Hi friends! This blog is for teachers and families- all for the sheer joy of literacy. When we are enthusiastic about reading and writing our students and our own kids become excited to read and write. I hope that we all can be models for those in our care- how did you show your passion for reading, writing, learning, language, or words today?? It's in those small, daily moments that we teach kids to love literacy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reconnecting to Community Literacy, Part 2

I visited Harbor House again this week to read aloud to a group of K-1 students. The visit was brief (I had to get to a celebration for my hubby, who finished his masters in composition this week-woot woot for him!), but the read aloud time with the kids was just lovely!

The book I read this week was Pierre the Penguin by Jean Marzollo, Illustrated by Laura Regan. I found it at my public library last week, and I'm so glad I did- I love it, my toddler loves it, and the K-1 students couldn't get enough of it today! They asked me if I could read it again to them next week- oh they're such sweeties!

I choose this book at the libray because it is a true story about a penguin that lives at the California Academy of Sciences, a fabulous museum in San Francisco that houses an entire colony of African Penguins.

Before I read the book to the little wigglers I asked them what they knew about penguins. I was impressed with their collective store of background knowledge- especially because this is a diverse group of youngsters, a few can't speak English yet.

This is what the kids knew (or thought they knew) about penguins:
  • They waddle (I was especially impressed that a 1st grader used the word waddle, so I asked her to demonstrate a waddle for all to see)
  • They live in the north pole with santa
  • They like to live where it's very cold- in the ice
  • They like to stand on ice. (I think she said icee, but I helped her out)
  • They slide on their bellies and swim in the water (hmmm, reminds me of the cover picture)
This book instantly intrigued these little ones because it begins by dealing with their assumptions about penguins- these penguins don't like ice, but like it warmer.

In the book, Pam, an aquatic biologist, helps to problem solve when Pierre began losing his feathers. She makes a penguin-sized wetsuit, so that Pierre can swim in the cold water with his fellow penguins.

The book is short and informative, and it rhymes all the way through. I love the way the book is playful, but educational at the same time. There is also a Q and A section with Pam the Biologist at the end. It is simply cute! Your K-2 aged little people will love Pierre and especially his custom-made wetsuit.

And if you live in the Bay Area and know the California Academy of Sciences- you must check out this book.

See Part 1 of Reconnecting to Community Literacy here.

I'm linking this post up to Facts First! Nonfiction Monday:
Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by the new Nonfiction Monday blog to see who is hosting each week.

This week’s post is at Great Kids Books.

Read on!


  1. That sounds like a great book. I love when books can make my 2-yr-old laugh. I think the penguin wetsuit would've done the trick!

    Rhyming books are so great for her, too, because if it's one we read all the time, she can say/guess the rhyming word at the end of the sentence. I pause and wait for her to fill it in. I really think she's already starting to grasp the concept of rhyming.

    I'd love to hear more about you thoughts on rhymes... like why they're important to learn (or are they?) and how parents can use them to teach kids.

  2. Tricia, You've prompted a great idea for an upcoming post!

    In short- rhyming is an essential building block for literacy. Helping your kids recognize rhyme is building their phonetic awareness (PA) skills, or the ability to identify and manipulate sounds. Many poor readers in the older grades with low phonics abilities do not have these foundational PA skills.

    Having your daughter fill in the word/rhyme while reading is building these PA skills (yah for you!). Reading aloud books with rhyme, singing songs with your child, playing silly word games, and reading books with repetition (eg. Brown Bear)-- are all great way for parents to build their child's PA skills and prepare their pre-readers for reading.

    A lot of this stuff comes naturally to many parents. But now you know why word play is important. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!


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