Friday, September 30, 2011

Good Readers Stink
Review: I Stink!

There are certain things that good readers do with a certain level of automaticity.  These are some of the first skill that teachers teach children as they are reading because it helps students bring meaning to the written word.  So, along with making predictions, visualizing, and asking questions, good readers are also supposed to make connections.  The easiest connection to make is connecting the text to yourself.  Well, as it just so happens my Lil Guy made a nice connection today during a diaper change.  I had to laugh out loud when he told me; “I stink just like the garbage truck in the book!”  He said it with pride and conviction because, well, because: yes he did in fact stink like a garbage truck.  
Of course, Lil Guy was talking about the book I Stink by Kate McMullan.  Right after the diaper change we had to go find the book and giggle as we read the text; “You think I stink?  Whoooo-Wheeee, do I ever! No skunk ever stunk this bad.”  It was a nice reward for offering up such a stinky gift for his mother, right?  The point here is that connections can be made every day, everywhere.  When we connect we bring meaning to the text and makes reading real.  While books alone are a reward, connecting an experience in a book to a real life task, game, or experience makes books relatable, especially to little ones who are constantly gaining experiences.

So, keep making connections and sharing them with young readers and soon they will be making connections too.  How about you?  Have your young readers been making any great (or stinky) connections? 

I Stink

I Stink! by Kate McMullan is a stink filled picture book about a garbage truck with an attitude.  The glossy paperback is dark and dingy with illustrations showing the dirty life of a garbage truck in the big city.   The truck itself has a certain smirk and bright eyes that are expressive and ready to tell a story.  I was really impressed with all of the illustrations.  The text is written as a narrative from the garbage truck’s point of view; at some points in the story he is bragging about his special garbage truck features and other parts he is rapping about his important job.  He has an attitude too, because he doesn’t care if he stinks.  He wants you to realize that without his important job you would be sitting in your own trash.  The book also has some excellent use of onomonopia,  or sound words, like creak, burp, and plop.  In fact, all of the text is fun to read, not set in rhyme but in an excellent rhythm that begs to be read aloud.  I encourage anyone who shares books with children (of any age) to read this one aloud (and of course, make the connection next time you are in a stinky situation).

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