Summit Reads to a New Teacher

In this video clip, taken during the first week of school, Summit seems to use a familiar book to engage a new teacher. He recites the book, We’re Going on A Bear Hunt, to her in a way that invites interaction. He starts from the beginning and goes through each page, reading the story aloud. He seems to use this familiar book to share his interests with his new teacher.

Notice his excitement upon seeing the cave. He knows this picture marks a key feature of story structure – suspense. He says, “You can’t go in there.” We should not assume, “Oh, he has heard the story many, many times.” More to the point, why do children remember certain moments in the sequence of a story so well? Even at three they have learned what makes a story more than a report. “There’s bears in there,” Summit explains to his teacher.

Also notice that on the next page he pauses, and then says, “They’re in there now.” Was this picture a surprise since he said, “You can’t go in there?” Yet, he adapts his recitation of the story to the facts of the picture. So we credit Summit with his ability to know the evocative moments of a story, in addition to his ability to read a picture as people inside a place that was shown on the outside in the previous picture. Young children do have this form of literacy, where they can infer the transitions from outside to inside a space even though the inside does not look like the outside.

To hear Michael Rosen perform this book click here, or go to:

Things to ponder:
• How does Summit use this familiar book to begin building a relationship with this new teacher, and why do you think he reads it to her?
• Why do you think the teacher chose to video tape this experience, and do you think it took away from the experience or enhanced it?
• How could revisiting this video with Summit strengthen the new relationship?
• What other questions could the teacher ask Summit to gain more insight into his understanding or theories about caves, and why you can’t go in?
• Once you listen to Michael Rosen, what else might you credit Summit for knowing about temporal order and location?

Length of video: 2 minute 4 seconds
Keywords: threes, child-teacher, books, literacy, reading