The Story of Ferdinand

As I begin packing my suitcase for an 8 day road trip through Spain, I thought I’d revisit an old favorite whose setting is my destination: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.


I remember being introduced to this book (one of the bestselling children’s books of all time) when I was in college – in my Children’s Lit class.    I don’t remember the details of WHY I fell in love – but I know WHO stole my heart…Ferdinand.  His joy and contentment captivated me.   He made me smile.   As a result of a series of events (a bee sting) he is chosen for the full fights in Mardrid.  Why?  Because he is the “biggest, fastest, roughest bull” of all!

The day of the bullfight is incredible, with flying flags, bands playing, and lovely ladies with flowers in their hair. The parade into the bullring includes the Banderilleros, the Picadores, the Matador and then comes the bull.

Ferdinand is a dear story that will have appeal simply for its humor and for its happy ending.

There are those who considered The Story of Ferdinand to have a political agenda since it was published in September of 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. However it was actually written in October of 1935 and Leaf and his family always denied any political intentions. According to Munro Leaf, “it’s ‘a happy-ending story about being yourself.’ ”
(Source: School Library Journal)

Asking questions and extending learning while reading a children’s book is an art form.  The best teacher (mom/dad) slips in a question without disrupting the flow of the story while keeping the story momentum flowing.

Some questions to consider:

  1. How is Ferdinand different from all the other little bulls?
  2. Why do you think Ferdinand’s mother began to worry?
  3. Why did the men choose Ferdinand?
  4. In a bull fight, what do you think are the jobs of the Banderilleros, the Picadores, and the Matador?
  5. Do you think there is a life lesson in this story?  ExplainBut better than letting my canned questions drive you – let your child’s curiosity drive your conversation.  Now, back to packing…

CLICK HERE for a comprehensive Lesson Plan.

Don’t miss Mary Kline’s read aloud in FirefliesGLOW!   Coming soon.

Click here for learning & craft ideas to go along with this delightful book.  Pinterest

This book is worth a $2.oo investment…

Childhood Pets and Family Peccadillos

As we come to the end of our focus on best friends…our pets, Gil shares a Heritage 2 Legacy short story entitled:

Childhood Pets and Family Peccadillos

By Gil Moegerle

Here is an aspect of the family legacy shared by my three siblings and I that is somewhat checkered. We are not all pet lovers. Truth be told, some of us are probably pet disparagers.
My hand is in the air. Those of us who have brought this stain upon our family heritage are working on it…a little at a time…maybe.  (more)

For the “rest of the story”, listen to the podcast below.

We invite you to subscribe to Chasing Fireflies Podcasts on iTunes  PlayerFM

Meet A Cat Who is Helping Children Read!

 

Do you have a pet? I do! 5 years ago I adopted my fluffy, friendly cat named Mush Mush from a local pet store. Not only is he the best lap cat around, he is helping beginner readers learn to read all across America!

 

I am excited to share how my published, early sight word books called, “Mush Mush Readers,” came to fruition and how they can help your beginning reader!

 

DID YOU KNOW that in the beginning of Kindergarten, the teacher assesses each child’s reading ability? As a former Kinder teacher I assure you it’s true! After I assessed each child, I placed them into one of three ‘Reading Groups:’ BEGINNING/LOW, AVERAGE/ON, or ABOVE. Over time, I noticed that the children who were in my ‘Beginning/Low’ & ‘Average/On’ groups all had something in common= they lacked a knowledge of sight words*(What is a sight word? See explanation below). Yes, they knew letters and how to blend sounds together to make words, but when it came to reading sentences – they fell short because they could not read sight words!

When I went to look for books to match their developmental needs- I found nothing appropriate! The books were too advanced, contained too many reading concepts, and had too many words per page. These books left the children feeling frustrated and defeated. So, I decided to write 10 early sight word readers to fill in this beginning reader resource gap. It is VITAL to have developmentally appropriate books in the hands of  our most vulnerable readers; therefore Mush Mush Readers was born!

How can Mush Mush Readers help your beginning reader? Below I outline 6 reading areas my books focus on that are sure to help!

  • Reading Confidence- Each book contains 5 pages and a repetitive sentence structure. The sentences are made up of sight words  and picture words. The reader only learns one sight word per book so they are able to master it. Also, each word has a paw print under it to help guide the reader through the sentence. All of these components help ease reading anxiety and boost reading confidence!

  • Sight Word Fluency- Each reader has the sight word and ‘review’ sight words printed on the back for easy practice. Seeing it repetitively as they read and hearing how the word is used in context, both help the reader master the sight word with ease. 
  • Vocabulary- Each book has a theme, such as, animals, fruits, or shapes. I used themes that children are familiar with so they can make connections from the book to their real life! The picture-words within the sentences and child-friendly illustrations help build conversation and expand vocabulary.  
  • 1-1 Correspondence- This simply means one spoken word means one written word. I put Mush Mush’s paw print under each word so the reader knows only to say one word for each word they read (This is a hard concept for beginning readers! They want to add words on to the sentences they read). The paws help lessen anxiety because they help guide the reader through the sentences.  
  • Concepts of Print- The pages are thick and are great for learning how to turn book pages! The pictures of a pencil and paintbrush on the front cover serve as a great visual clue for discussing the role of the author & illustrator. Also, the few words per page help the reader distinguish between words and pictures.
  • Comprehension- At the end of each book, there are 2 ‘higher-order thinking’ questions to help the reader think about what they just read and connect more to the book.

Mush Mush would love to join your library and beginning reader’s reading journey! My fluffy, friendly kitty is more than just a pet… he is a reading advocate and partner. I invite you to visit my website & Instagram to learn more about us!  www.mushmushreaders.com   @mushmushreaders

Here is to helping all beginning readers feel confident and successful!

Joanna & Mush Mush

*What are sight words? Sight words are a group of 220 words that are taught to children between Pre-Kindergarten and 3rd grade. Sight words are difficult to sound out and decode, therefore, they must be memorized in order to achieve reading fluency. Click HERE to review the list of words! They make up 60-85% of words in early readers. It is near impossible to read sentences and children’s books with fluency and accuracy without mastering sight words.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Some pets are real and some are…

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real”

There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.

“Real” is a magical word to the Velveteen Rabbit — he doesn’t know quite what it means. But the Skin Horse, who is old and wise, knows, and he shares the secret: Being Real means being loved.

Margery Williams’s classic story of how a boy’s love transforms a velveteen rabbit into a real one has resonated in the hearts of children for decades.  Here is a feast for both eye and ear — the perfect book for any child who cherishes a stuffed animal.

Below is a literature guide that was created as teacher guides prior to attending a theatrical production of The Velveteen Rabbit.  It has a lot of great information and support images.

Velveteen Rabbit Curriculum Guide