The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle & illustrated by Jill McElmurry is one of my granddaughter's favorites!
"Horn went "Beep!"
you ever heard."
This book is a wonderful book about friendship and kindness. It flows with the rhythm of rhyme and uses wonderful "sound" words which in school you may remember as examples of onomatopeia.
The Little Blue Truck books offer so much more than a few minutes of reading - which in and of itself is extremely valuable to a child.
Here are a few things to add to your reading time to enhance your child's development. I am not suggesting doing all these at one time nor making this wonderfully fun book into a text book!
The joy of sitting with you reading a book together is the most important aspect of reading with a child. These are just a few "add-ons" along the way to help your child grow.
As your child grows, Little Blue Truck can grow with them!
Make the Most of the Sounds
Rhythm - Science has shown us that both the rhythm of reading and the sound of your voice impacts a child's brain development as well as laying neural pathway foundations for reading.
Rhyme - As children become aware of rhyming sounds, it boosts brain activity and prepares them for early literacy skills.
Repetition - The repetitiveness of text is like waving a flag to a baby or toddler saying they've heard this before...listen carefully.
What to do:
Read the book to yourself a few times first to get a natural flow of rhythm.
Don't just read the "sounds," make them. Change your voice to a high "Beep!" or a low "Croak!", and occasionally point to these words to help your little one connect the squiggly lines on the page that make up words with the sounds you are making.
As your child gets older, pause and let them say the sound words that are repeated throughout the book. Change the text if you need to and read "A piggy said..." instead of "Oink said a piggy." allowing your child to fill in the animal sound as if he were reading.
Make the Most of the Pictures
When reading one of the animal sounds, point to that animal in the illustrations.
Use the colors in the book along with the color words. Little Blue is of course blue. It also talks about green toad. Name the colors of the other animals and Dump. Ask your child what colors they see on each page.
Talk about what is happening in the illustrations and how the characters appear to be feeling. Let the book spark even more vocabulary as you talk to your child.
Make the Most of the Words Intellectual Development
Use this book to introduce & learn several animal sounds.
The colors blue and green are repeated. Point out other things that are these colors.
When the animals get ready to push, they count 'One, Two, Three'. Help your child count a few things.
Sight Words - Out of the over 300 words in this book, almost 80% are what we call sight words from the Dolch List. These are words that don't follow the rules of pronunciation. Children begin learning these as early ad preschool and into Kindergarten through Third Grade. Allow your child to begin reading these along with you at an early age. Words such as "a", "the", "said", "you", etc. are repeated quite often throughout the book.
Rhyming - Little Blue Truck is written with a rhyming pattern like a poem. Allow your child to chime in with the next rhyming word such as - "Toad said, "Croak!" and winked an eye when Little Blue Truck went rolling _____."
Phoneme Awareness - Sound out some of the large text words letter by letter and pointing to letters such as in "Beep." Connect the name of the letter with the sound. Point to the B and call it's name and sound; repeat with the e and p. Helping a child associate the written letter with the sound heard sets a wonderful foundation from reading.
Point out repeated phonetic patterns such as: "ee" in beep, green & sheep;
Make the Most of the Message in the Little Blue Truck book
Friendship - Use this little book to talk about the importance of friendship. Before Little Blue Truck, Dump was on his own with no friends. Friends help each other as we see from Little Blue Truck's friends.
Kindness - Little Blue Truck can be a great example of kindness and a spring board to talk to your child about this important trait. Kindness takes the feelings of others into consideration. Kindness thinks of others before thinking of oneself.
Both kindness and helping others are two tools to making friends. Sometimes we have to be the one to reach out first.
Self-image - Even with just about all the animals helping push Little Blue and Dump, it took the smallest animal of all to finally push them out. Talk about even though we may not be the biggest or the best at an activity, we can still do our best and help out like Toad.
Hurt - Dump was rude and probably hurt the other characters' feelings as he sped by. Hurt feelings happen, but it is our choice of what we will do with them. Little Blue Truck and the animals didn't hold a grudge when Dump needed help. They let go of their hurt and in the end gained a new friend.
Scared - The text talks about Dump sounding scared after getting stuck and no one else heard. Talk about how even "big people" get scared and feel alone like Dump. Discuss some things that help you when you are afraid.
Connect the character of kindness depicted by Little Blue Truck to a Bible story or Bible verses.
Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:32