Author: Anna Dewdney

5-Year-Olds Poetry/SongsStorybooks

In this delightful and relatable tale, Llama Llama is  excited for the holidays, but grows overwhelmed by all the festivities and the endless wait for presents! Mama Llama, quick to calm and soothe Llama Llama, reminds him of the true gifts of the season. Talk about the festive illustrations in the book to help your preschooler develop strong beginning reading skills -- especially oral language.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Introduce the book. Talk about the illustrations on the cover, and ask your child what she sees. When you open the book, you’ll see that the inside cover is full of holiday-related illustrations, including ornaments, lights, a dreidel, holly, and candy canes. Encourage your child to talk about the pictures, while you explain and describe any she's not familiar with.

Oral Language

Discuss what you read and see. All types of symbols of the holidays appear throughout the book, from Christmas trees and Santa, to elves and “SALE” signs. Ask your child what she sees as you read the story. Many of the items may be part of your own holiday traditions.

Phonological Awareness

Rhyme is present throughout the story. The last words of alternating lines share the same ending sounds. Some rhyming words in the story are llama/drama, date/wait, bells/smells, and fun/done. Talk to your child about how these words rhyme or sound alike; repeat the words and emphasize the shared sound. When you read and encounter other rhyming words, point those out to your child and ask her to make the sound that the words share.

Once your child knows what it means for words to rhyme, ask her if she knows other words that share the same sound. For example, things and brings both share the sound: –ings; a couple of similar rhyming words are sings and wings. Sometimes, a word is made up for a fun or intense effect, like holidrama in the story. It rhymes with Llama Llama as both end with the sound –ama. Encourage your child to suggest real words or made up words when talking about shared sounds.            

Beginning Writing

Throughout the story, Llama Llama and Mama Llama do many holiday-time activities: baking cookies, making crafts, decorating the tree, and shopping for gifts. Llama Llama also makes a snowflake, draws a snowman and writes his name on the paper.

Give your child some paper and crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers. Encourage her to draw a snowman like Llama Llama or draw something else from the story, like her favorite holiday tradition. If she needs it, help her write her name on the paper and other words she might want to include. When she’s finished, ask her to tell you what she drew. 

Check out these other books in the Llama Llama series:

Explore other recommended children's books and reading activities for five-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.