Memory Exercises: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

As I was taking time to finish my post on the iron giants, I found this video in the deep recesses of my drafts folder.  c was around two and a half years old when this video was taken.  I think this makes a good Throwback Thursday post.

Several months after this video was taken, c’s speech has improved and so was his delivery of the story.  It has improved a lot that some people who saw him in real life running his finger under the words as he “read” aloud the story actually commended him for being able to read.  It sure looks like it, but no. C was not yet really reading at two years old.  It was all memorization.  How he came to memorize the whole story was an interesting development for both of us.

To begin with, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of our all-time favorite stories.  He would make clay figures of a caterpillar and the food it ate.  He would draw or re-enact a scene from the story using his toys.  And of course, he would ask me to read the story to him all-through out the day.  I know many parents will agree with me that reading aloud the same thing several times a day everyday can become a wearisome task.  So at one point I thought I could do something to keep me interested in the activity.  Or rather, it was not do something.

I asked c to finish the sentences for me.  It then became like a game for us.  It was a joy for both of us when he got the word right.  As days go by I asked him to fill in more.  And day by day I am reminded how amazing children are.  Young as c may be but he was able to learn every word of his favorite story.

What started with …
RAT: In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a 
CAT: leaf!

turned to …
RAT: In the light of the 
CAT: moon
RAT: a little 
CAT: egg
RAT: lay on a
CAT: leaf

and then it became
RAT: In the light of the
CAT: moon a little egg lay on leaf

Eventually, it wasn’t I who was “reading” aloud anymore.  I would run my finger under the words and c would bring those words to life.  He has memorized the whole story – every word of it and quite expectedly every pause and intonation I do when I read the story to him.

I’m really happy how it turned out for c.  I could see how pleased he was with his accomplishment.  I was even happier upon learning later on that what we did was somewhat an application of the whole language approach to reading. I learned there are other ways to teach and learn reading.  It was not just through phonics.  The memory exercises we did have actually helped him learn to read.  c was able to recognize the words by memory and by context, and has gained confidence in reading.

Moving on from the beloved caterpillar, I attempted to do the same activity using another one of his favorites – Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  The first few pages were quite okay but with all the repetitions, I myself got confused.  Hahaha! So I replaced the book with a locally published favorite – The Moon is My Friend.  I remember c was doing fine with that story.  Unfortunately, I was not able to follow through.  I can’t remember why.  Maybe things got busy for us.  Maybe I was intimidated by the length of the story and forgot about not underestimating a child.  Maybe… One thing for sure though, this summer is a great time to bring this activity back in our daily grind!  c is already a good reader now.  He’s been reading a lot by himself.  But I am sure there are more benefits to memorizing a book.  How cool is it to know one’s favorite story by heart, right? 😉

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Let My Colors Out

Teach Children About Feelings: Book Review 3 of 3

One of the latest books to join our library came from my bestfriend E.  It’s Let My Colors Out written by Courtney Filigenzi and illustrated by Shennen Bersani.  I’m glad we had another book about feelings since it’s really rare that I’d find a book in bargain bins expounding on the topic.

Let My Colors Out

The book tackles on quite a sensitive issue – a parent with cancer and how a child tries to cope with it.  Filigenzi wrote the book in honor of her friends and relatives’ children who have parents diagnosed or are in treatment for the Big C.  Let me share with you some pages of the book.  Continue reading

Dr. Seuss' My Many Colored Days p3-4

Teach Children About Feelings: Book Review 2 of 3

After July and The Feelings Book, it took months before I came across another book specially written about feelings.  In a happy pile at Booksale SM Megamall, I found Dr. Seuss’ My Many Colored Days.

Dr. Seuss' My Many Colored Days

Illustrations in the book were paintings done by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.  If the pages were food, I say it’s gourmet-ish picturesque.  It’s a stark contrast from Todd Parr’s stick figures and quirky pages.

Feelings or emotions felt in a day are presented in this book through colors, thus the “colored days.”  It starts off with a normal day of being yellow or blue.  What is yellow?  Is it for happy and carefree days?  What is blue?  Is it always sad or can it be a different feeling?  These questions are surely discussion openers.  Leading questions must be on hand with young children though.

Continue reading

Teach Children About Feelings: Book Review 1 of 3

Children, just like adults, have issues with their feelings.  Babies and toddlers too!   Tantrums, pushing, throwing things, biting and other demeanor may just be a result of them not understanding what they are feeling.  They have yet to know what they are feeling and learn how to process and address these.

For this, I am always on the look-out for books that teach about feelings.  We already have three now:  The Feelings Book, My Many Colored Days and Let My Colors Out.

Let me share with you a little review and some pages of these books starting with our first acquisition. Continue reading

LC’s Turn to Read

One night while waiting for Daddy Cat to come home from work, Little Cat asked me to read him a book.   After reading to him LC took the book, returned it properly to the bookshelf and picked another book.  Before he could say ‘Baaa-saaa,’ I got the book from his hands and nudge it to him like he does to us.  Then I said, “Basa.  Please?  Please?”  He looked puzzled, hesitated, whined a bit, and then gave in.

Here ares some pictures of him “reading.”  I just wished we had a video camera.  It was soooo amusing hearing him read-aloud the book in his alien language while pointing here and there.  😉

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5-A-Day Books Trial Run

5-A-Day Books: Trial Run

When we moved in our new apartment, I needed to give LC something which he can touch base to among all the changes happening around him.  His books and toys were then among the first things Hubby and I put in order.

LC's corner in the Sala

LC's corner in the Sala

Reading is one of LC’s favorite activities so I thought we’d do 5-A-Day Books.  I was thinking he’d find some normalcy with it.  The activity will also push me to read to him everyday even if there’s a lot to do.

I found it tricky choosing which five to start on.  I had to consider that  Continue reading