Author: Kevin Henkes

4-Year-Olds Storybooks

Lilly is a little mouse who experiences the arrival of a new little brother. While her parents constantly rave about how adorable and wonderful he is, Lilly feels otherwise. Throughout the story, you will see how Lilly tries to irritate her little brother. You may be surprised by what changes her perspective. Julius, Baby of the World is a recommended children’s book for strengthening oral language, phonological awareness and beginning writing skills — read on and find out why.


Before, During and After Reading

Letter Knowledge

See if your child can point to the letter ‘J’ in the title of the book. Then say the word Julius and ask your child, What is the beginning sound in Julius? Assist if necessary. Ask your child to think of other words that begin with the ‘J’ sound.

Phonological Awareness

Clap out syllables. Ask your child to clap out syllables for some of the longer words in the story. For example, the word “disgusting” can be clapped out “dis-gust-ing” (3 claps). Each time you read this story, you can alternate which words to ask your child to clap out.

Oral Language

Introduce new vocabulary. After you have read the story to your child several times, start to define new vocabulary terms as you read. Review those terms each time you read the story by asking your child what the words mean (e.g., sparkly, beady, capacity). You can also use the new vocabulary words in everyday life (That necklace is very sparkly, or They closed the gates because the park was filled to capacity.)  The best way to help your child learn new vocabulary words is to model the words in context in everyday life. 

Beginning Writing

Draw a picture. Ask your child to tell you his favorite part of the story. Then, provide materials for him to draw a picture of it. 

Learn more about the importance of beginning writing skills for reading readiness. Then, take the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener. The screener can help you determine if your child is on the path to reading readiness, and provides a free plan for moving forward.