Author: Ezra Jack Keats

4-Year-Olds Storybooks

The Snowy Day takes the reader along on Peter’s quiet adventure in his snow-covered neighborhood. Author Ezra Jack Keats describes the sights and sounds of walking, building, climbing and sliding in the snow. Peter worries that the magic of the snowy day will disappear while he is asleep, but he is able to celebrate the next morning, when he sees more snow falling outside his bedroom window.

Before, During and After Reading

Letter Knowledge

Introduce the book. Read the title of the book, sweeping your finger under the words as you read them. Read the author’s name and explain that the author is the person who writes the story.

Find and name letters on the cover. Name some of the letters in the title and/or author’s name, and ask your child to touch them. Ask your child to look at the front and back cover of the book and touch any letters that might appear in his name.

Oral Language

Introduce new vocabulary. Ask your child about the illustration on the front cover of the book and discuss some related vocabulary words, such as snowsuit, footprints and stoplight .

Talk about the season of winter. Explain that snow falls only during the winter season and when it is cold. Name the months of winter and talk about how the temperature in winter compares to the temperature in summer.  

Letter Knowledge

Where is the first letter of Peter’s name? Touch the name Peter, and ask your child to identify the first letter of Peter’s name. See if your child knows what “first” means. Assist as needed.

Oral Language

What does “crunch” mean?  “Crunch, crunch, crunch his feet sank into the snow.”  With your child, pretend to be walking through the deep, crunchy snow in big winter boots. See if you can make footsteps with your toes pointing in, like Peter’s.  

Adjust your voice to match the words. Notice the author’s word choices and how some of the words are written.  Adjust your voice and reading rate to match those words. For example, when you read the word crunch, try to make it like a sound effect. When you see s-l-o-w-l-y, adjust your pace so you’re actually reading it more slowly.  

Ask your child to describe. Ask your child to describe how Peter feels while playing in the snow, going to bed and waking up the next morning. Encourage him to act it out.  

Phonological Awareness

Say words slowly. Tell your child that you’re going to play a game while reading. Say some words in a funny way and ask him to point to what you’re saying. For example, ask your child to touch the snow…..suit, the stop…..light, the snow…..ball, the snow……man, the bath…..tub, the snow…..flakes, and the win…..dow. Make sure to pause between parts of the word and give your child time to think and touch the correct picture.  


Letter Knowledge and Beginning Writing

Create letters with sticks. Peter found and played with a stick in the book. Some letters can be made by putting sticks together. Those letters are uppercase A, E, F, H, I, K, L, M, N, T, V, W, X, Y, Z and lowercase k, l, t, v, w, x, y, z. Gather some pencils of equal length (sharpened or unsharpened) or straws cut into different lengths. Gather some paper, sticky notes, and a pen, crayon, or marker. Choose some uppercase and lowercase letters. Write one of the uppercase or lowercase letters on each piece of paper or sticky note. Then ask your child to make that letter by using pencils or straw pieces.

Draw a picture of wintertime fun. Review the things that Peter did in the snow. Ask your child what he would do outside in the snow. Give your child paper and drawing tools (crayons, markers, and/or colored pencils) to make an illustration that shows something he’d want to do outside in the snow. Have your child write his name on the illustration. Provide a sample of his name to copy, if needed.   

Make your own “snow” and describe it. If you have a blender, you could make your own “snow” using ice cubes.  Put your homemade snow in a big bowl or container. With your child, describe how it feels, looks, smells, sounds and tastes. Help your child experiment with the snow by shaping it or watching it melt.

Oral Language

Act out the story. Encourage your child to act out the parts of the story. You may want to pull out some winter items for dress up and role play. Use crumpled up paper for snowballs and some old sheets and pillows for snowdrifts.

Phonological Awareness

Clap out syllables. Clap out the syllables for some of the vocabulary words from this story: snowy (2), snowsuit (2), footsteps (2), stoplight (2), tracks (1), stick (1), Peter (2), snowball (2), angels (2), mountain (2), adventures (3). Repeat each word, so your child can clap and count with you or on his own.  

Explore more recommended children's books for four-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 comes with a free path for moving forward.