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Yoko Learns to Read



Last updated Friday, September 7, 2012

Author: Rosemary Wells
Date of Publication: 2012
ISBN: 1423138236
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2012

Synopsis: Yoko is eager to learn how to read, and Mama wants to help her. But they only have three picture books at home, all in Japanese. Yoko is worried that she'll be left behind when she sees the other kids in school earning leaf after leaf on the classroom book tree. Yoko and her Mama begin taking books out of the library. Mama can't read the English words, but by looking at the pictures, sounding out letters, and recognizing words from the wall at school, Yoko gradually teaches herself. In a poignant ending, Mama asks Yoko to show her how to read.

Discussion topics:
•  How many books do you have at home?
•  Do your parents speak a language other than English?
•  Have you taught your parents anything?
•  Are you excited to learn how to read?
•  Where do you think Japan is?
•  Do you have a library card? Do you know what a library is?
•  Do you have a favorite book you know by heart?

Vocabulary:
•  Sushi- a common food in Japan that is made from seaweed, rice, and raw fish.
•  Kimono- a silk robe warn by some Japanese women.
•  Japanese- the language of Japan. Japanese writing is read from right to left.

Craft ideas:
•  Make a book leaf. Decorate it with your favorite character from a book, favorite book, favorite place to read, etc. (volunteers should cut leaves prior to the clubs)
•  Make your own word wall with the words in the book.
•  Make up stories inspired by the different books and act them out.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!