Everyone has a tendency to become angry at times. For some children, however, anger can be frightening because they do not know how to deal with strong feelings. This recommended children's book describes how a little girl named Sophie handles her anger at her sister. The illustrations are drawn with wide outlines and vibrant colors that reflect Sophie’s moods. By reading and discussing this book together, you can help your child begin to answer the question: How can I express anger with causing harm to myself or others?
Before, During and After Reading
Introduce the theme of the book. Tell your child that everyone gets mad or angry sometimes, and we all have ways of showing our anger. This is a book about a little girl who got very, very mad and what she did to show her anger.
Make predictions. Ask your child if she has ever felt angry in the past. Then ask her what caused her to feel that way and what she did to feel better. You and your child can make some predictions about what might cause Sophie to get really, really angry.
Let your child participate. Ask your child throughout the story to imitate Sophie’s facial expressions.
For example, you might ask your child, Can you show me how your face looks when you are angry? What face do you make when you are sad? Can you show me your happy face?
This process can be repeated throughout the story so you are able to see if she comprehends the range of emotions that Sophie is going through.
Add musical instruments. In a future reading of the story, you might give your child some sort of noisemaker (e.g., a bell, tambourine, two wooden blocks, two big metal spoons). As you read the story, have your child use the noisemaker to make really loud noises during the parts of the story where Sophie is angry. Then have her make the sound softer and softer as Sophie calms down. The sound should become very soft and faint when Sophie sits down to let the breeze and the ocean calm her down.
This type of exercise will help your child see how music can be used to express emotions.
Create a feelings wheel with your child. Use a paper plate and divide it into four sections. Explain to your child that each section of the circle will represent a feeling. Each feeling can be as simple as sad, mad, silly or happy. Have your child draw what her facial expression looks like when she feels this emotion. You can also use a mirror to help your child actually see what her expression looks like. Another way to create a feelings wheel is to look through magazines with your child to locate photos of people showing different emotions. Print the name of the emotion for each section.
You might use this wheel when your child is dealing with a difficult situation. You can have her point to the emotion that she is feeling and guide her in thinking about what she could do to feel better. You can remind her of some of the things Sophie did to feel better (e.g., Sophie ran, cried, climbed the tree, felt the breeze blow her hair).
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.