This month’s Book of the Month is such a sweet story. It is called Your Alien written by Tammi Sauer. This is one of those books that’s going to pull on your heartstrings and encourage you to hug those babies just a little bit tighter. You will be so happy to have this book in your collection and will read over and over.
Read for Enjoyment
Whenever you read a new book to your Lil’ for the first time, it should always be for pleasure, especially at this young age. Our main focus and goal when we’re reading with kids, no matter what, is to get them to fall in love with reading. That is why I encourage, every single month, that you to sit down, snuggle with your kiddos, and read the Book of the Month together with no ulterior motives other than pure entertainment.
This book, Your Alien, is about an alien who lands on Earth and the little boy who finds him. The little boy is having a lot of fun with Alien until he notices that his alien seems sad. He tries and tries to figure out what is making his alien feel this way and when his mom and dad give them a kiss goodnight before bed, he realizes what is wrong with his alien. His alien is homesick and misses his family, so little boy gets to work to reunite his alien with his family.
Recalling details from the text is what most of us think of as a reading comprehension. When you finish a book and your teacher asks you to write a book report, that is in essence recalling details of the book. Now at this young age, your Lil’ is probably not ready to tell you all the details of a book at the end, but we have ways to help work on that and make the book a little more interactive.
Using your Your Alien Story Sticks, re-read the book.
Have your Lil’ act out the book as you read it using the popsicle stick puppets. For some of our Lil’ Explorers, that’s probably going to be asking a lot for them to hear it, comprehend it, and act it out. So that’s where your modeling comes in. The first time we try an activity like this, you pick up the little boy and the alien and have them pretend to talk to each other. The more we do activities like this, the more your Lil’ is going to be able to do them independently. Plus, more than likely, once you pick up the characters, your Lil’ will be equally interested and will want to pick up the characters themselves. Take advantage of that and let them engage while you read.
Concepts About Print
When you read the book for the third time, I want you to focus on concepts about print. So, if you’re new here, you haven’t heard my spiel. Concepts about print means that you understand how print (or text) works. For instances, print goes from left to right, top to bottom, and words hold meeting. There’s several other parts to concepts about print, but the main idea is that you understand how a book and words work. Your Lil’ cannot learn how to read if they don’t know how text works.
Here’s the good news: concepts about print are fairly easy to teach. For the most part, if you read to your child every single day, they will absorb these concepts naturally through your daily modeling, but just in case, I’ve got a few strategies for you.
This month as you read, you’ll notice that there is not a ton of text on each page. So while you’re reading, move your finger across the text to show your Lil’ what you’re reading as you go. You do not need to stop and point at every single word. There are too many words in this book for that to be successful because you’ll end up reading so slow and lose the rhythm of the book. So instead, you can just focus on showing the general directionality if the text.
We have also included this month in our Lil’ Explorer’s pack an activity called Shooting Star Directionality. This activity is a hands-on way to work on the concept of text going from left to right.
Making connections to books is the reason why we as humans love storytelling. Whether they be books, movies, or TV shows, we love storytelling because we have the opportunity to relate to characters. Even characters who we hate, we can make a connection to. When I was teaching, my students struggled the most with this skill becuase it requires independent thinking. The solution is to model, model, model. We can teach our Lil’s from the youngest of ages how to make connections to a text and how to interact with the text. So, today as we read Your Alien, I encourage you to make a lot of connections.
Let me give you some examples of the connections Rea, D, and I made while reading this book.
- Look, an alien! He has a star on his belly. What do you have on your belly?
- The alien loves the art supplies just like us! What’s your favorite art supply?
- Look, they are flying a kite together. We have a kite too, huh?
- They listen to a bedtime story at night and get a goodnight kiss and hug from Mom and Dad. Do you get that too?
- I think the alien is feeling sad because he misses his mom and dad. Do you ever get sad when you miss Mommy and Daddy?
- Look at all the lights on that house. It looks like Christmas!
- Look, baby alien is so excited to his see his mama and daddy just like you get excited when Daddy comes home from work.
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