Ever since Brady boy entered our lives, things have been hectic, nuttier than ever, and dog-crazy.
While Maddy, Owen, and Cora have always been interested in animals, Brady takes the cake as far as pets are concerned. So at this point, my kids are willing and eager to read, play, talk, learn–do anything–related to d-o-g-s.
I’m trying to jump on it. We’ve been reading articles and books about Bo Obama and every other dog you can imagine, and we’ve been playing Dog Bingo like whuuut. (I’ll share our Dog Bingo love shortly. . . ).
Here are just a few ways we’ve done both non-fiction and fiction reading on a hot topic in our house:
- Newspaper Reading, Kids Post: We read The White House is his doghouse (5/19/10) in the Kids Post of The Washington Post last Wednesday, and since then, the kids have asked to see the slide show of Bo a gazillion times. Because we are so close to the White House and we have just picked up a pooch ourselves, Bo has been particularly interesting to my little familia.
Although the article didn’t tell us much new information, the slide show on The Post’s site is really pretty cool for little ones who are interested in the First Dog, an interesting and special part of the First Family. It really is pretty neat to see little fuzzy Bo’s First Dog leash, watch him playing in the snow and wrestling with Sasha and Malia, or just hangin’ with the Secret Service guys. Bo is seriously just having a grand old time in the most recognized house in the US of A.
- First Dog, by J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello, illustrated by Tim Bowers: We picked this up First Dog at Owen’s book fair this spring, and we love it. It’s been read and re-read dozens of times already; the story is cute, and the illustrations are even more adorable.
The story follows the sweet, curly-furred unnamed dog on the cover as he travels around the world looking for a home–the perfect home. He meets all kinds of dogs in places from Newfoundland to England, from Russia to China, but he keeps coming up short. Finally, he makes his way back to Washington, DC where he reads a headline in the newspaper: “First Family Looks For Dog”. You can only imagine where Dog marches immediately–right on through the iron gates to the door of the White House.
J. Patrick Lewis (whose website rocks!) and Beth Zappitello do a really a fantastic job of sneaking in a bunch of dog facts within the story, which my kids loved. Most of the story is written from Dog’s point of view, and his feelings and ideas are ones that little ones can really connect with–Dog says that he doesn’t want to spend all day at the hairdresser’s like the standard poodle or live next to a lion’s den like the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Who would?
I also loved that part of the story is told through Tim Bowers‘ awesome illustrations, with several pages completely wordless. I love when authors do this because it gives little readers a break from reading, and it allows them to use what they know–along with what they’ve already read–to make some inferences of their own. When the illustrations are simple and are done well, readers get a chance to tell a piece of the story along with the author. So cool.
And that’s just a glimpse of how we’ve thrown in some learning in over the past few days. Really, capitalizing on kids’ current interests is key when getting them on the reading–and learning–train. Happy sneaky learning!