Literacy: Sharing and caring

Written by: Judith Harries, teacher, Northampton
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Chances are your book corner already has at least one title by author and illustrator Anthony Browne. Try these activities to engage children with his themes of family and friendship, and have fun exploring their surreal sense of humour!

Resources
A collection of books by Anthony Browne
Useful websites:
www.anthonybrownebooks. com
www.natgeokids.com n www.enchantedlearning.com
Local park or outside area; phonics cards and sound buttons; soft toy animals; paper and paints; large cardboard box; dressing up clothes; cardboard; scissors; camera; clipboards; paper; sugar paper; post-it notes; sticky paper.

Anthony Browne’s stories look at children’s friendships and family relationships, and often include visual humour and unexpected surreal twists which appeal to young children and adults.

Playing and exploring
Children have fun sharing lots of different Anthony Browne books.
They experience a walk exploring the park in winter.
They have a go at some dramatic dressing up play.

A Walk in the Park
Read A Walk in the Park with the children. Talk about the two children, their dogs and parents. What differences do they notice? Organise a winter walk in the park for everyone. Make sure all children have suitable warm clothing. Take a set of phonics cards and/or sounds with you on the walk in the park and let children place them next to objects.

Gorilla
In this classic story, Hannah’s dad is too busy to take her out but he buys her a new toy gorilla that comes to life at night and takes her to the zoo. Allow children time and opportunity to look closely at the pictures for all the details. Talk about the feelings of the different characters. If the children had to choose a favourite animal, what would it be? Let children use soft toys in their role-play to act out their own version of the story. Compare Gorilla with some other books by Anthony Browne such as One Gorilla and Little Beauty. Teach the children some simple sign language.

Key vocabulary
Look, closer, park, winter, gorilla, Mum, Dad, like, feel, favourite, feelings, zoo, happy, sad, banana, apple

A Walk in the Park
Read A Walk in the Park with the children. Talk about the two children, their dogs and parents. What differences do they notice? Organise a winter walk in the park for everyone. Make sure all children have suitable warm clothing. Take a set of phonics cards and/or sounds with you on the walk in the park and let children place them next to objects.

Gorilla
In this classic story, Hannah’s dad is too busy to take her out but he buys her a new toy gorilla that comes to life at night and takes her to the zoo. Allow children time and opportunity to look closely at the pictures for all the details. Talk about the feelings of the different characters. If the children had to choose a favourite animal, what would it be? Let children use soft toys in their role-play to act out their own version of the story. Compare Gorilla with some other books by Anthony Browne such as One Gorilla and Little Beauty. Teach the children some simple sign language.

Portraits of Mum and Dad
Read My Mum and My Dad with the children. These two books are good models for writing about Mum and Dad for Christmas. Make a personalised gift by asking children to paint a portrait of mum or dad and then let them choose a favourite page from the book to read and scribe about their own parents.

Things I like
Read Things I like with the children. Invite children to come up and read different pages using words and pictures to help them. Look at How do You feel? Can children guess how the monkey in the picture is feeling? Read the words. Talk about the different feelings and if and when children might feel them.

Look What I’ve Got!
This is a good book for encouraging children to share with each other. Jeremy has lots of possessions and is very keen on boasting about them. Point out the repeated refrains ‘Look what I’ve got’ and ‘I bet you wish you had one!’ Ask the children to join in with them as you are reading the story.

Hidden stories and works of art
Read Into the Forest and see how many different traditional or fairy stories the children recognise from the story. Tell the children the story of Little Red Riding Hood’and talk about how there are references to it in this book. Act out the story. Read Willy’s Pictures in which ‘every picture tells a story’. Compare Willy’s pictures with the original artworks.

Knock Knock Who’s There?
This book is actually written by Sally Grindley and illustrated by Anthony Browne but it is one of my favourites. There is lots of repetition in the story so children can join in reading and reciting the refrain ‘Knock knock who’s there?’ each time. Try some drama activities. Make a door out of a large cardboard box. Provide some dressing up clothes for children to use and let them take turns to knock to knock on the door and emerge dressed up as different characters.

Active learning
Children play I spy together and practise finding initial letters in words.
They concentrate on using mini-frames to observe details in illustrations and write about them.
They are motivated to research and nd out about a favourite animal.

At the park, play a game of ‘I spy with my little eye’ and encourage children to use the initial letters for different things that they can see.

Make some mini-frames, cut out of cardboard, 8cm by 6cm, for children to use back at your setting. Show them how to lay the frames on top of the pictures in A Walk in the Park and look out for some unusual sights hidden in the pictures. Take a closer look. Can they nd a banana, sausage, apple, pig, or a boiled egg? Which unusual characters are hiding away in the pictures (Santa Claus, Robin Hood and Tarzan!)?

Help them to write about what they nd using a simple writing frame: I found ________ hiding in the picture.

Provide books and websites for children to nd out about animals (see Resources). Help them to write a fact le about their favourite animal to share with the group.

Print off pictures from the internet for them to include in their work Encourage them to draw their own illustrations too.

Creating and thinking critically
Children record what they see in the park using clipboards and pencils.
They invent and write sentences about their Mum or Dad.
They work together to create a class book about ‘Things we like’.

Encourage children to draw and write during the walk in the park. Allow time to stop and observe things. Invite children to sketch trees, plants, dogs or each other.

Take lots of photographs on the walk to use back at your setting. Let children choose a photograph from the winter walk in the park to write about.

Invite children to write their own messages about their mum or dad to go with a picture they have drawn or painted. Can they think of something special that their parents do for them and say thank you?

Create your own class book called ‘Things we like...’ Let children work on different pages featuring a picture of something that they like and the words ‘I like ________’ written underneath.

Writing corner
Set up a writing corner in your setting with lots of writing equipment: different sizes and coloured papers, pencils, pens, crayons, pastels and chalks. Provide a variety of Anthony Browne books for children to look through and write about. Can they write a letter to the author asking him about one of the books?

EYFS Early Learning Goals
Children involved in repeating the refrains in Look What I’ve got will develop their reading skills, as they link the words they are saying to the written text, and at the same time they are challenged to think about ‘how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences’. (PSED). There are lots of opportunities for developing dramatic skills by acting out Into the Forest and playing Knock Knock Who’s there? (EAD) Researching and creating their own fact le about a favourite animal will develop children’s understanding of animals and other living things (UTW).

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