Your Community: Kansas Reads to Preschoolers

This November, Johnson County Library encourages you and your child to participate in Kansas Reads to Preschoolers. Kansas Reads to Preschoolers is an annual event that promotes reading to all Kansas children from birth through age five. Through the statewide program, parents, librarians and caregivers are encouraged to read the chosen title during a selected month. The program is sponsored by the State Library of Kansas, and the title is selected by State Librarian Eric Norris, along with the Kansas Reads to Preschoolers committee.

The title for 2021 is “Grumpy Bird,” by Jeremy Tankard. This picture book story will appeal to young readers, with a focus on the 2-5 years old age group. Jeremy Tankard is the author and illustrator of some very silly picture books including the bestselling Grumpy Bird series (“Grumpy Bird,” “Boo Hoo Bird,” “Hungry Bird” and “Sleepy Bird”) and “Me Hungry.” His current projects include a couple of graphic novels with HarperCollins (“Yorick and Bones,” cowritten with his teenage daughter, Hermione). He has also illustrated books for other authors: “Piggy Bunny” by Rachel Vail; “It’s a Tiger!” by David Larochelle; “Here Comes Destructorsaurus!” by Aaron Reynolds; and “Melvis and Elvis” by iconic Canadian writer Dennis Lee.

This is a great opportunity to incorporate the 6 by 6: Ready to Read early literacy skills designed to be applicable and approachable for everyone. The 6 by 6 program focuses on six pre-reading skills by age six to help kids get ready for formal education. Here are some suggestions on how you can incorporate these 6 by 6 skills with “Grumpy Bird.”

Have Fun with Books

  • Have them repeat phrases in the book like “he was grumpy, he was too grumpy” and “I’m walking”
  • They can create a book about a feeling, instead of Grumpy Bird, it could be Happy Bird, Sad Bird, Mad Bird, Joyful Bird or even Happy ME, Sad ME, etc. and what he is doing with friends

Look for Letters Everywhere

  • Make a letter collage for the letter B, using magazine pictures
  • Make a shape collage

Notice Print All Around You

  • Make paper plate faces and cut them into puzzle pieces and have them match faces/emotions
  • Look for signs that make you happy, sad, etc.

Take Time to Rhyme

  • Talk about rhyming words such as “day” and “play”
  • Sing songs about walking, playing, following the leader

Talk, Talk, Talk

  • Feelings and Emotions dough mats, look at picture, then use play dough to make face of how they feel
  • Talk about how bird feels when his friends join him on the walk, then how he feels at the end of the book

Tell Stories About Everything

  • Sequencing—talk about the order of the animals who joined him
  • Retell the story, but instead of grumpy bird, pick another animal and who could join him

You’ll have a great time reading this book aloud while also helping your preschooler develop important early literacy skills. Place your hold on “Grumpy Bird” today and join others across Kansas reading to their preschoolers. For more information and additional resources, visit the State Library of Kansas website.

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