William’s Doll, Charlotte Zolotow

William wants a doll! His family thinks that there is something wrong with William. But his wise Grandmother buys William a doll and tells them all exactly why a doll is a perfect present for William.


  • Several pictures of babies.
  • Old toy catalogs.
  • Two or three bath towels and washcloths.
  • Medium sized box, basket, or garbage can


  • Cradle (to make like a bed for the baby out of your arms)
  • Nonsense (it means that’s silly)

Before Reading the Story

Ask the children to describe some of their favorite toys. While discussing, ask the other children if it’s a toy they might like to play with also. Then ask is there any toys that only boys can play with or only girls can play with. If a child responds with a yes, ask them why they think that. Then steer the conversation to say that all toys are for all children.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences.

Reading the Story

When you get to the part where William states he wants a doll, ask the children what they think about this? Can boys play with dolls, why or why not? What do you think will happen if William gets a doll for his birthday?

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to describe and discuss predictions, explanations, and generalizations based on past experiences.

After Reading the Story

Ask the children why they think it was good for William to get a doll for his birthday (so he can practice being a father). After a short discussion about what William did with his doll, take out a piece of paper and ask each child what they like to do with their father/father figure (My Dad takes me to get French fries. My Uncle John takes me to the park to swing on the swings. My biggerest brother gives me a ride on his bike).

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people such as genders, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures.


Show the children pictures of babies. Ask them to think of things that they can do now that they could not do when they were a baby (I can ride a bike. I can eat crunchy food and my sister can only drink from her bottle).

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; progresses in abilities to initiate and respond appropriately in conversation and discussions with peers and adults.

Music and Movement

When I was one year old,                          Children crouch down
I was very, very small                                 Put hands close together to show smallness
But now I’m 4 years old                              Hold up 4 fingers
And I’ve grown up big and tall!               Children stand up and put hands over head

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understand conversations, stories, songs, and poems.


Add people and family props to the center. Encourage the children to build a home for the family/people. Ask them if they can add a window, a door, and a roof to their structure but praise any ‘house’ that they build.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; grows in recognizing and solving problems through active exploration, including trial and error, and interactions and discussions with peers and adults.


Put out old toy catalogs for the children to cut out toys they like for home and for the classroom (wish list).

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in eye-hand coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing patterns and shapes, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Library and Writing

Ask the children to draw a picture of their father/father figure. What kinds of special things do you like to do with your father/father figure? Write their dictations on the bottom.

Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Sand and Water

Put warm water in the table today and let the children bath your classroom baby dolls. Give the children wash clothes and dish towels for drying and washing.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops growing awareness of jobs and what is required of them.

Dramatic Play

Parent play; add dolls, doll clothes, and any baby items you might have. Especially encourage the boys to use the dramatic center today.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; participates in a variety of dramatic plays activities that become more extended and complex.

Math and Manipulatives

Sorting bears or other sorters in small, medium, and large. Put out three bowls and encourage the children to sort by size. Call the small bears the babies, the medium bears the little sister/brother, and the biggest bears the big sister/brother. After they have sorted them, ask them to count how many of each they have in the bowl. Count along with them if they are beginner counters.

Mathematics/Numbers & Operations; develops increasing ability to count in sequence to 10 and beyond. ALSO Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Outdoor Play

Give the children a small ball or bean bag to throw into a box, basket, or can. Have the children back up three paces and throw the ball into the container. As they take their turn, ask them to think of a word that starts with the letter sound of their name or any letters that you are working on (Can you think of a word that starts with the R sound like in your name Roger? Can you think of a word that starts with the letter S sound /s/s/s/). After a round, move back two more steps and continue in the same manner.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows increasing ability to discriminate and identify sounds in spoken language.


Ask the children to name family members as they go off to another activity. (Roger, what is your mother’s name? What is your big sister’s name?). Do they know the names of their parents? Do they know their own last name? If not, help them to practice naming these.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops ability to identify personal characteristics, including gender and family composition.

Dear Parent-Today we read the story William’s Doll. In it, William wanted a doll so that he could practice being a father. Talk to your child about some of the things you liked to do when your were their age. Ask your child what they like to do best at school; who do they play this with, or do they like to play this alone?

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.