Author Mo Willems has many wonderful books that children adore. His Elephant & Piggie series is very popular with emergent readers. The series can also be used while working on speech and language goals during sessions. The two best friends provide a wealth of social situations that can be used to explore emotions when talking with others.
Read, Share, and Laugh While Exploring Feelings
Bring a small collection of Elephant & Piggie books to your session. Introduce Gerald and Piggie as the main characters that are in the series. As they get to know the characters they will see that Gerald is careful while Piggie is not. Along with this, Gerald worries about a lot of things and his friend Piggie helps him with these items.
Select one of the books to begin. Ask questions about the book as you take a book walk through it. My Friend Is Sad is a nice option to see how these two best friends help each other. Are children able to identify how Gerald and Piggie feel on each page with the illustrations by Mo Willems? Take time to look at the body language that is drawn. What would you say to Gerald if you were Piggie? If Gerald had talking bubbles on this page, what do you think he would be saying?
Select other books and determine what social skills they may be working on to discuss. Mo Willems’s website has a nice resource book with pages that may be used. Page 22 of the Elephant & Piggie Party Kit has a wonderful page talking about emotions and what words describe how Gerald and Piggie look.
More Elephant & Piggie Fun
There are many wonderful craft projects that are available online that relate to the Elephant & Piggie Books. To encourage group participation, allow children to act out on of their favorite stories. Take turns and make elephant and pig masks for each of the actors to use. Stress using body language and expression when talking for others to understand how they are feeling at the time. Younger children may do well with Gerald and Piggie paper bag puppets that they could also take home for extended practice.
Erin Jackson has also shared a fun Comic Strip Printable that could be used during speech and language sessions or sent home to do and bring back. If you send this home, be sure to give a general background about Elephant and Piggie or perhaps allow kids to check a book out to bring home and share. When the comics come back in each child can take turns to share their story with others. This will reinforce talking about feelings, sharing, and build confidence with group presentations.
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