New to the Library this month are several titles that encourage kids to look and listen carefully. Learning to look and listen carefully are important when considering all aspects of learning.
When we look and listen carefully we are slowing down, allowing time to pay attention to the smaller details like the sounds of words while learning to read. When we make careful observations through looking and listening, we notice details about the world around us, helping to build basic science skills and background knowledge to support later learning. And focusing in on one thing at a time is a principle of mindfulness, which is known to decrease stress levels and allow for more productive learning. Check out these titles from our collection and PBS LearningMedia activities to encourage active looking and listening.
Look and Listen by Dianne White
This rhyming book encourages young readers to take a closer look at what is growing and living in the garden, meadow, and brook. The story introduces sound words like buzz, whir, whisper, sigh, and bubbling. Can you make these sounds with your child, pretending to be each creature or geographic feature as you turn the page? Turn the book into a looking game to find the hidden creatures on each page. While the word camouflage is not explicitly used in the book, you can take this opportunity to talk about camouflage and what it means by drawing attention to the illustrations. Helpful caregiver notes in the back define the different ecosystems, and contain fun facts about the featured creatures.
After reading this story, watch the Listening Game segment from PBS’s PEEP and the Big Wide World and next go on a sound scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. Other book titles that can inspire careful listening are The Listening Walk by Paul Showers and Listen by Gabi Snyder.
You may also choose to revisit the illustrations of the story and explore how animals hide in their environments. You can help your child better understand what camouflage means with a game of Hide and Seek or this Center Card Activity from PBS’s Elinor Wonders Why.
The Boy and the Mountain by Mario Bellini
Each morning a boy looks out his window and marvels at the mountain in the distance. One day, he decides to draw it. He starts with the outline, then adds clouds and trees, but thinks that it still doesn’t look quite right. He decides to take a closer look to capture more of the details. But as he climbs the mountain, he realizes there is always more to see the closer you look at something.
After reading this story you might want to check out this video “Discover the Mountain” by Plum Landing on PBS Kids that shares the adventures of two families as they discover how mountains change from the button to the top while hiking in Massachusetts and Colorado.
Help your child get a closer look at the world around you and create a DIY magnifying glass together! Or you may enjoy this STEAM activity, Pin the Moose on the Mountain, that explores biodiversity on the mountain. Make sure to print the associated cards by clicking on the links on the left.
In a Button by Melissa A. Butler
Whether it is the shape, the texture, or the color there is a world to discover when we look closely at the objects around us- like a button. This book is an invitation to notice, wonder, imagine, create, delight, and be with a single button. There are several caregiver prompts at the end of the book that can help guide your exploration of everyday objects, encouraging readers to slow down and be mindful of the simple things in the world around them.
You may enjoy this read aloud of the book The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid on PBS Kids Let’s Learn . Make sure to watch until the end as the host shares an activity that explores sorting and organizing everyday objects by size, color, function. Or this music video from The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That called Take a Closer Look.
On a Rainy Day by Sarah LuAnn Perkins
A father and daughter take refuge from a storm, dodging the drips, drops, and dot-a-dotty dit-dot’s of the rain. This story has sparse text, is told mostly through illustrations and onomatopoeia, and explores the big sounds and the small sounds you hear while waiting out a storm.
Explore onomatopoeia with this Lights, Camera, Action Activity from WordGirl on PBS Kids. You may also extend your listening to looking by taking a closer look at the world in After the Rain with PEEP and the Big Wide World. This song about the rain by Taj Mahal Light Rain Blues is also enjoyable for both kids and adults alike.