Tag Archives: Vocabulary

Fill ‘er Up!

1 Aug

Here’s another blast from the Revolution Read Aloud past…:

Over the past couple of weekends I’ve been training, with a colleague, future library volunteers on how to perform a successful storytime. Included in that training is some basic early literacy information, so that volunteers will understand the importance of what they’re doing and what children are getting out of it (and why we do the things we do – fingerplays, flannelboards, age-appropriate stories, etc.).


My colleague used an analogy that I really like, and I thought I’d share it with you.  She said that children hearing stories are filling up their “word reservoirs” – so that they’ll have all those words to use in the future. We often talk about the idea of young children as sponges, soaking up experiences to learn about the world around them. Well, to continue her analogy, some of what they’re soaking up is getting wrung out into their word reservoir.

Let’s help our kids fill their reservoirs to the brim by reading lots of stories and talking to them all the time!

Flannel Friday: Make a Robot!

26 Oct

Here’s a flannel idea that includes vocabulary learning (shapes, sizes), print awareness (shape names) and a whole lotta fun! We’re gonna build a robot!

I cut a bunch of different-sized shapes out of felt. I stuck to square, rectangle, triangle and circle (because my portable flannelboard is small) but you could certainly add more. I also made labels for the four shape names in felt with fabric paint.

The first thing we did was organize our robot “parts.” I put up the shape names and then I asked the kids the name of the shape I held up and put it with its name. I only asked them about 2 or 3 of each shape, because I made lots and it would have taken too long. But we did talk about if the new shape was “bigger” or “smaller” than the other, and I mentioned that we had small, medium and large sizes.

Then the kids selected a piece for the body (if you have a small enough group you could ask individuals to come up and pick; we just did it by consensus). I asked what other parts we needed (head, legs, arms, feet) and we selected those shapes. Finally, we needed eyes, and I had a special set of those: two large googly eyes with velcro on the back. The result was something like this:

Or this:

Wheel feet!

All-in-all I think the kids had fun and if you do crafts with your storytime it would be fun to then allow the kids to put together their own robots with paper shapes and glue.

The flannel Friday roundup today will be hosted by Lisa at Libraryland. To see all past flannels organized into categories, click on the icon to the right for our Pinterest page.

Happy flanneling!

Flannel Friday: A House for Birdie

2 Sep

I got this flannel idea from Cate at Storytiming. It’s based on the book A House for Birdie by Stuart J. Murphy, and the story, in its simplified flannel version, goes like this:

Here’s Birdie (with fuschia feathers) and her friends Spike (tall and narrow), Queenie (tall and wide), Goldie (short and wide) and Fidget (short and narrow).

Birdie’s tired of her birdhouse, so she decides to go look for another one. Her friends offer to help her. These are the first two houses they encounter:

Will either of these work for Birdie? One is tall and wide, and one is short and narrow. They’re not the right size for Birdie, but…

…they’re perfect for Queenie and Fidget, who decide to move in!

How about these houses? Will they work for Birdie?

One is tall and narrow, while the other is short and wide. They won’t work for Birdie, but…

They’re perfect for Spike and Goldie! They finally find this house; will it work for Birdie?

It’s perfect!

The kids can help tell you which houses work for which birds, by naming their colors. They will also learn the words wide, tall, narrow, and short. You might also throw some synonyms at them, like big, large, tiny, small, etc.

I found a pattern for the house by searching “house template” in google images.  There were a lot of tiny parts to this flannel to put together, but the finished product (including googly eyes) makes me happy! I’m very excited to use this cute story with my preschoolers.

Visit Anne later today for the full Flannel Friday roundup.

Flannel Friday: Mouse Count/Cuenta de Ratón

15 Jul

Today’s Flannel Friday idea comes from Making Learning Fun.

I made a jar and 10 mice of various colors. After reading Ellen Stoll Walsh’s Mouse Count, we sing this rhyme, to the tune of “Frere Jacques”:

Mouse count, mouse count

Mouse count, mouse count

Count with me, count with me

How many mice, how many mice

Do you see? Do you see?*

I DID have 10 mice. Where did #10 go?

We count the mice. I take one or more away and then we recite the rhyme and count again. This can be done an endless number of times!

