Add modeling to your parenting roles. It's great for building young vocabularies.

by Babs Hadjusiewicz June 05, 2009

I'm still THINKing about that hog's life in yesterday's post. And here's why. There's a pig on a page in a book. And that pig is having some bed rest. Bed Rest by Babs Bell HajdusiewiczOn this Free-for-All Friday, I have thoughts of needing some bed rest. Truth is, I'm sorta under the weather today. WOW! That thought takes me to a delightful conversation with a 4 yr old yesterday in which I used that figure of speech "under the weather." Gotta love young children's literal interpretations of figurative language!Whoa! Let's stop to read the words! Well, puzzled Joshua turned his eyes toward the sky. And you can predict his next utterance: "Huh, Ms. Babs?" Now, in lieu of explaining my meaning, I merely tucked into our conversation the words that I have a bit of a cold and am just feeling under the weather. I kept on tucking in new information to help this young fellow gain meaning without my playing the role of a talking dictionary. No. What I sought was to model use of the saying so that Joshua could seamlessly claim it as his own. Language he could use whenever he wanted to make a point in his own conversation. So I went on to say how I literally have a cold. And I said that colds just don't feel so good. And that, figuratively speaking, I was truly feeling under the weather. Yes! We can use such big words, like literally and figuratively, whenever and wherever they fit into everyday conversations with a young child. Well, Joshua's facial expression now spoke volumes to his mother and me. WOW! No question. His family and friends will be hearing him use that same idiom...very soon. [caption id="attachment_546" align="alignleft" width="260" caption="from Bed Best by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, illustrated by Mary Ann Zapalac"]WOW! It's a hog's life! Look at it! A piggy nap![/caption] Oh, what a powerfully interesting TALKer he will present for some listener! WOW! To be sure, I tucked into that same short visit, and in similar fashion, how this 4 yr old was just pulling my leg when he exclaimed how he could climb that nearby wall just like Spiderman. Hmmmm. Joshua went away from our little chit-chat with two new figures of speech tucked into his pocket for later use. WOW! New language. New knowledge. Fact: 4 yr olds are especially-unique LISTENers and TALKers. They relish figuring out how language works! Anyway, my feeling sorta punky today started my THINKing about the Bed Rest book and that hog's life as we explored it in the "A Hog's Life" poem yesterday. And then I remembered this pig pictured on the first of eight pages in this little book for infants to 1st graders. WOW! It's a piggy nap! And he's hogging the whole pen, too! [caption id="attachment_555" align="alignright" width="232" caption="from Bed Best by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, illustrated by Mary Ann Zapalac"]from Bed Best Copyright © 1996 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, illustrated by Mary Ann Zapalac[/caption] But wait. There's more we can do with any little book like this. That's why I urge you to "milk" each read-aloud selection to its fullest. Face it. If you've chosen well, you're going to be reading that book or poem or story again and again. So let's explore more ways the two of you can extend your fun literacy jaunts once you've read this particular book aloud a few times.Read it again! Notice the girl and her teddy on the cover of Bed Rest. Well, what if you're reading to a boy? Or what if your listener's favorite sleeptime-cuddly is a blankie? Or a stuffed rabbit? Just glue onto the book's cover and on the last page correspondingly-sized photos of whatever bedtime-lovey is favored in your house. And similarly personalize those pages with photos of your listener's face.
And for some Focused Talking™ around this story's language, how about taking "piggy naps" like that pig on a page there! Or call on yesterday's poem about "hogging" spaces whenever you or your young child is feeling crowded. WOW! The power of a book...and its language! WOW! P.S. Hey, Lilac Lizards and your parents and teachers, can you name those real wild animals who visited your school last Friday? Did you see the animals in the pictures posted yesterday? Click below to comment. Do tell! Focusing Talk/Focused Talking is a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz


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