Using Splat the Cat to Promote Dialogic Reading Strategies

Dialogic reading is an interactive way to talk with young children. It is a proven approach to increase vocabulary and language development for children learning to speak more than one language. Teaching teams can learn the strategy through this example of its use with "Splat the Cat" by Rob Scotton.

Reading Activity Part 1
Reading Activity Part I Example Worksheet
Reading Activity Part 2
Reading Activity Part 2 Example Worksheet

Dialogic reading is a way of talking and interacting with children about a book. This activity can be very effective in classrooms with children who speak more than one language. Research tells us that children make great gains in language and literacy development if we take the time to repeat stories and engage in conversations about them.

Each month, we will present a storybook and a two-part reading activity in English and in Spanish. Check back each month for the next part of the series!

Reading Activity Part 1

This month’s selection: Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Step by Step Dialogic Reading:

  1. Show the book and ask children what they think the story will be about.
  2. Point out key words or ideas to help get the children ready for the story.
  3. Read the book through from beginning to end just as the author wrote it—using as much expression and gesture as you can.
  4. The next time you read the book, and each time after that, let the children tell more and more of the story. Notice new words, interesting ideas and silly actions – and talk about them!
  5. If the book is available in two or more languages, read them at separate times of the day or over a two-day period. It is just as helpful for Spanish-speaking children to hear English stories as it is for English-speaking children to hear stories in other languages.
  6. Print out this form. When you fill it in and tape it to the back of the book, you will have a great new literacy source ready for you or anyone else who reads this book to your children!

Reading Activity Part I Example Worksheet

Title: Splat the Cat
Author: Rob Scotton
Illustrator: Rob Scotton

What’s the story about? Splat the Cat is getting ready for his first day of school and he finds plenty of things to worry about. See how Splat experiences a variety of challenges and learns that he can handle them.

Key words:

  • Worried (bothered, upset, anxious) preocupado
  • Friend (buddy, pal, someone that is nice to you) amigo
  • Cunning (tricky, smart) pi’caro
  • Amazing (great, wonderful, cool) asombroso
  • Clever (smart, with-it, on the ball, clued-in, good thinker) listo, intelegente
  • Excitement (liveliness, sparkly feeling, looking forward to something) emocionado, entusiasmado

Main ideas: Have you ever been worried? Who remembers what being worried feels like? Where do you feel worried feelings?

Things that repeat: That’s what cats do. What are some things that cats do (e.g., climb trees, drink milk, chase mice)?

Reading Activity Part 2

This month’s selection: Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Step-by-Step Dialogic Reading:

  1. Now that you’ve read the book several times and gone over some of the key points and words, use large group, small group or individual readings of the same book to ask thinking questions.
  2. One method is called CROWD. That stands for:
    a. Completion questions (fill in the blank)
    b. Recall questions (ask children if they remember something about the story)
    c. Open-ended questions (ask questions that bring more than one word answers)
    d. “Wh” questions (such as what, when, how and why)
    e. Distancing questions (these make children think about how this story relates to other books or activities in their lives)
  3. This Part 2 form can also be printed and taped into the book to make a literacy source ready for you or anyone else who reads this book to your children!

Reading Activity Part 2 Example Worksheet

Title: Splat the Cat
Author: Rob Scotton
Illustrator: Rob Scotton

Completion Questions: Splat is a _________? Splat is _________ (amazing)? Cats chase_________ ?

Recall Questions: We learned the word for friend in Spanish. What is it? Did Splat have any friends in the beginning of the story? How about in the end? Remember what Mrs. Wimpydimple said that cats do? What happens next in the story? What did Splat’s mom do at the end of the day that made him feel better?

Open-Ended Questions: Do you think that Splat is still worried? Why not? Remember what Mrs. Wimpydimple said that cats do? Mrs. Wimpydimple said that cats are amazing and clever, what else is amazing? Clever? What do you think Splat might be whispering to Seymour the mouse?

Why Questions: Why might Splat the cat feel worried? Did he make friends?

Distancing Questions: When have you been worried? Who else feels worried? How can you help someone feel better if they are worried?

And of course Silly Questions: Have you ever seen a cat ride a bike? How about a dot??

Developed by Gina Cook as part of the OHS Innovation and Improvement Award, PEECSE project, Utah State University and Ogden Weber Community Action Partnership Head Start.

Topic:Culture and Language

Keywords:Dual language learnersTeaching practicesLiteracyPreschool children

Resource Type: Article

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