Title: Watch Me Throw the Ball!
Author: Mo Willems
Description: A clever multi-level story about the pure joy of throwing a ball regardless of skill and how to support a friend, keeping unnecessary competition out of the picture.
Approximate Age/Language Level: Preschool, early elementary
• futility of bragging
• learning new motor skills
• turn taking
• reading nonverbal communication
• emotional regulation
• tone of voice
Why I like this book: Elephant and Piggy are true friends who enjoy and sometimes annoy one another. They show off at times and also learn from each other. I love the many aspects of friendship that are represented in this book. It also depicts the importance of having fun in a motor-based activity…even when you are not too skilled.
Ideas for use:
• read before teaching a new motor skill and discuss the value of having fun as you learn
• read to a group of children before or after recess, de-emphasizing competition
• have kids act out the story and talk about which attitude feels better
• have kids re-tell the story by looking only at body language and facial expressions in the illustrations
• discuss what makes a friend and how friendship was evident in this story
• talk about false pride and bragging and how it makes others feel. Use thinking bubbles to help kids think about what others are thinking
• See if kids can identify the tone of voice the characters are using, and how that makes the other feel as well. Have kids imitate and “try again” with a more appropriate tone of voice. How does that change the situation? Maybe even practice using different words? (i.e. Good try, I can help you vs. You did not throw that very far!)
Submitted by: Jill Perry MHA, MS OTR/L and Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP
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