Most of you know my love for Piggie and Gerald books – or just Mo Willems in general. Sadly, Mo Willems ended his Piggie and Gerald series a few years ago, but the characters will show up in other children’s books to introduce and end the book.
Although these books are not written by Mo Willems, they have the same silly nature that Willem’s books typically have. Which of course, also makes them excellent for reading to encourage AAC use.
Joey and I are in the midst of reading The Cookie Fiasco, a nerve-wracking tale of four friends who are asked to share three cookies. (As a preschooler, can you imagine anything more horrible?) The book takes us through the character’s extreme emotions and attempts at problem solving until the cookies accidentally break into 12 pieces, leaving each character with 3 pieces.
While for older students, this book is perfect for teaching concepts of fractions, equality, and what makes a “fair share,” the book also gives us lots of opportunities to practice core words.
Joey is able to practice his social words with me as we react in horror to the problem of the cookies – “Oh no!” “Uh oh!” “Bad!” we can say as we chat about the problem. We can label the character’s emotions, and talk about how the “Hippopotamus wants a cookie.” We can label what’s happening to the cookies – they are broken. Although Joey’s not quite ready for the fair share fraction lesson the book introduces, it does give us a good opportunity to explore the concept of same and equal – and matching amounts of objects. Joey and I are also working on his ability to count small groups of objects independently, and this book lets us do that as we move through the story.
And even better – we can practice using the words on the determiner page – a lot, some, all, none. These words can feel vague in isolation, yet they hold a significant amount of power when someone is trying to communicate their wants and needs. This book lets us practice using them in a silly way, as we label that each character wants all the cookies, and wants the other characters to get none, but in the end they get some.
Joey has enjoyed talking about the characters and being equally shocked and appalled at their behavior, and I’ve enjoyed modeling vocabulary and encouraging him to use his words.