- stories of popular animal characters, including books by Kevin Henkes, Lucy Cousins's Maisy books, Russell Hoban's Frances books, or books featuring such other favorites as Clifford, Angelina, Rainbow Fish, Arthur, Miss Spider, and Franklin
- chart paper
- drawing materials, including paper, markers, and crayons
- puppet-making materials, including brown bags, construction paper, child safety scissors, glue sticks, fabric, feathers, yarn, and assorted collage materials
- social awareness
- science concepts
Collect a variety of books with animal characters and display them in your library area. During meeting time, invite the class to identify the different characters. Develop a language experience chart about children's favorites, and help them determine the type of animal each character is.
Ask each child to choose a book that features his favorite character, which he can share during reading time. Children can choose a book from the class library or bring in a book from home. Develop a schedule so that they will know when their book will be read.
Invite children to introduce their books, including the title, author, and the name of the main character. After reading the story, discuss important details about the characters and/or events in the story. Later, ask children to try to relate the events of the book to their own personal experiences.
Expand children's learning through art and dramatic-play activities. Provide children with art materials to make drawings, sculptures, or their own books about their favorite animal characters. Give them the suggested puppet-making materials so they can make puppets of their favorite characters to use in dramatizations or puppet shows.
Remember: You may need to have several copies of books that feature favorite classroom book characters. Some children may not have a favorite animal book character. You can take time to help them learn about different books, or invite them to just listen and enjoy the stories presented.
Family Animal Story Send home a note inviting families and children to write a story about an animal. It can be a true story or a fictional one that they create together. They can include an actual picture of the featured animal or they can ask their child to draw a picture to illustrate the story. Plan time to read each child's story to the class. Photocopy each one and assemble a classroom book for all to enjoy.
Curriculum Connection: SCIENCE
Learning Animal Facts Collect a variety of animal photographs or nonfiction books. Engage children in a discussion to learn about the different animals, including where they live, what they eat, the types of sounds that they make, and how they use their bodies to survive.