Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Giving Tree By Shel Silverstein - Reading Together

Last week I introduced Nui Nui to Shel Silverstein. I wasn't really an avid reader when I was young but if I had to name some writers who got me interested, they would probably be Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Dorothy Haas (author of the Peanut Butter & Jelly series), and Susan Saunders (author of the Sleepover Friends series).

For the past week or so it's been all about The Giving Tree, which I honestly never read before. (Where The Sidewalk Ends was my keeper). I had The Giving Tree, however, for a while now— from when I was in New York, in fact, but can't remember where I picked it up from. Now that I think about it, though, I'm pretty sure it was free and probably found somewhere amongst other books that someone didn't want and I remember thinking when I took it that I'd keep it for my future kid(s), knowing I'd want to share Silverstein's works with him/her.

Writing that now, knowing the hurdles it took to have a kid, I smile at the hard work paid off. How naive of me to think it was a necessarily a given, to some extent. :>

Anyway... This book is amazing. Period. And it might actually be my favorite one yet.

The picture-to-text ratio is perfect. Moreover, the life-lesson/edu-taining/learning factor is present. I have to say, I'm pretty sick of the majority of children's stories that don't really have a point. Perhaps they all do, stirring up some sort of imagination but I much prefer the learning element, whether it be in concept or reading skill.

The Giving Tree does both. It's a moving story about a boy [eventually a man] who takes and takes from the tree, who is ever so giving. She just keeps giving with hopes he'll just be happy, even when he's stripped her of everything [literally]. Her happiness is dependent on his. Like a mother.

As I mentioned, there weren't a lot of pictures, no colors, a lot of white space, but just enough drawing on each page to prompt her to ask a lot of questions. And on the first several reads, she did.

Also during those first reads, it was really interesting to see Nui Nui's reaction as she saw the tree down being torn down, little by little, by the boy. In her eyes, her eyebrows, and whole facial tension, you could see her concern.

After those initial readings and when she got to know the story better, we were then able to read together. This is what I call my mad-libs teaching method. I start saying something and have her work to finish whatever it is I am saying.

Examples included:
A... b!
C... d!
E... f!

One... two!
Three... four!
Five... six!

Alphabet Song:
Now I... know my!
ABCs... next time!
Won't you... sing!
With... me!

Twinkle Twinkle:
Twinkle... Twinkle...!
Little... Star!

Days of the week:
Wednesday, Thursday... Friday!

And from the book:
And the boy loved... climbing up the tree!
and... eating apples!
and... playing hide-and-seek!

To give you an inside look, watch us read The Giving Tree together! :>

We're always looking for good books to read. If you have any recommendations...

Share them in the Comments below, we'd love to check them out! :> xoxo

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