"Is Your Mama a Llama?" by Deborah Guarino is about a young llama who encounters a variety of wildlife and asks each of them the titular question. Each time he encounters an animal, such as a bat, a swan, a cow or a seal, he not only learns that their mamas are not llamas, but also learns what makes their mamas special. Preschool activities with the book can emphasize reading comprehension, as well as teach about several types of animals.
Read Aloud Together
Inviting preschoolers to participate while reading the book can enhance their comprehension. Start by asking children to "read" the book with you by asking together, "Is your mama a llama?" each time a new animal is presented on the page. After reading the book through once, read it again and prompt children to fill in the rhyming words. For example, read the lines, "' Oh,' I said, 'I understand now. I think that your mama must be a --" and then prompt children to say "cow" by starting the word with "cuh-cuh." They should be able to guess after learning the animal moos. Ask open-ended questions during and after the reading, such as "Where do bats live?" and "Why do birds have feathers?"
Play a Matching Game
The book's narrative is all about matching mamas with their babies. You can reinforce the animal names that children learn as well as add some new ones by creating a simple matching game. Print out pictures of animals and their babies from the book, such as a cow and calf, swan and duckling, and seal and cub. If you want to extend the lesson, you can add a few more pairs that aren't in the book, like a dog and puppy or owl and owlet. Turn the cards face down and let children play a classic match game working in pairs. When the game is finished, talk about the names of the animals and babies as a class.
Guess the Animals
As Lloyd searches for a llama, he is given clues about the types of animals each baby he encounters calls mama. For example, the calf tells him about his mama: "She grazes on grass, and she likes to say, 'Moo!'" Create a guessing game providing the same kinds of clues to present more information about the animals in the book and even a few that aren't included. Print out pictures of the animals and allow each child to come to the front of the room and pick an animal. That child can give clues to the rest of the group about the animal, such as that it lives in the water, sleeps in a nest and eats fish. Throughout the game, talk about the differences between the animals.
Create Mama Collages
The book explores the concept of self-awareness since Lloyd is learning about how he is different from other animals and it takes him awhile to recognize a member of his own herd. Invite children to create collages of their own mamas to reinforce self-awareness of their own families. Provide blank paper, pictures cut out from magazines, paints, crayons and markers. Ask children to draw things like their mother's red hair or her pretty smile. Ask questions to get them to think about how to define their mamas, such as what kind of hobbies she enjoys, what games they play together or what kinds of foods she likes.
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