Big Al, by Yoshi

Big Al is a fish that is very big and scary looking.  All the other fish stay away never realizing that he is kind and brave until one day…Big Al saves the day.


  • Camouflage pictures
  • Alphabet Fish page
  • Five little fish
  • 20 more big ugly fish
  • Individual picture of each child in your classroom
  • One index card per child


  • Plowed (run right into someone or something)
  • Tremendous (great big)
  • Camouflage (to disguise or hide)

Before Reading the Story

Reading the Story

On the page when Big Al thought that he would never have a friend and something happened, stop and ask the children if they can guess what they think Big Al is going to do?  When you finish the story, ask the children if Big Al was a good friend, why? 

Language Development/Speaking Understanding; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

After Reading the Story

Talk with the children about how friends can help each other.  Mention any incidents that you have recently seen of one classmate helping another (At breakfast I saw Ryan help Michael to cut his waffle, Alison helped Ann to zipper her party dress in the dramatic corner).  Ask the children if they can think of a time when a friend helped them.  Ask the children what they should say to another person who helps them (thank you). 

Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; shows progress in developing friendships with peers.


In the story, Big Al tried to camouflage himself.  Put out pictures of animals that are camouflaged for the children to look at. 

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Music and Movement

Sing The More We Get Together

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

Do the chant, 2,4,6,8, Who Do We Appreciate?  Then add a child’s name and clap out the syllables.  2,4,6,8, who do we appreciate?  Ro-ger, Ro-ger, Ro-ger.  2,4,6,8, who do we appreciate?  Pri-scil-la, Pri-scil-la, Pri-scil-la.  Go around the circle and do everyone’s name.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing ability to hear and discriminate separate syllables in words.

Finger play, Five Little Fish

One little fish alone and new

Soon she finds a friend and now there are two.

Two little fish swimming in the sea

They meet another friend and now there are three.

Three little fish swim along the shore

Soon they see a friend and now there are four.

Four little fish go for a dive

There they find another friend and now there are five.


Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.


Cut around pictures of the children and tape or contact paper each one to a small unit block.  As the children play in the block center they can use their friend pictures as part of their play.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; approaches tasks and activities with increased flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness.


Finger-paint today.  As the children finger paint, have them make a handprint on a separate piece of paper.  When this dries, embellish.  Cut around and glue them all onto a large piece of blue paper.  Make a bulletin board, A School of Friends.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

Put sand into the table today and then pour water on top. Add any plastic sea creatures/fish that you have.  The children can bury the creatures in the sand to hide and camouflage or pretend to swim them in the water. 

Creative Arts/ Dramatic PLay; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Library and Writing

Give each child a copy of the Alphabet Fish Page and several crayons or markers.  Put a basket of magnet letters in the middle of the table.  Let the children take turns picking a magnet letter out of the bowl.  The children then look for that letter on their alphabet page and color it in.  Play until all 26 letters have been found.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds.

Dramatic Play

Encourage the children ask a friend to help with the zippers, buckles, and buttons on your dress-up clothing.

Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; increases abilities to sustain interactions with pers by helping, sharing, and discussion.

Math and Manipulatives

Cut out 20 fish shapes.  Make two sets of fish labeled 1-10.  Challenge the children to line the fish up starting with number one and going to number ten.  Are they able to identify the numbers?  For younger children use 1-5 and add dots that they can count.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Outdoor Play

Play Swimming in a School.  The teacher is the leader and the children follow as in Follow the Leader.  Swim around the tree, under the climber, on top of the bench, etc.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.


Write each child’s name on an index card.  Hold up the card and ask whose name is this?  That child can then help name the letters before going off to the next activity.

Literacy/Alphabet Awareness; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.


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.