Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Paul Erlbaum Reads: "The Sneetches"

Book: The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss (Read most recently at Union Elementary School, Montpelier)

Age groups: Paul has read The Sneetches to kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade classes. 

Story summary: The Sneetches is about two types of creatures, separated by having or not having stars on their bellies. The Star-Belly Sneetches think they are the best, and look down upon Sneetches without stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches remain depressed and oppressed, prohibited from associating with their star-bellied counterparts, until Sylvester McMonkey McBean comes along with his Star-on and Star-off machines. He begins to give stars to the Plain-Belly Sneetches, and soon they are happy, for they look like their elite counterparts. The original Star-Belly Sneetches are angry at no longer being different and special, so they get Sylvester to remove all their stars. This continues back and forth until no one can remember which Sneetches were originally what, and an epiphany strikes them all at once: that it really doesn’t matter whether a Sneetch has a star belly or not - they are all really the same, and can coexist and be friends with one another. 

Activity: During the reading, I ask kids to tell me what they see in the body language of the characters shown in the illustrations.  I then ask them to adopt the body language of the characters (e.g., snoots in the air, downcast forlorn, etc.)  After reading the story, I engage kids in discussion, asking them to tell me 1) of a time they were left out, 2) a time they were included or a time they included someone.  I encourage the classroom teachers to engage the kids in a follow-up activity after the reading, such as drawing pictures of or writing about a time they were included or included someone.


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