Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little by Little

Little by Little by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow was the perfect book to open a parent Literacy Night I had last week.  Otto the otter starts the book with an I CAN DO list and an I CAN'T DO list.  At first I  thought this book would be great for all of the I Can statements we are encourage to create for student ownership and assessment purposes.  Otto can do lots of things.  His CAN'T DO list is quite short.  He can't swim.  If you are using your background otter knowledge this presents a problem for OTTO.  As mothers often do, Otto's mother encouraged him and told him, "Little by little, you will learn to swim."  He tries.  He hops long the river bed.  He run along the bank.  He would sit and wish.  His sister has even more advice, "You have to start small."  Each day he did a little bit more, you just have to read the book to see his small steps.  After sharing his new I CAN DO item, Otto's sister gives this wise thought, "You see.  You started small...and finished big!"

My friend Cheryl introduced me to this book and listening to her read it to a group of eager kindergarten parents is delightful.  Cheryl's current role in education is that of Literacy Support.  My building lost her this past year and I truly miss her friendship, guidance, and feedback in my professional and personal life.  Cheryl offers kindergarten parents this wise advice. 

"Celebrate the CAN Do list; a lot of learning takes place along the way that will support the big surprise.  Our best intentions can sometimes cause children to feel defeated.  Instruction give along the way and encouragement to keep trying, will provide a solid foundation for your child to become a great reader who loves to read because..."You see.  You started small...and finished big!"


  1. What wonderful advice for everyone who works with kids...so true!

  2. Such an encouraging post, I love the words Cheryl offered the parents! So powerful and so true! Words to be held and practiced by all who work with children.

    I am thinking this book might be just perfect for self assessment too, putting it in my libray bookbag and then on my Amazon wish list!

    Thanks Mandy!