Author: Deborah Diesen

3-Year-Olds Poetry/SongsStorybooks

Illustrated by Dan Hanna, this Caldecott Honor Book is about a grouchy fish who thinks his only purpose in life is to be glum and spread his “dreary-wearies” with everyone. But with the help of a special friend, he comes to find that this is not the case. Use The Pout Pout Fish to strengthen pre-reading skills like oral language and letter knowledge in your three-year-old.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Introduce the book. Tell your child the title, author and illustrator of the book. You might ask your child why she thinks the pout-pout fish is upset. Ask her if she has ever felt upset or sad before and why. You might also ask what she usually does to help herself feel better.  

Oral Language

Talk with your child about the underwater friend who finally helped the Pout-Pout Fish get out of his pouty mood. What did she do to help? You might ask your child to tell you some things that help her feel better when she is pouty or gloomy. 

Phonological Awareness

This book is a rhyming book, so take this opportunity to encourage your child to fill in the blank with rhyming words. For example, there is a sentence that is repeated throughout the book: “I’m a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face, so I spread my dreary-wearies all over the ________.” After your child has listened to the story a few times, see if she can fill in the blank. Assist as needed.  You might point out that "face" and "place" rhyme.  They sound the same at the end. 

Letter Knowledge

Explain to your child that the word pout-pout begins with the letter P. Give her a pointer and ask her to point to the letter P when she sees it on the cover or on a page inside the book. Tell her the letter P makes the /p/ sound. Ask her to make the /p/ sound and put her hand in front of her mouth to feel the air coming out of her mouth. Each time she finds a P, ask her to say the name of the letter and make the sound.  

Find more reading activities that strengthen letter knowledge, or explore more recommended children's books for three-year-olds. You can also 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.