To change things up, and to promote vocabulary, we also count how many mice are INSIDE (adentro) the jar, and how many mice are OUTSIDE (afuera). I may also ask the kids to name the specific colors inside or outside.

Inside mouse, outside mouse

We also do the same with UPSIDE DOWN (cabeza abajo) and RIGHT SIDE UP:

Upside down mouse, right side up mouse

This would work well for a Mice, Colors, or Counting-themed storytime.

For the full Flannel Friday roundup, visit Andrea later today!

*P.S.: I just made up this Spanish rhyme: doesn’t rhyme perfectly, but works with the tune:

Ratoncitos, ratoncitos,

Cuéntalos, cuéntalos

Cuántos ratoncitos

Cuántos ratoncitos

Puedes ver? Puedes ver?

There is no downside.

14 Mar

We were reading Chris Haughton’s Little Owl Lost (one of my new

He's upside up!

favorites; I adore the color palette!). On the first page, we see Little Owl and his mommy in their nest in the tree, sleeping. There are no words on the page. I asked the kids: “what’s happening?”

Girl: “They’re sleeping upside-up.”

Of course. If there’s an upside-down, can’t there be an upside-up? Or is that downside-down?

Your incredibly awesome word for today

30 Nov

I was telling (with flannelboard) the story of “Barnaby Bear’s Batter Bowl,” in which our hero, Barnaby, falls into his birthday cake batter bowl and is unable to get out. One by one, his friends join him and try and pull him out; to no avail. Finally, Mouse arrives, and wants to help too. The other animals tease him, saying he can’t possibly help because he’s too small. Mouse thinks, and comes up with the perfect solution: he crawls into the bowl, tickles Bear on the nose with his whiskers, and causes Bear to sneeze, thus blowing himself out of the bowl.

I asked the kids what they thought happened.

One young man answered: “He blesshooed!”

I do believe that word is a combination of “Bless You” and “Ah-choo.” And I’m going to begin using it in my daily conversation.

Big words: not just for grown-ups anymore

10 Jun

Words I heard used by preschoolers in storytime yesterday:

1) Transparent. Used incorrectly, to describe something black, but in the right context. We discussed what transparent means and its opposite, “opaque”.

2) Transformative. Not used in a sentence, but still!  She was showing off her big words.

3) Thingamabob. Used repeatedly, until I had to tell the little guy that yes, he said thingamabob, I heard him, that’s enough.

See? Teach kids vocabulary and they will remember and use it. These guys also knew that penguins and polar bears do NOT live together. Smart kids!

Time Out.

3 Sep

When reading to young children, sometimes you encounter a word you think they might not understand (like “scrumdiddlyumptious” or “antidisestablishmentarianism”).  Rather than replace the word with something you think they might know (like “yummy” or, um… something meaning the same as antidisestablishmentarianism but with fewer syllables), read the sentence as written, and then ask the children if they know what that word means.  If they don’t, you can explain it (in words they DO understand), and the exciting result is: a NEW WORD IN THEIR VOCABULARY!  Whoo hoo!

That’s how I got these two new definitions of the word “naughty” (courtesy of the preschoolers):

“It means you go to the principal’s office” (the kid obviously has older siblings, because there are no principals in preschool).

“You go to time out”.  Yes indeed, naughty = time out.

I think their definitions are far better than mine, which was: “being bad.”

To Coin a Phrase…

2 Sep

A preschooler told me today he was a “schoolager.” 

I like it!  Spread it around.  Maybe we can get Merriam Webster to add it.  It worked for “frindle“, right?

Chicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black

3 Jun

Really, how can you NOT enjoy a book devoted entirely to seeing how many words one can use to describe an animal’s rear end?  From “penguin patootie” to “kangaroo keister” this Chicken Cheeks has them all covered (or not, as the case may be).  What, you may ask, is the purpose behind labeling all of these behinds?  Because bear wants something at the top of the tree, so he has all of the animals pile on top of each other in an effort to reach his goal.  As far a the early literacy skills this book encourages, on is, of course, vocabulary.  Check out the author (a veteran comedian) reading the story aloud on the book’s Amazon page (link above).

Black, Michael Ian.  Chicken Cheeks. Illus. by Kevin Hawkes.  New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009.  ISBN: 978-1-4169-4864-3

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