Dirt is funny

I don’t care if he’s famous.  I don’t care what they say about rhyming picture books.  I don’t care what they say about celebrity picture books.  I don’t care that I got this book off of the bargain shelf at a large chain bookstore.  I LOVE THIS BOOK!  (And so, most importantly, does my son.)

Title: Dirt on My Shirt
Author: Jeff Foxworthy
: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

This is a book of poems that are really fun to read aloud!  A lot of them are about the outdoors (hence the title) and another strong theme is family.  There are poems about a staring contest with a cat, looking for a lost hat (and finding it, of course, on your head), a missing tadpole (where a frog now stands), playing with your cousins, crazy aunts and uncles, and a whole lot more.  They are sweet, funny, and fun to read.  The illustrations also are great and really bring the book to life.

Possible conversations to have with your kids:

All of these poems are subjects that kids can relate to, so talking to them about the poems will get them engaged in the book and also teach them how to think while they read (seems simple, but trust me, I’ve taught lots of middle schoolers, and it isn’t!)  A good reader makes connections between what they are reading and real life or other things they have read or seen.  You can start with this book.  Examples:

You read the poem about making friends, and ask your kid about some of his own friends.  What does he like to do with his friends?  Anything in the poem (make a sandwich, a tree house, or green jello)?  Does anything in the poem remind him of his own friendships?

Read the tadpole-frog poem and ask your child what happened?  How did a tadpole disappear and a frog reappear?  Even if they are too young to know, ask the question first and then teach them.  Model for them the art of asking questions while you read, always trying to understand the text.

Or you read the poem about what you can see when you are outside and ask you daughter what she saw last time she was outside.  Remember, these seem like simple questions, but we are talking toddlers here, and you are instilling in them good reading habits.  You want them to know they can interact with the material they are reading, compare it to their own lives, and really think about it.  Then, when they get to middle school and endure literature discussions in English class, they won’t be frantically trying to remember some mundane fact.  Instead, they can contribute their own original thoughts about what they’ve read.

And maybe they’ll never be one of those kids who reads a whole chapter without understanding a single thing, and never stopping to look up a word or ask a question.  To me, that’s the saddest thing!

(P.S. Sorry it’s been awhile!  Family vacation!)

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