James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is a classic tale of adventure and fun. Plus, it is one of the free books offered at Barnes and Noble as part of their summer reading program for 2011! If you are not familiar with the Barnes and Noble summer program, visit your local store for a reading log. Your child will record eight summer books and then be able to obtain a free one. James and the Giant Peach is one of the free books offered. Once you have started reading this delightful story you can implement one or all of the ideas listed below to make this reading experience educational and entertaining.
1. Create a large scale map of James's voyage as a family. Using a life sized piece of butcher block paper, draw a map and color it in as you explore with James.
2. Choose an animal in the peach and research it as a family. Older children will enjoy researching an animal on their own. Use this as an experience to visit the library for animal books.
3. Create puppets to represent the characters, then present a show. Puppets can be as simple as stick puppets, paper bag puppets or for the crafty folks, sock puppets.
4. Have a mini Language Arts lesson on idioms. This books uses quite a few, such as "White as a Sheet" and "All in the Same Boat". List and discuss the implied meaning of all of the idioms you find.
5. Get out the bake ware and start cooking up some luscious peach desserts. Peach cobbler, peach pie, peach candy, peach bread and peach cake are all fantastic and tasty choices.
6. On a healthier note, use fresh washed and peeled peaches to make a fruit shake. Blend the peach pieces, after dicing them, with plain low fat yogurt and ice. Experiment by adding juices, additional fruits and lowfat ice cream. The options are endless for this cool treat.
7. Write an Acrostic poem using the word peach.
8. After reading the book watch the classic Disney movie version and compare and contrast the book and the movie.
9. Continue learning with ideas from "A Guide for Using James and the Giant Peach in the Classroom" by Kathee Gosnell. You can find cross curricular ideas that will interest your homeschoolers.
10. Study the life of Roald Dahl, either by researching him online with adult supervision, or getting a biography from your bookstore or library. He had an interesting life, which will surprise even you!