Nature is a great source of inspiration for children, especially in the spring when you can often witness miracles before your eyes. An example of this that many classrooms participate in is raising caterpillars into butterflies. Children are able to watch as the little fuzzy critters create a cocoon and go through a metamorphosis to become beautiful butterflies. If teachers are not participating in this, you may want to investigate doing this within your own speech room. The following activities would be a fun way to supplement this reading.
Reading from Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is the perfect book to actively engage children. Begin by asking children what they already know about caterpillars and butterflies. When finished, begin reading the book together. Take time to look at the artwork and notice
Story Retelling Time
Once children are familiar with the story, it is their turn to shine and build language confidence. Allow them to retell The Very Hungry Caterpillar. One way you can do this is to gather props for the story. You will need a caterpillar, leaf, sun, one apple, two pears, three plums, four strawberries, five oranges, a variety of other foods, cocoon, and butterfly. If you are artistic, you can also draw these items and laminate them onto crafting sticks for a mini-puppet show retelling.
Another option for older children would be to create their own version of the story. They can draw their own little caterpillar and share wheat he or she will eat along their journey. If they do this, a nice connection for sharing at home would be to include translation to promote the multilingual families. Do not forget this book is also available in many other languages, and some homes may already own them to share.
Additional Creative Ideas
Since this book is so popular, there are a lot of ideas available online. Here are a few that may work well to support speech and language goals with your students:
- Story Sequencing from Storytime and More
- Paper Plate Puppet Retelling from Mrs. Plant’s Press
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar ideas and printable items from Speech Room News
- Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Printable from Reading Confetti
Remember that books are a great way to launch into a new lesson and excite children about learning and practicing, especially with skills that may be more difficult for them. Be sure to send home follow through ideas so families can work with their children.