Un-forgettable Friday: Night Lights by Susan Gal
February 19, 2010 in Gal Susan, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Shared Writing, Un-Forgettable Friday, Writing Skills Tags: Night Lights, picture books for preschool kids, shared writing lessons, Susan gal
When I’m at the library choosing books for this blog, I have to admit I am a sucker for illustrations like Susan Gal’s. First, there’s a cute dog on the cover (and you all know I love dogs), and I like the girl’s cute nose and big eyes. It’s just cute. . .but this book is more than that, so here we go!
*Picture book for infants to Kindergarteners, contemporary fiction
*Little girl and her dog as main characters
*Rating: With less than 25 words and wonderful illustrations, Susan Gal tells a cute story of a girl’s night and all the lights that brighten it up in Night Lights.
Short, short summary: A little girl rides her bike with her mom and lights up the night with “headlights.” Their cute and very smart dog greets them at the door lit with a “porch light,” and they are ready for a birthday cook out with “firelight,” “firefly light,” and “candlelight.” When a storm makes them rush inside, the girl and her dog get ready for bed, even catching some suspicious creatures enjoying the leftover marshmallows outside in the “spotlight.” All is well when they go to bed, and the room is lit with a “night-light” and “moonlight.”
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Give children enough time to study the illustrations because these pictures are what actually tell the story in Night Lights. Ask them to notice what the pictures are telling them. Ask them, “What is this story about?” “How do you know–through the words or pictures or both?” You can also ask them a simple question like, “What do you notice in these illustrations?” Young children will love this book because it has few words per page and wonderful illustrations, and those things hold their attention–in a group setting or before bedtime. If they listen to Night Lights by Susan Gal enough, they will be able to “read” it with you.
2. The publisher on the jacket copy suggests this book can be used with children who have a fear of nighttime or the dark to show them how many lights actually exist at night. This is a good idea (unless your child or your students are afraid of the “lightning!” page). You can ask children to tell you what lights they notice at night. They can also draw a nighttime scene with lights in it from the book such as a moon, lamp, fireflies, and so on.
3. As a shared writing activity, students could each suggest a type of light in their house or outside (found in the day or night), and you could write sentences on a chart like: Martha found a lamp. Bob found sunlight. Joshua found a flashlight. Then cut these sentences apart, and give them to the appropriate student. (At home, you can do this activity with your child, too, but you would allow them to choose which sentence they want to copy and illustrate.) Students copy the sentence the best they can at the bottom of their paper (or you can glue it on for them), and then they illustrate the picture.
If you are a preschool teacher or have a toddler or preschooler at home, Night Lights is one of those perfect books, in my opinion!