Author: Adapted and Illustrated by Jan Brett

4-Year-Olds Storybooks

This recommended children's book is about a boy who begs his grandmother to knit him snow-white mittens. Find out what happens when he drops his mitten in the snow! Your child will want to revisit this adventure again and again.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Introduce the book. Talk about the title and author of the book. Look at the pictures on the cover. Ask your child to name the animals in the picture. Ask for a prediction. You might say: I wonder why they are all looking at the mitten. What do you think is going to happen?

Letter Knowledge

See if your child can point to the letter M. Tell your child that mitten starts with the letter M and the /m/ sound.  

Point out the words in the title. Tell your child that the title of this story has two words. As you slowly read the title, put your finger under each word as you read. Emphasize again by putting your finger under “The” and saying This word is The. Do the same with the word “Mitten.”  

Oral Language

Discuss the illustrations.  The author, Jan Brett, provides clues on each page as to what will come next.  For example, if the mitten silhouette on the right shows a rabbit, then a rabbit will appear on the next page. Show your child how to use these clues to predict what will happen next.  

Encourage your child to participate. First, read the story several times. After your child is familiar with the storyline, add simple props to further engage him in the story. For example, you can copy the pictures of animals in the book and paste them on cardstock. Use a towel for the mitten. As you read the story, ask your child to find the picture of the correct animal and place it under the “mitten.” When you come to the page with the bear sneezing, encourage your child to be dramatic with a big sneeze and yank the “mitten” off the animals.  

Introduce new vocabulary.  After you have read the story to your child several times, define new vocabulary words (e.g., knit, cozy, admire, jostle, commotion).  

Letter Knowledge

Find all the letter Ms. Ask your child what letter Mitten starts with. Then give your child a pointer or a small magnifying glass to find all the letter Ms in the story. Point out the difference between an uppercase and a lowercase M. How many Ms are there on each page?  

Oral Language

Encourage your child to retell the story. Leave the book and the props out where your child can use them independently. Encourage your child to retell the story using the props.

Read more about pre-reading skills like oral language and letter knowledge, and then take the Preschool Reading Screener. The screener can help you understand whether your four-year-old is on the path to reading readiness. You'll get instant results, plus a plan for moving forward.