This month for the Virtual Book Club for Kids, we are spotlighting Julia Donaldson. Julia is a British author whose books include The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and one of our favorite books around here, Room on the Broom. Although she is best-known for her picture books, Julia also writes longer novels, plays and songs. When I finally made the connection that she was the author of Room on the Broom, I got really excited! I ran off to Amazon and quickly ordered three of her books: The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and The Spiffiest Giant in Town.
And now, I must admit, I am a little in love with this author. I very badly want to go back to Amazon and order a few more of her books (And likely will because they are WELL PRICED!!)
Anyway, here in my home we read all three books every night for over a week. Both my kids (4 and 2) LOVE the books. Even my 2 year old sits through all three books and comments along! (The kid now has the word “Gruffalo” in his vocabulary as well as “giant”!)
So today I am going to share with you a little about this wonderful book and give you my tips for using this book to expand speech and language skills in young children. I am also super excited to share that the great people at The Gruffalo sent me some great products that go along with the book that I will share with you next week AND they are so generous to also be providing some goodies for one lucky reader!
YAY! More on that soon…until then…..
About The Book
In The Gruffalo, the little white mouse heads into the deep, dark wood and comes face to face with several animials that think he would make a great snack. But, this little white mouse is smart and tricks all the animals into thinking there is a scary creature in the woods called a Gruffalo. But don’t you know, there is no such thing as a Gruffalo! Or is there? You’ll have to read to find out!
What I love about this book:
- Wonderful illustrations by Alex Scheffler
- It rhymes, which is great for phonological awareness and also allows for the child to “read along” by filling in the last word
- Repetitive story line, making it predictable
- Lot’s of fun descriptive words
- The main character is smart and witty
What your child can learn from this book:
- Vocabulary, vocabulary vocabulary! Lot’s of vocabulary learning opportunities
- Rhyming concepts
- Great overall lesson in the story (I won’t give it away!)
Language Expansion Activities to go Along with The Gruffalo
I love publishers these days. Many many books are now offering activities ideas online to go along with their books and The Gruffalo is no exception. In fact, you will find several FREE printable activities at www.gruffalo.com that can be used to expand on speech and language skills! How awesome is that? (Especially for people who maybe, just moved into a new house and have limited supplies on hand??) So for all you parents out there and my fellow SLPs, you’ll want to check them out. Here are some of the activities, along with my tips on how to use them to expand speech and language skills.
Memory/Pairs Game Cards I LOVE free printable cards like this because they are so versatile. There are SO MANY things you can do with a set of picture cards. We printed them out and played Memory with them as a family. My two year old now is starting to understand the concept of “match!” Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Play “memory” to reinforce vocabulary, visual memory, and fine motor skills
- Play the basic “memory” game, but rather than just looking for a match (where there is not always a lot of language being used) have each player describe each picture.
- Use the cards to play Go Fish (or Go Hunt for a Gruffalo??)
- Use the cards to play Go Fish, but rather than ask the name of the animal pictured, have each player describe the picture instead.
- Use the cards for retelling the story and story sequencing. What came first? What came next? What came last?
- Use the cards to talk about how things are similar and different. We did this with several of the pairs. For example, there are a few different sets of birds, but they are all different. Great opportunity to talk about how they are different.
- For SLPs: You can use these cards in any of the games mentioned to also target articulation, fluency, and other language goals as needed.
- TIP: The set comes with 40 cards, or 20 sets. That is a lot for a young child in a memory game. We started with just 20 cards, all of which were very different (i.e. only one set of birds, mushrooms, etc.)
Gruffalo Finger Puppets Oh how I love finger puppets. They are a great tool for story retelling as well as for a child to make up his/her OWN story! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use the finger puppets while reading the story to your child/students for extra visual support.
- Use the finger puppets to have your child/students retell the story. This targets sequencing, recall of information, vocabulary, grammar, fluency and can be used to target articulation as well. This would be great fun in a speech session! you could have each student in the group be a different character!
Gruffalo Mask You can print out a Gruffalo mask, color it, wear it and pretend to be a Gruffalo! We did this, though my daughter wanted to wear it on her head like hat! But her brother loved it as a mask…
More Creative Activities to go along with The Gruffalo
I am not the only blogger who spotlighted The Gruffalo this month for the Virtual Book Club for kids. Check these ones out:
- Royal Baloo made this awesome Gruffalo Roll Game that you can download for FREE. This looks SO fun and would be a GREAT activity for part/whole relationships and vocabulary building!
- Toddler Approved shares several activities including going on a Gruffalo Hunt and how they made Gruffalo Crumble.
- Mama Pea Pod shared a fun Gruffalo Puppet Theater.
- You’ve got to check out this awesome Gruffalo Birthday Party from Mama Pea Pod.
But Wait! There’s MORE!
(Don’t you just hate that phrase? Haha…I sound like an infomercial!) The wonderful people at The Gruffalo are teaming up with several of the Virtual Book Club for Kids hosts in sponsoring some Gruffalo Giveaways! Check in Tuesday to see my review of some Gruffalo products and a chance to win some goodies! There are a couple that are REALLY great for speech & language!
More Julia Donaldson Book Activities
Now it’s time to go check out all the awesome activities to pair with other Julia Donaldson books! Click on any of the image below to take you to another fabulous activity. And feel free to link up any of your Julia Donaldson activities!