A new school year.
A new story time.
A new group of children.
Not knowing the ages, interests, or attention span of the children, it was difficult for me to select books for story time. So I decided to open with a favorite, Eric Carle’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Some children may have recognized the book from the library; some may have a copy at home or at their grandparent’s home.
It’s comforting to share a familiar, favorite book when the children may be feeling uncomfortable, timid, or apprehensive. This time, the children would help me with the story. I brought a bowl of toy food—all the foods found in story, a caterpillar puppet, a large leaf (mine was cloth), a lunch bag cocoon, and a homemade butterfly.
While I shared the story, the children fed the caterpillar, with munching, crunching, lip-smacking sounds until the caterpillar was no longer hungry and no longer tiny. It curled up in the paper bag cocoon and slept. Finally, the caterpillar “chewed” a hole in the side of the cocoon. And you know what emerged.
No longer tiny, no longer hungry, and no longer a caterpillar.
Inviting the children to participate in the story captured their attentions and hearts, setting the stage for other books I planned to read.
Are you reading to a new group of children? Consider starting with a favorite and bring your props.