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The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Summary of the Story

Peter Rabbit disobeys his mother and goes to Mr. McGregor's garden instead of going to pick blackberries with Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail. Mr. McGregor tries to catch Peter, but he escapes. To get home safely, Peter must run past Mr. McGregor and get to the gate. He slips safely under the gate, but he has lost his jacket and his shoes. He runs home, where his mother puts him to bed and gives him a dose of chamomile tea.

Introducing the Story
  • Read the title of the book from the cover, pointing to the words as you say it. Repeat the title with your child. Tell your child that the bunny in the picture is named Peter Rabbit.
  • Point to the radish Peter is eating. Tell your child that rabbits like to eat radishes and lettuce and carrots.

Reading the Story for the First Time

  • Read the story. This story has too many words on each page to point to each one as you read. Give the child plenty of time to look at the pictures.
  • After reading, ask: Do you think Peter will go into the garden anymore?

Reading the Book Again and Again

  • Each time you read The Tale of Peter Rabbit, leave more of the "reading" or retelling to the child. Give open-ended prompts on each page. For example, ask: What is happening in this picture? Where is old Mrs. Rabbit going?
  • Give prompts about objects or activities in the pictures. What is Peter wearing? (He is wearing a little blue coat.) What is old Mrs. Rabbit carrying? (She has an umbrella and a basket.) Use your finger to point to what you are asking about. Evaluate the child's response. Expand it by giving more information. Ask the child to repeat the answer. If he or she needs help in answering a question, ask that question again the next time you read the book. Good words to ask about are listed in the vocabulary section below. Be sure to talk about objects and actions the child brings up, too.
  • You may wish to discuss the prompts shown below.

Building Literacy

  • Look at the pictures of the gardens and the other plants in the book. Help your child name some of the fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
  • Your child might use a toy rabbit to show what Peter does in the story


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Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!


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