Can we please talk about this book? It’s called “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. And, it’s one of my favorite children’s books. I was going to wait and write about it for a later post, but I just read it to my son, and I can’t stop thinking about how wonderful it is.
I won’t spoil the ending, but I will give you a little taste of the story. Chester, the raccoon, is afraid to go to school (already adorable, right?) His mom tells him a special secret called the “kissing hand” to help him feel better. Momma raccoon kisses Chester in the palm of his hand, so whenever he is scared at school, he can press his hand to his cheek and think “mommy loves me.”
I taught my son how to use his “kissing hand” months ago and he uses it sometimes (with reminders) when he is apprehensive about something. It’s so stinking cute. I about cry every time. The ending of this book is where the tears really flow, so beware! Maybe you can predict what might happen at the end? Bonus tip, making predictions is an excellent language skill.
Below are some of the ways “The Kissing Hand” helps with speech-language skills. You can apply these skills to other books, as well:
Reading books is a great way to practice answering questions. Think –wh questions (who, what, when, where, and why.) Go ahead and throw in “how” too if you are feeling crazy. As you are reading, stop and ask your kid questions every few pages. For example, “Who has a kissing hand?” “Where is Chester going to go?” “Why did Chester feel scared?”
You can use one of your favorite children’s books like “The Kissing Hand” to talk about emotions, character’s perspective and motives. These topics are great for helping kids develop their social communication skills. Such as, “How does that make you feel?” “How do you think he feels?”
I use books all the time to teach strategies to clients. They are catchy and easy for kids to recall during tricky moments. “The Kissing Hand” is about how to face a problem when you are scared. So, the strategy in the book can be used to help your child face fears. Or better yet, you and your kid can come up with a plan together to combat new or scary situations.
Books are great for working on summarizing skills. At the end of the book, have your kid recall in their own words the main points of the story. Help them by introducing transition words like “first, then, next, and last.” A summary is just that. It should be relatively short with the main details of what happened.
Pretty much all stories have obstacles and problems to overcome. Have your kid think of potential solutions to the characters’ issues in the story. Then they will have additional practice thinking through difficult situations for when they face problems of their own.
Did you come across a new word your kid doesn’t know? Stop and take the time to explain what that word means. Use that word in another sentence. Better yet, have your child use the word in a sentence that makes sense.
I know this may seem like a lot when you have a wiggly two-year-old, (believe me, I know) so don’t worry about covering ALL the skills at once. Pick one or two to work on and then work on the others the next hundred times you read the book. Ha! It’s an excellent way to look at a favorite, well-read book in a new way.
What are some of your favorite children’s books? I LOVE hearing about new books.
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