Author: Marianne Berkes

4-Year-Olds Nonfiction

If your child is a nature and science lover, this is the book for her! It is a rhyming and counting book with beautiful illustrations. In addition, it is packed with facts about animals that live in the forest and what their footprints look like. There is so much to enjoy about this book, from the rhythm of the language to the fun facts about many different animals.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Introduce the book. Talk about the title and author of the book. Discuss the pictures on the cover. Ask your child what a forest is. You can check out the definition that the author provides near the end of the book so that you can provide your child with more details.  

Talk about vocabulary. Tell your child that the subtitle says, Come and Take a Peek. Does your child know what it means to “take a peek?” Ask her.

Do your own homework. At the back of the book, the author has provided a wealth of science facts about nature and the animals featured in the book. Be sure to read this section ahead of time so that you can share some of these facts with your child as you read.  

Oral Language

Discuss the illustrations. After you have read a poem on a page, take time to explore the creative illustrations. Discuss what the animals are doing and why, and bring attention to the footprint each featured animal makes. Count the baby animals on each page and relate the number of animals to the written numeral on the page.  

Your child will also enjoy another entertaining feature of this book: on each page, there is a hidden animal. Can your child find the hidden animals? It’s a challenge! (Hint: The author provides a page at the back of the book with pictures and facts about the hidden animals.)

Share facts about the animals. Share the science facts that the author provides at the back of the book to enrich the read aloud with your child.

Phonological Awareness

Clap the syllables. Recall the animals that were in the book. Ask your child to clap once for each syllable in the word. (Examples:  deer, skunk, fox (one syllable); beaver, possum, turtle, turkey, squirrel, raccoon (two syllables); woodpecker (three syllables).  

Learn more about what phonological awareness is and how you can strengthen this pre-reading skill in your four-year-old. Or, take the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener. It can help determine if your four-year-old is on the path to reading success, and comes with a free plan for moving forward.