Sunday, January 9, 2011
Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum is a mouse that absolutely adores her name. That is, until she gets to school. All her classmates' names are 3-4 letters long. Hers "scarcely" fits on a nametag. You discover the struggles of a young mouse trying to fit in. Her nemesis is Victoria, a perfect representation of how NOT to act. Chrysanthemum dreams of new, shorter names until their music teacher admits that she, too is named after a flower. This immediately impacts everyone's attitude towards Chrysanthemum. Chrysanthemum becomes the envy of the class and Victoria is reduced to messing up her lines in the class play!
This is advanced reading for most PreK-2 students, so it is suggested that you read it aloud to your child before completing any of these activities:
Henkes does a remarkable job using all context of Chrysanthemum's name to describe the events that happen to her. He uses phrases such as "Chrysanthemum wilted" to depict her sadness. See if your child can find other references to the flower connotation of her name.
Henkes also uses a pattern of three in his writing and illustrations. See if your child can find all the threesomes, whether it be in the actual text or the pictures.
Chrysanthemum is composed of 13 letters. See how many smaller words your child can make out of it.
Students need to understand the difference between short and long vowels. Short vowels are most 3 letter words with the vowel in the middle (A- pat, E- pet, I- bit, O- pot and U- but). Long vowels actually make the name of the letter. Long a makes the A sound, long e the E sound, etc. (A- snake, E- need, I- smile, O- boat, U- blue). Depending on the age of your child, have them go on a word hunt throughout the book trying to find some of the short of long vowel sounds. You can choose one vowel at a time, or all of them. For PreK-1, it is probably best to stick with the short vowels. End of the year 1st graders and all 2nd graders should have mastered those; therefore, they should search for long vowel sounds. Make it FUN! Spread out some shaving cream on a smooth baking tray and have your child copy the words with their fingers onto it. Before writing the next one, just smooth the shaving cream with your hand!
For more advanced children, find the word "dreadful." Discuss how "ea" in this word makes the short e sound. See if you can find any other words that have "ea." Do they always make the short e sound? ("ea" can make the short e, as in bread, or the long e, as in bead). Look in other books, too!
Happy cuddling and reading :)