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Good Night, King

by Maureen Slamer

Good Night, King

“Pick it.  Wanna pick it!”  Brady scampered to the bookshelf.  Books thudded to the floor.  “Pick it.  I pick it.”

Papa crouched next to Brady.  “Okay Brady, you can pick it.  Which book?”

Two-year-old Brady grabbed his favorite book, Good Night, Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann.  “Monkey book.”

“Ooooh,” Papa responded.  “Let’s go Brady, nap time.”  Brady clutched his book close.  Papa gathered Brady in and began to read.

Good Night, Gorilla.”

Brady pointed. “Monkey.”

“Yup, Brady, gorilla is a monkey.”  Papa continued to read.  “Good Night, Lion.” 

“King, King!”  Brady exclaimed.

“King?  Ooooh, King…it is a lion like in The Lion King.”  Papa continued to read.

“King,” Brady pointed.

“Yup, King and the animals are following Zookeeper Joe.”  Papa continued.

“Night-night, King.  Night-night.”  Brady said.

“Yup, the animals are going night-night.” 

“Oh no.”  Brady pointed.  Good nights filled the darkened page. 

Papa continued to read, “Oh no, is right.”  Papa said.  “Mrs. Zookeeper is awake!”  Papa read on.

Good night, Gorilla.”  Papa whispered.

“Good night, ‘illa.”  Brady whispered.  “Good night, King.” 

Papa closed the book.

Brady held his finger up.  “One more time?  One more time?”

Papa glanced at the clock and nodded, “Okay, one more time, Brady.  One more time.”

Conversations, Connections, and Confidence

Reading to a little one can spark an unexpected conversation.  At times, we won’t know what connections a child may make to a book or story.  Good Night, Gorilla provided an opportunity for Papa and two-year-old Brady to enjoy a book together.  Brady made a connection with his favorite movie, The Lion King, and the lion in the story. His grandfather was able to confirm and reassure Brady that yes, they were both lions (“King?  Ooooh, King…it is a lion like in Lion King”).   Brady was actively engaged in the story.  He added to the story based on what he knew from the movie, and what he knew about the story, and related that to his reactions (“Oh no.”  Brady pointed.  Good nights filled the darkened page).  What an interesting conversation these two had, so much so that Brady asked to read it again (Brady held his finger up.  “One more time?  One more time?”).

This type of conversation helps a youngster figure out how a book or story works. Can you remember a time you talked about a book?

Listening to how others think about a book will generate an interesting conversation.  How can we set that stage for our littlest readers? 

  • Engaging in a conversation when reading a familiar book.
  • Letting the child take the lead in responding to a story and acknowledging the child’s train of thought, both of you talking it through.  Try it – My Bug Box, Gecko’s Story, A Car Followed Us, Dragonflies, Sunflowers
  • As you read a familiar story or book, drop your voice and let your child fill in the words building confidence and personal connections.  Try it – There Was a Mouse, So Sleepy, I Meowed
  • Choosing a book with charm, magic, impact, and appeal to share with your child.  Try it – The Storm,
    Moonbeam Cow, Walking Home Alone, Nothing in the Mailbox

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