Tuesday, December 16, 2014

25 Books of Christmas - The Animal's Christmas

The Animals' Christmas by Catharine Gardam was a new book for us. And we loved it. Since it was a new story and we had no idea what it was going to be about, we were able to do some predicting.  I loved asking Big Sister what she thought was happening and hearing her answers. When the animals go missing her thought was that they got eaten by each other. Then she modified her answer to be that they all disappeared. So cute!

I won't tell you what happened (just reading the title should give you a clue!) because this is a very sweet story and I'd like to encourage you to read it with your family.

The other thing that we worked on while we read was a strategy to read the words on the page but to also use the pictures. At the beginning of the story they describe the ruins of the ancient church that were high on a hill. So we looked at all of the buildings on the page and narrowed it down to the one that the author was talking about.

When the story is describing an element that is in the pictures, it is good to look for that object. Over time your child will create the pictures in their heads (hopefully!) that make reading so wonderful, where you get "lost" in the book. But while your child is learning the vocabulary and establishing that base knowledge the pictures help your child to visualize the information being presented.

I also loved that in the story they sank "Hark the herald angels sing" which is my favorite Christmas song (the part about "God and sinners reconciled" makes my heart ache with appreciation). This year reading our 25 Books seems to have

If Little W had been awake, we would have focused on pointing to the pictures that were named in the story but at an easier level.  In addition to "ruins" and "foot of the hill" vocabulary for Big Sister we also talked about mistletoe, ivy and holly, all of which are unfamiliar to her. For Little W we would have pointed to the animals or to people in the church.

Have fun predicting and learning new vocabulary with this story!

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