Author: Pam Scheunemann

3-Year-Olds Nonfiction

This book has two types of text: one page has easy-to-read bold text with simple rhyming sentences; the other has additional tidbits that are great conversation starters and vocabulary builders for your child. You’ll both love the bright colors and close-up cat photography.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Look at the front cover of the book and sweep your finger under the words as you read the title. Talk about how the illustrations are photos taken with a camera instead of drawings. Remind your child of an experience she may have had with a cat or kitten. Make cat sounds together and ask her what she thinks the cat in the picture might be trying to say to her owner.

Letter Knowledge

Bring her attention to the Letter C on the front cover of the book. Encourage her to say the letter name and sound and also trace the letter shape. Write the Letter C on an index card for her to hold up each time she sees the Letter C in the book. You might say:

Look, this is the Letter C; it makes the /k/ /k/ sound. Listen, cat begins with /k/ /k/ C, /k/ /k/ cat.  Can you say /k/ /k/ C, /k/ /k/ cat? You can use your finger to trace the Letter C. Can you say the letter sound as you trace it, /k/ /k/ /k/?  Here is a card with the Letter C on it. We can look for the Letter C while we read the story. You can put your card in the air each time you see a Letter C.  

Oral Language

Encourage her to role play and to talk about her thoughts and feelings.  Accept the level of language your child is using and expand on her language. You might say:

Look, the cat is sleeping. Where would you sleep if you were a cat? Can you show me?  Night, night my sweet little kitty all curled up on your blanket.   

How do you think the mouse feels when the cat is looking at it? What would you do if you were the mouse? 

Continue bringing the pictures to her attention and asking questions. Invite her to imitate the actions in the photos. 

Phonological Awareness

Bring her attention to the words that rhyme. Repeat the rhyming pair and have her say the words with you. You might say:

Kara listen, I hear words that sound the same, they rhyme. Pet, wet, pet, wet. Can you say that with me?  Pet and wet both end with et, they rhyme. Let’s meow every time we hear words that rhyme.    

Play a rhyming game. Gather toys, objects or pictures of things that rhyme with the word cat, place them in front her. You might say:

Look at the picture on the front of the book. What is the name of the animal in this picture? Yes, cat! 

I have cards with pictures on them. These pictures are hat, mat, bat, and rat. Now, can you find me a picture of a word that rhymes with cat? What did you choose?  Bat. Cat and bat, do they rhyme? Yes they do! Say them with me: cat, bat, cat bat. They sound the same, they rhyme. Can you find another one?       

Beginning Writing

Look at the picture of the cat on the front cover of the book. Notice how the cat’s features can be seen as shapes. Invite your child to draw these simple shapes to make her own picture of a cat face.  Give your child some paper and crayons. As she is drawing, encourage her to talk about what she is doing. You might say:

Kara, look at the cat on the cover of the book.  Her head looks like a circle and her ears look like two triangles. Would you like to draw a cat?  What color will you use for your cat?  Can you draw a big circle?  Can you add two triangles on the top of the circle for the ears?  Look at the cat’s nose. What shape do you see?  Can you draw one?  How about the eyes?  What shape can you draw and how many do you need?  Can you draw some lines for the cat’s whiskers? 

Tell me a story about your cat.        

Hang her drawing for others to see. Encourage her to talk to others what she’s drawn.

Learn more about important pre-reading milestones for three-year-olds. 

Explore more recommended children's books and at-home reading activities for three-year-olds, or 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.