Author: Mo Willems

4-Year-Olds Predictable TextStorybooks

In this witty book, friends Piggie and Gerald the Elephant realize that someone is looking at them. They soon realize that “someone” is the “reader” and that they are being read! Piggie and Gerald discover how to make the reader (you!) say a funny word. The friends laugh and giggle trying to figure out how to keep the readers reading.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Look at the front and back covers of the book. Piggie has his tongue sticking out while attempting to open the book. Talk about what Piggie might be thinking and feeling. Gerald the Elephant doesn’t have a smile on his face. Ask your child what Gerald might be thinking and feeling. Look at the back cover of the book. Both Gerald the Elephant and Piggie are talking, and the words they are saying are written in speech bubbles. Explain what a speech bubble is if your child is not familiar with the term.

Letter Knowledge

Point out the punctuation marks. On almost every page, there is an exclamation point and/or a question mark. Explain to your child that these are not letters; they are punctuation marks. You might tell your child that an exclamation point at the end of a sentence tells you to say the word in an excited voice. A question mark indicates that a question is being asked. Show your child how your voice changes when there is an exclamation point or question mark at the end of a sentence.  

Oral Language

Explain new vocabulary. Piggie says the word ahem before he says the word banana. Explain to your child what the word ahem means in this context. Ahem represents the noise made when you clear your throat to get someone’s attention. Piggie says ahem to get the reader’s attention.

Beginning Writing

Write a story using word bubbles. After the story, encourage your child to draw his own picture using speech bubbles to tell a story about it. Remind your child to use exclamation points when he wants the reader to read his word excitedly and to use a question mark when he creates a question.

Oral Language

For future readings, let your child be the “reader.” Chances are when Piggie and Gerald the Elephant ask you, the reader, to read the story again, your child will ask you to read it all over again. Take this opportunity to let your child be the “reader” and have a turn saying the funny word (banana). You might have your child use a stuffed animal or puppet to practice saying the word banana using different voices – high, low, loud, soft, etc.

After you finish reading with your child, you might 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.