Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Activity: Chrysanthemum

AugustSummerVirtualBookClub, back to school ideas, name activities, book activity

The beginning of a school year is the perfect time to brush up on name writing abilities. Whether practicing at home before sending a child off to school or helping an entire class brush up on this skill, back to school is  a great time for name activities. One of my favorite books to accompany name activities in the classroom or the home is Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. When the Summer Virtual Book Club team decided on Kevin Henkes as our August author, I knew I had to choose this classic story for the beginning of the school year.
Read down to find out how you can be a part of the summer virtual book club and come back tomorrow to enter to win a copy of Chrysanthemum.

Chrysanthemum is a small mouse who loves her beautifully unique name... until she starts Kindergarten. In kindergarten, she is bullied for her name. Each day, her parents try to make it better, but the bullying gets worse. Finally, a special teacher, Ms. Twinkle,  is able to reach out to Chrysanthemum. She admits to also being named after a flower, Delphinium, and helps the bullies to understand the beauty of a unique name.

My son, Logan, needs a lot of practice with fine motor skills and he's not always interested in sitting and writing  Through a lot of trial and error, we've come up with a few name activities that are FUN!

Writing/ tracing: We use the Handwriting without Tears curriculum to teach handwriting. HWT advocates teaching your child to write his name in all caps first. I completely agree with HWT, however, Logan's preschool (who also uses handwriting without tears) skips this step. They want students to write their name in the correct uppercase/ lower case combination. So, we've started practicing it "their way." It's still tricky for Logan. If it's tricky for your kid, just have them trace his/her name at first. I usually use a gray crayon or a highlighter to write his name and then he traces it. This mimics the gray tracing lines that HWT uses.
Name activities, book activities, Chrysanthemum, free pdf, letter tracing activity, photo

Rainbow Writing: Sometimes tracing the same thing over and over is boring. So, we've come up with a fun way to practice tracing. We have been "rainbow writing" our name, tracing over our name in every color of the rainbow.

Stamping: Stamping is a fun way to practice the order of letters in your name. It also helps your child to see the orientation of the letters. We can talk about each letter individually as stamping slows down the learning and forces the child to really look at the print. We can talk about letters that have lines, curves, etc.The goal is for this knowledge to transfer to the writing of the child's name.

Counting: After we write our name, we like to count the letters in our name. We like to talk about the length of different names. This helps Logan learn the early learning concept that words are different lengths. He notices that "is" is a short word, while "Chrysanthemum" is a long word!
Name activities, book activities, Chrysanthemum, free pdf

I've created a free printable name activity to be used along with the book Chrysanthemum. Each of the  ways we practice writing our names are included on this freebie. There is a place for your child to write his/her name. There is a place to rainbow write your child's name. And there is a spot to stamp your child's name. In celebration of Chrysanthemum and her 13 letter name, there is also a place for your child to count and record the number of letters in his/her name. There is also a teacher's guide for the activity. Click on the image below to get this free printable as a google doc.

Name activities, book activities, Chrysanthemum, free pdf

There are a ton of wonderful Kevin Henke's books that we enjoy. Several bloggers are participating in a blog hop to share book activities to accompany Henke's books. Many of the participating bloggers will be giving away a Kevin Henke's book. Ready. Set. Read 2 Me will be hosting a giveaway of the book Chrysanthemum. (thanks, HarperCollins for the giveaway book).  The giveaway opens tomorrow right here at Ready. Set. Read 2 Me.
If you have a book activity related to a Kevin Henke's book, you are welcome to link up here.
Here are a few things to consider before linking up:

  1. Link up only posts inspired by Kevin Henkes that share children's book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club to your post if you'd like.

* By linking to this blog hop you are giving the blog hop participants permission to pin images from your post onto Pinterest.



  1. I love the rainbow writing! And I think my kids would love it too!

  2. My three year old is starting preschool soon and I have been doing some name activities with him so he is able to easily recognize it. I think this printable would be great for him to stamp and count his letters!

  3. I'm going to try out your rainbow writing idea.

  4. Year after year when I taught Kindergarten this was the book we always did name activities to. The kids love it. You've shared such great ideas for learning your name. Thanks for joining the Kevin Henkes Virtual Book Club.

  5. Excellent! You know just how children learn and are so "in the zone of approximal learning" as we all should be! And, you make it so fun. Thank you, Carolyn