How many times have you read 'We're going on a Bear hunt'? (written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury)
I have seriously lost count. While I absolutely love this book it can become a bit monotonous. However how can we deprive children of such pleasure because we are over it?
It's a bit like Ground Hog Day where each year with new children we usually visit some of the same books, experiences, learning techniques, interests, extensions and so on.
So what to do?
Make it fun. Change it up. Think outside the box. There are many benefits for thinking this way not just for yourself but think of the opportunities you open up for children to explore.
So after the initial traditional introduction of reading 'We're going on a Bear Hunt' (or any other book for that matter), the next time it is requested suggest the book be explored in different ways. Not only is the well-loved story still intact you may be surprised at different angles explored.
Today we got 'inside the story'. We touched it. We felt its textures, explored its curves and lines. Experimented with its colours and contrasts.
The table was our canvas to take what was visual on paper and add some life.
As we explored each page of the book the colours and textures were discussed and then added to the table via paint.
Using their hands and fingers the children were able to depict the scene using a range of strokes, smudges and techniques.
It was interesting to watch as each scene seemed to evoke a different expressive mood.
The gentler more whirly patterns emerged during the snowstorm, river and grass whereas the mud, forest, cave and bear demanded more urgent defined markings sometimes even erratic.
The children were able to be in the story; to depict the feelings each page evoked in them.
Not all the children stayed for the whole story. They wandered in and out, all confident knowing they would be welcomed back into the story at any given time. They were not required to sit still quietly shhhhhhh; instead they were encouraged to use the experience anyway they wanted.....even loud and messy.
One particular child here is not very fond of books, however was totally engaged in today's activity. This allowed the child to enjoy a story and to actively be involved by expressing thoughts through creativity.
There are many mediums in which to enjoy a story; reading is only one of them.
Get creative with delivery.
The learning is obvious, but most importantly it is fun.