Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
September 22, 2017

Bring Out the Play in Your Books

By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Interacting with a child and asking questions about a book that is being read aloud sounds like a simple enough activity, but the choice of questions can take some time to consider. Certainly, asking any question is better than asking none, but there are definitely types of questions that will help a child process what they are hearing that work better than others.

    The students who hear these deeper level questions are often quicker to answer the oral and written comprehension question components of the reading assessments that we are mandated to give in formal education. If you are a teacher, you know these deeper kinds of questions need to happen well before the child ever walks through the schoolhouse doorway for the first time, but how are parents, grandparents, or new teachers of our younger students supposed to know what to ask?

    My answer is called StoryPlay. Full disclosure: I was approached by Scholastic to give feedback on a new book series and that is the subject of this post. As soon as I heard the StoryPlay concept, I thought, “DUH! Really? Why couldn’t I think of that!”

    The titles of the books in this series are a mixture of books that you already know and love:

    and some new titles such as:

    just to name a few.

    StoryPlay is a set of books that resemble The Little Golden Books that I grew up with a LONG, LONG, time ago! The difference is that StoryPlay titles are designed specifically for a reader and child to explore the book together. There are questions spread throughout the story for the reader to ask. These questions hit at skills that we as teachers are told students need to come to school knowing, but a majority of students don’t. The questions cover numerous skills such as:

    • Create rhyming words
    • Identify the first sound of a word
    • Identify objects that are larger or smaller
    • Count objects
    • Make predictions
    • Remember a sequence
    • Identify similarities and differences
    • Use clues from the pictures

    and countless other abilities that students need before they enter kindergarten.

    Now I run the risk of sounding like a Home Shopping Channel announcer, but I have become a true fan of this series and here's why: Not only do you get the extra questions that prompt interaction while you are reading, you get four bonus, developmentally-appropriate activities that relate to the story, the characters, or a skill from the book for free. The activities in the back are laid out for everybody to know exactly how to engage their child(ren) in some follow-up activities. 

    The activities and questions also hit several other skills such as:

    • Social development
    • Problem solving
    • Emotions
    • Memory strength
    • Science

    and so many others.

    Pro Tip: My suggestion for the reader is to read through the book and ask some of the questions and do one of the activities. Then, in a subsequent reading, ask more questions and do another one of the four activities. This strategy doesn't work forever because kids quickly pick up on the layout and as they look at the picture they will begin to BEG you to read them the question! I know! What a great problem to have!

    If you use the Scholastic Book Clubs (they changed their name this year from Scholastic Reading Club to Scholastic Book Clubs), you can find StoryPlay there for $5. They tend to be in the younger catalogs like, Honeybee, Inchworm, and Firefly. They also appear in some of the other special catalogs such as Hands-On Math and the Science Catalog. 

    If you are a teacher who uses Scholastic Book Club, make sure to point them out to parents when you send the flyers home. Your parents will thank you for telling them what the StoryPlay series of books can bring to their family reading time at home. The other place where you can find these books is at many Scholastic Book Fairs (the book sales that typically take place in your school’s library a few times a year) and you can also find them in local retail stores.  

    Check out the beautiful StoryPlay video below.

     

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

    Interacting with a child and asking questions about a book that is being read aloud sounds like a simple enough activity, but the choice of questions can take some time to consider. Certainly, asking any question is better than asking none, but there are definitely types of questions that will help a child process what they are hearing that work better than others.

    The students who hear these deeper level questions are often quicker to answer the oral and written comprehension question components of the reading assessments that we are mandated to give in formal education. If you are a teacher, you know these deeper kinds of questions need to happen well before the child ever walks through the schoolhouse doorway for the first time, but how are parents, grandparents, or new teachers of our younger students supposed to know what to ask?

    My answer is called StoryPlay. Full disclosure: I was approached by Scholastic to give feedback on a new book series and that is the subject of this post. As soon as I heard the StoryPlay concept, I thought, “DUH! Really? Why couldn’t I think of that!”

    The titles of the books in this series are a mixture of books that you already know and love:

    and some new titles such as:

    just to name a few.

    StoryPlay is a set of books that resemble The Little Golden Books that I grew up with a LONG, LONG, time ago! The difference is that StoryPlay titles are designed specifically for a reader and child to explore the book together. There are questions spread throughout the story for the reader to ask. These questions hit at skills that we as teachers are told students need to come to school knowing, but a majority of students don’t. The questions cover numerous skills such as:

    • Create rhyming words
    • Identify the first sound of a word
    • Identify objects that are larger or smaller
    • Count objects
    • Make predictions
    • Remember a sequence
    • Identify similarities and differences
    • Use clues from the pictures

    and countless other abilities that students need before they enter kindergarten.

    Now I run the risk of sounding like a Home Shopping Channel announcer, but I have become a true fan of this series and here's why: Not only do you get the extra questions that prompt interaction while you are reading, you get four bonus, developmentally-appropriate activities that relate to the story, the characters, or a skill from the book for free. The activities in the back are laid out for everybody to know exactly how to engage their child(ren) in some follow-up activities. 

    The activities and questions also hit several other skills such as:

    • Social development
    • Problem solving
    • Emotions
    • Memory strength
    • Science

    and so many others.

    Pro Tip: My suggestion for the reader is to read through the book and ask some of the questions and do one of the activities. Then, in a subsequent reading, ask more questions and do another one of the four activities. This strategy doesn't work forever because kids quickly pick up on the layout and as they look at the picture they will begin to BEG you to read them the question! I know! What a great problem to have!

    If you use the Scholastic Book Clubs (they changed their name this year from Scholastic Reading Club to Scholastic Book Clubs), you can find StoryPlay there for $5. They tend to be in the younger catalogs like, Honeybee, Inchworm, and Firefly. They also appear in some of the other special catalogs such as Hands-On Math and the Science Catalog. 

    If you are a teacher who uses Scholastic Book Club, make sure to point them out to parents when you send the flyers home. Your parents will thank you for telling them what the StoryPlay series of books can bring to their family reading time at home. The other place where you can find these books is at many Scholastic Book Fairs (the book sales that typically take place in your school’s library a few times a year) and you can also find them in local retail stores.  

    Check out the beautiful StoryPlay video below.

     

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Brian's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Book Buzz: Successfully Welcome New Students

You never know when you will be adding one more student to your classroom family. Use these books and ideas to make it a smooth and successful transition for everyone involved.

By Brian Smith
October 31, 2016
Blog Post
Book Buzz: An Election for All Ages

Presidential elections can be tricky to teach. Use these books and activities to teach the process without the politics.

By Brian Smith
September 19, 2016
Blog Post
Book Buzz: Icebreaker Activities

Use these four books and icebreaker activities to get your Pre-K and lower elementary schools students sharing and engaged those first few days of school.

By Brian Smith
August 22, 2016

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us