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think most people have heard of the book 'The Hungry Caterpillar', it is a children's classic after all! Because I think most people will have heard of the book, and because it has already been reviewed 57 times on here, I'm going to review it in a slightly different way to how I would normally. Instead of just reviewing it as a parent, I will look at the book's advantages as an educational resource for teachers.
*Overview of the book*
Briefly, the story is about a caterpillar. It starts with an egg on a leaf and follows the caterpillar from birth to transformation into a beautiful butterfly. The main body of the story is about what the caterpillar eats each day. It follows a repetitive format - 'On Monday he ate ....... but he was still hungry.'
I would say this book is ideal to use with reception and KS1 children as well as older children with special needs. I have mainly used this story with very low ability Y3 children (7-8 year olds) but they were working at 4-5 year old level.
The first few days of looking at this story we focused on speaking and listening skills. I read the story, asking questions after I read each page e.g. 'What is on the leaf?' or 'What did the caterpillar eat on Monday?'. Once I had finished the story I asked the group to tell me anything they remembered. I made key vocabulary cards with word and pictures from the story. The children then used these cards to help them retell (speaking only, not writing) as much of the story as they could.
This is an ideal story for children to sequence. I scanned the pages from the book then shrank them so they all fit onto an A3 page. I made sure they were in the wrong order! The children then had to cut out each mini page (a challenge in itself) and stick them in the correct order. This obviously practices their sequencing skills but also their reading comprehension as they need to understand what happens on each page in order to put them in order.
The final task the group did using this book was to write their own version of the story. I provided a writing frame to help them. They chose a new animal and what it would eat each day. They had to remember the days of the week in order and think of new food items for each day. By the end of the week each child had written their own little story which is something they wouldn't have been able to do without the ideas The Hungry Caterpillar gave them.
Maths - this story reinforces knowledge of the days of the week and counting to 5. It would be especially effective when taught at the same time as learning days of the week in maths lessons.
Science - the story explains, in simple term, the life cycle of the caterpillar. It uses vocabulary such as cocoon.
The book is available from most bookshops and online stores for around £3. In addition to the book there is a variety of 'Hungry Caterpillar' merchandise now available: handpuppets, board games, flash cards, soft toys, tableware and puzzles.