In April, “Pop-Pop” and I decided to give Patrick (our grandson) a shopping spree for his seventh birthday. We set an amount and told Patrick we would take him to Toys R Us and Barnes and Noble. He could spend half the money at the toy store and other half at the book store. Needless to say, it was an enjoyable adventure, offering not just a gift to Patrick, but the gift of time with Patrick to us.
- First stop was Barnes and Noble. Patrick had begun reading The Magic Treehouse series of books, so we checked them out first. As we traipsed around the other section, Patrick spied some joke books. We sat on the floor and read through a few together. Patrick chose one of the colorful creations published by National Geographic. Little did I realize what a popular and powerful gift that would become.Next time I saw Patrick, the first thing he did was say, “Want to hear a joke, Mimi?” He proceeded to tell me several that he had memorized from the book, then ran upstairs to retrieve the book so he could share more of them with me. As he read, and as I explained some of the ones that were tricky to understand, I realized how many literacy skills (and life skills) he was practicing by reading and reciting these jokes. Here are a few of the powerful skills kids can learn by reading joke books:
- Fluency: Pacing, Phrasing, expression and attention to punctuation all come into play when kids read these humorous tidbits aloud. Repetitive reading has long been touted as valuable way to build fluency and you will see, kids love to read their favorite jokes to anyone who will listen.
- Vocabulary Development: Think about it…many jokes and riddle (especially those for youngsters) depend on the use of homophones, multi-meaning words, puns and idioms. Joke books offer a natural opportunity to teach the meaning of different words and explain expressions and word play that create the humor. Lots to learn in a fun way!
- Confidence: You won’t have to beg your child to read a joke book and every time he reads aloud to friends or family, he is building confidence in his oral reading skills.
- Memorization: Today, students are not asked to memorize as much as in the past. Kids will easily commit these jokes to memory, surprising themselves and others with a stash that will come in handy in many social situations.
Who knew a little joke book could also be a powerhouse of learning? Grab a few jokes books for your kids and you’ll add humor and reading practice to your summer days. A winning combination!
Here are a few examples from the series Patrick (and now his younger sister, Shannon) love!