How to get the most from the books

Dear Grown-up,

Hello and welcome to the Miniphant & Me series! These books are packed with resources to help your child, and there are lots of different ways to use them. So before you and your child find a quiet, cosy spot to read the stories, feel free to have a read through the tips below so that you can get the most out of them.
 
Miniphant’s books all start with a letter. It is written to the children, but it helps the grown-up/reader to know more about what the child is meant to be getting out of the books. When explaining the thoughts in our head, get the child to put their hands on their head, hands on their heart and hands on their toes to help them remember that the way they think affects the way they feel and what they choose to do. To emphasise right thinking, get the child to make their hands like a thumbs up and tap their head 2 or 3 times to show right thinking. This is kinaesthetic learning, which for younger children is not only fun but a great way of memory building!
 
Give the child time to look at all the detail in the pictures, finding all the hidden things and anything else that they want to point at or share. Enjoy their reaction to the ‘oopsie poopsie pardons’ – talking about flatulence is a sure way to get a giggle from children!
 
At the end of the story, ask the child/children: What part did you enjoy most? Which character do you like best and why? What thoughts, feelings and actions can you pick out? What one thing have you learnt? (Or what did Miniphant learn?)
 
Below are a list of ways to explore different parts of the book. If reading time (or attention span!) is limited, you could choose a different one of the ideas below to talk about each time you read the book, rather than trying to do it all in one sitting. (Do try to start each reading with the heads/hearts/hands reminders in the ‘Dear Mini Friend’ letter though, and mention which hidden objects the children need to find, as these will both keep their attention better and help the messages to sink in.)
 
  • Look at the front cover, point out the title and the author explain what that means so that next time you can ask them questions like: Can you point to the title? Who is the author? What does ‘author’ mean? Where’s Miniphant? What clues are there as to what the story might be about?
  • Read the dedication page: explain to the child that it doesn’t just take one person to create a book – it can take many people all working together. Also, sometimes authors like to have people in mind when writing their stories, so they leave a little note to them on the inside cover as a way of making that person or people feel special.
  • The Bedtime Thoughts, Daytime Fun and Animal Friend Fact Files don’t have to be done immediately after reading the book: you can use them at any time that works for you.
  • It’s a good idea to tell the child at the beginning if you are only reading the story or if they can choose one of the bedtime thoughts. This sets up the right expectations at the beginning, which will help the child to know what to expect, and not be disappointed when you have to finish the session. If it is said in a positive way then they will look forward to doing another activity another time. If you do one activity per day/night then you will have something to think about or do for a whole week! There are more ideas and activities on this webpage too!
  • If you are doing a Bedtime Thought or Daytime Fun activity, extend the conversation or interaction to making the thought more personal and meaningful, or the activity more relevant to the child’s circumstances, learning and level of understanding. The activities listed are just opportunities to help build bigger conversations that support the children in their own day-to-day lives. It is so beneficial when they have the opportunity to process how they think about things and what they feel, as well as understanding how they can challenge any unhelpful thought patterns and make their actions as life-giving as possible – for themselves and for the people around them.
  • The books could be used as part of a topic in school or nursery or amongst family situations and the circumstances going on around them. Something as simple as a tiny elephant and the things that he and his friends experience can actually be like a lifeline to a child, helping them to understand their thoughts and feelings, then identify and choose helpful thoughts, words and actions that allow them to thrive!
 
One last thing… If your child has made a creative activity or done something that you think Miniphant would love to hear about, please send in pictures or letters that can be shared on social media or amongst Miniphant and his friends – they will do their very best to respond to anything a child sends in.
 
If you have liked what you’ve read in the books or think they would be good for someone else you know, please spread the word and help get Miniphant & Me books out there. Order through: www.cwr.org.uk/store or share us on Facebook at Miniphant and Me


 
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