“Leo the Late Bloomer” by Robert Kraus and illustrated by Jose Aurego, is a book about a little lion named Leo. Leo’s father is concerned that Leo isn’t doing what the other animals his age are doing. The other animals are reading, writing and speaking, but Leo isn’t. Leo’s mother reassures his father that Leo will do all these things -- and more -- when the time is right. This book teaches young elementary students how each person is unique and how children will do things when the time is right for that child.
Abilities Now and When Younger
Read “Leo the late Bloomer” to your class. After the story, have the students talk about all the things they know how to do. Take time to compare the things they do now to things they could do when they were babies. Good examples include walking, talking, running, dressing themselves and feeding themselves. Discuss how babies don’t start out doing any of those things but that they learn over time. Have the students draw a line down the middle of a large piece of paper. On one half of the page, tell the students to draw a picture of themselves when they were babies. On the other side, have them draw a picture of doing something they know how to do now. Display the pictures in the classroom.
Discuss Special Talents
After reading “Leo the Late Bloomer” to your class, talk about the unique talents of the students in your classroom. Give the students a chance to talk about which instruments they play, what sports they participate in and any special hobbies they enjoy. Then, have the students write stories about special talents their family members have. Have the students focus on answering these questions in their story: What does your family do that makes you proud? When you learn something new, what would you like your family to say to you? How do you like to celebrate new accomplishments? How can you show a younger sibling you’re proud of your sibling? Give students the opportunity to share their stories with the class.
Seeds Grow In Their Own Time
Plant a classroom garden to illustrate how different plants grow at different rates, just like the characters in “Leo the Late Bloomer.” Choose fast and slow growing seeds. Use a large box filled with dirt, or plant the seeds in individual seed cups and then place it in a sunny spot in the classroom. Each day, have two students observe the seedlings and record their growth in a class journal. Pay particular attention to when the first seedlings emerged, how tall each plant is, how much they grow each day and when leaves begin to form. After a few weeks, have a class party to celebrate “patience” as the students watch the seedlings grow.
After you read the story, “Leo the Late Bloomer,” make a class book that has a page for each student. On the top of the page print, “When I was little I couldn’t…Now I can.” Have the students fill in the blank with something they’ve learned to do since they were little and then have them draw a picture to illustrate. If the students don’t want to draw on their page, they can cut out pictures from magazines to illustrate what they’ve learned. Bind the pages together and share the book with families during open house time or at parent-teacher conferences.
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