As a school librarian I’m always searching for ways to keep students excited about books. Just prior to the start of the summer break I thought it would be nice for first grade students to make a book buddy that they could snuggle up with while they read this summer. Extending a picture book with an activity, song, craft, or food are a few ways to foster a love of reading in children. Recently, I shared this debut book by Curtis Manley with a class of first graders, The Summer Nick Taught his Cats to Read. It is illustrated by Kate Berube, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Nick loves to read with his cat Verne. But Stevenson, his other cat, doesn’t like to read. So Nick decides to teach both cats how to read. Verne pounces at the chance to become a reader; but Stevenson balks at the idea. Nick uses methods such as starting with easy words, using flash cards, reading nursery rhymes. Until Nick discovers under the bed a cache of pirate drawings by Stevenson. With the right inspiration and preferred subject matter, Stevenson learns to love reading.
After listening to the captivating story first graders made a craft with materials from around the home to have as a summer reading buddy. Supplies needed were a sock (repurposed), scissors, fabric glue, polyfill stuffing, rubber bands, buttons, felt, yarn, ribbon. Anything else to decorate the cat’s face may include sequins, beads, and pieces of fabric. Begin by filling the sock with polyfill. Leave about an inch of room at the end. Cut a “V” shape at the opening of the sock. These are going to be the ears of your cat. Flip the sock over so the toe is facing down and the opening is facing up.
Wrap a rubber band around each of the two points you just cut out of the sock’s opening. These are the kitty’s ears. If there is an opening between the ears glue the fabric together with the fabric glue. Using a third rubber band create the head by wrapping it an inch or two below the ears. Next use felt pieces cut in the shape of circles and buttons to make the eyes of the cat, pieces of yarn cut into small pieces for the whiskers, another button for the nose of the cat and any other materials you would like to decorate the face. Glue these on with the fabric glue.
First graders proudly marched out of the library holding their book buddy ready for a summer full of reading fun. Their reading confidence will grow as they practice their skills with their handmade fuzzy book buddy. And who knows, if they have a real feline friend at home it may join in the reading fun too.
Thank you Penny for sharing this wonderful idea and to all of you who have just finished reading the article, I hope that it has provided you with some value and stimulated some ideas of your own to help your child foster a love for reading.
Why not share an idea of your own in the comment section below!