Leo the Tiger seems to have trouble with everything. Unlike his animal friends, Leo is not very good at reading, writing, or even drawing! While his father is concerned about Leo’s progress, his mother believes that Leo will bloom when he’s ready. Help develop your preschooler's beginning reading skills as you read about Leo's journey together.
Before, During and After Reading
Introduce the book. Sweep your finger under the words as you read the title, the author, and the illustrator. Talk about the jobs of the author and the illustrator. Look at the illustrations on the cover and ask your child what she sees. Discuss the title of the book and explain what a late bloomer is. Point out that the flowers on the cover have not yet blossomed.
Discuss what you read and see. On each page, ask your child what she sees and what she thinks Leo is feeling. Ask how she would feel if she were in Leo’s situation, or if she can remember a time when something similar happened to her. Leo’s eyes and face are very expressive; they reflect his sadness and frustration at the difficulties he’s having. Invite her to show what her face might look like if she felt the same way. Contrast Leo’s expressions with those of his animal friends, who look happy and confident.
On pages 4 and 7, there are words written and spoken by Leo’s animal friends. Say each word, and explain what the word is if your child is unfamiliar with it. Touch the first letter of one of the words and ask your child if she knows is the letter. If she doesn’t know, tell her what the letter is. Have your child touch the letters and trace them with her finger. While she touches and traces, say the names of the letters and/or the sounds they make. Encourage her to say these letter names and sounds with you. Continue with as many words as she enjoys exploring.
Discuss the story. By the end of the story, Leo has bloomed! Point out how his expression has changed to one of joy. Ask your child about the things Leo can do now that he had trouble with at the beginning of the story. Talk about times in your child’s life when she may have had trouble doing something, and what helped her through those times.
Leo the Tiger is finally able to do all of the things that were so challenging to him at the beginning of the story. Three people in his life never gave up on him: his mom, his dad, and Leo himself! Give your child some paper, crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers. Encourage her to talk about the people who believe in her. Invite her to draw these people. Help your child write their names and her own name on the paper. Once she’s finished, have her talk about her drawing.
Explore more easy at-home activities designed to build pre-reading skills in your four-year-old, or 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.