Summer Reading Camp: Day 7: The Gruffalo!

Summer Reading Camp: Day 7: The Gruffalo!


We were on a Julia Donaldson-esque ‘high’. First we were hooked on to the Paper Dolls and now the Gruffalo! I am a big (and I mean BIG) fan of the book! For years I passed by it in book stores but never really picked it up, but when I finally did (thanks to the daughter’s school library), there was no looking back. The book has sold over 13 million (yes, 13 MILLION) copies since its initial release in 1999 and has been adapted into West End and Broadway plays. (Something I would DEFINITELY wanna go watch if I had a chance).

As I said, I was introduced to Donaldson pretty late in the day. The book is targeted towards 3-7 year olds and I am so glad I finally discovered it before my daughter crossed that age. (Phew!)

The book (for the few ignorant ones like me) is fun, imaginative, has cutesy illustrations and is written in lively verse- what’s not to love? Needless to say, instant hit with the girls.

So I read it out to them and then this is what we did: I got a print out of a Gruffalo coloring page and stuck it to the wall. Since the book is rich in descriptions of the Gruffalo’s physical features, I printed out small tabs with different body parts on some and their corresponding adjectives on others. (E.g. The Gruffalo has ‘knobbly/knees’ and ‘turned out/toes’.)


Each kid had to rummage through the pile of paper tabs and first find a body part (in this case- knees) and then rack their memories to find out what goes with it (in this case- knobbly). She then had to fish out the complete phrase and stick the tabs on the Gruffalo on the wall. So we had ‘Orange Eyes’, ‘Terrible Tusks’, ‘Poisonous Wart’ and so on.


Next I asked them to fish out phrases that go with the other animals in the book. For instance, the kid had to look for ‘owl’ and ‘ice-cream’ from the mixed up pile of tabs and stick the complete phrase ‘owl ice cream’ next to the picture of the owl! (And so we had ‘Scrambled/snake, Roasted/fox’, etc.)


Lastly, as an art extension activity, I gave them a step by step tutorial on how to draw a fox, a snake and an owl.


All in all, a fun day! Alhamdulilah!


Summer Reading Camp Day 1

This is a more detailed post on the Reading Camp. For more details on its origin, format and motives, please look here.

So this is what Day One looked like. I read a story called Tiddalik the frog. It’s funny and engaging with lots of unusual animal characters in it. This is actually my favorite part, where I get to don several avatars and get all theatrical. Yeah, I know. I love drama.

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I then followed it up with a vocabulary activity. The story was rich with different kinds of verbs, adjectives and nouns. Grammar categorizations are still too advanced for this age group, so I just gave each kid a grid of words from the story and asked them to sort and highlight different ‘types’of words: Animal words (kookoobura, platypus – not so easy to read for a six year old, but not impossible), moving words (twirled, wiggled), feeling words (hungry, grumpy) and object words (things you see around you, e.g. a hill). All the words in the grid were sourced from the story itself, so there was a level of familiarity.





Next we did silent, independent reading for about 15 minutes. My thoughts about this particular ‘activity slot’ are here. My good friend and neighbor Janina was a great help. Although we were a small group, kids this age can be quite-(erm, what’s the polite word for it?)-DEMANDING! 😛



I then did an activity adapted from here on I  asked the kids to write mini books about themselves and their 5 senses.  I added another element to the activity: we revised spellings of body parts (eyes, ears, skin, tongue, nose) and the senses (I hear/listen, I smell, I feel, I see/watch/look, I taste). The kids were then given blueprint of sentences to make on their own. For example: I like touching_________, I like to listen to_________, etc.)

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And that was about it! One hour whizzed by. The girls entered in how many pages they had each read against their names on the progress chart, exchanged books to take home to read and left. Hopefully a happier lot.