We recently checked out the old classic Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina; I remember seeing this book on Reading Rainbow as a kid, and my Honey says it was one of his favorites. This is a funny tale that is quaintly dated, since it is about a “traveling/walking” hat salesman! We checked out the book on cd version and listened to the story being told, but where the real fun began was when we started acting out the story as we listened. Pen Elaine loved being the monkeys best, making me the hat salesman who falls asleep and gets all his caps stolen. We got to practice our imitation and how the characters in the story handle frustration and anger. Below, Pen Elaine is being the sleepy salesman (Snuggly Man soaking up our play in the background) while I sneak a photo and pretend to steal her caps before hiding up in “the tree” (on the bed) behind her. I think we re-lived and listened to this book about 5 to 10 times in this one sitting before I was really ready for a new activity…probably making dinner.
Reading comprehension is a very important skill, so practicing ways of helping the message and events of a story to “sink in” prepares children for school success and all those standardized tests that will one day come to haunt their educational journey, ha! Furthermore, acting out stories or just the beginning of an event can open up a world into the heart of a child. Children act out their fears, joys, and representations of family, friends, etc., through dramatic play. The characters in her play will face and handle what is on Pen Elaine’s mind and heart…and often get into trouble for the same behaviors that Pen Elaine is struggling with at the time. Talking through these little dramas in the safe setting of dramatic play is a fun way to reach your child’s heart.