Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review - Whole Body Listening Larry at Home!

I have some pretty cool friends. The other day one of my cool friends gave our family this book. I think it will be good for our whole family. If there is one thing I get most frustrated about with my kids it is that they "don't listen" to me. Sometimes, I have to admit, I'm the one who is not listening. This sweet book talks about how to use every part of your body (not just your eardrums) to listen. It turns out that your eyes, your mouth, body (torso), hands, feet, brain and heart are all involved in truly listening to another person. While my kids are often not listening with their mouths, hands, and feet (generally at least one of them is making noise with at least one of these) I am more likely to be not listening with my brain (multi-tasking) or with my heart (ouch!) This simple story walks through the parts one at a time with socially savvy Larry helping his sister, Lucy, learn how leaving out any of the parts leaves other people (parents, siblings and peers) feeling frustrated and unloved. There are several things about this book that I love:
  • The text is simple and presented in rhyme to add interest. In addition to narration that makes the key points, the characters words and thoughts are often presented in speech and thought bubbles. The thought bubbles are especially useful for helping children understand what the characters are feeling.
  • The facial expressions of the characters are also very clear and will add to opportunities to discuss how each character is feeling when Lucy is not listening.
  • Toward the end of the story there is a cartoon list of each body part so you can talk about what it means to listen with your eyes (looking at the person who is talking) or with your feet (sitting or standing quietly).
  • The book shows Lucy being successful in the end and how everyone feels when she is listening - So Good!
  • At the end of the book there is a list of suggested activities to supplement the story, and two visuals that can be used in the activities.
Whole Body Listening Larry is published by Think Social Publishing and is based on principles developed by Michelle G. Winner in her work on Social Thinking. I have met one of the authors, Elizabeth Sautter, as she is the co-director of a program my daughter attended last Summer for social skills support. I recognized many of the concepts in the book from similar concepts presented in the social skills curriculum, so I know it will connect with my daughter, too.

Soon they'll be releasing "Whole Body Listening Larry at School!" which will be a great tool for teachers!


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