Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus. Dial Books for Young Readers: New York, 2017.
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What the Book is About
Beautiful prose and gorgeous illustrations weave together America’s story, its monuments and its flag. A land that is as diverse as the people who live here is highlighted in this book.
Print Awareness and Letter Knowledge
Start with the title page. Say the title and trace as you read it. Have the child count with you the number of words in the title?
Why do we trace the words on the page? It connects our youngest readers, not only with the letter shapes, but how we read a book. Left to right and down a page.
Look at the front cover. Ask if the people look the same. Point out glasses, hair color, clothes, skin color, etc.
Ask the child what she thinks all the people are watching. Then flip through the pages of the book and ask questions about the pictures. Have the child guess what the book is about.
This can be used as a participation book. Read the first several pages or even one time through. Encourage the child to say with you the phrase, Blue Sky White Stars. Kids love to be a part of the story and participating helps them learn even more.
Although homonyms and homophones might be too advanced to discover on their own, point out the letter differences and then say each word. The repetition will help your child hear each individual sound. Even if they don’t understand the concept of homonyms, these experiences with concepts as a young child will build a solid base for learning later in life.
Sing Yankee Doodle along with this video:
Or This little light of mine
or You’re a Grand Old Flag
Narrative Skills or Building Reading Comprehension
Ask questions about the book:
- What picture do you like best? Why? Is it the colors? Or the scene (what is happening on the page?)
- Have your child describe a picture and see if you can guess what it is. This encourages the child to look at the picture in details, deriving more context as well as trying out some new words.
- After a couple of read throughs, have the child “tell” the story from the pictures. You be the listener! Getting the right words isn’t important, but seeing whether the child comprehended what the essence of the story is.
For so little text, there are so many big words to use! The rich illustrations demonstrate how critical pictures are in early reading. It helps expand vocabulary as well as tell the story. As children age, they need pictures less and less. But these first years of listening, the power is often in the pictures.
Using the pictures make a list of words your child hasn’t heard often.
- Conestoga Wagon
- The West
- Wagon Train
After the Book
Find symbols of America using this picture book as a guide. One of the best parts of the book is how it celebrates the diversity of the american experience. Using newspapers and magazines, create a collage of our country. Label the pictures to reinforce letter awareness.
What did you try?
Tell us in the comments sections, what you tried. What worked and didn’t work? Any other ideas you used?