"The Enormous Watermelon" by Brenda Parkes and Judith Smith is a classic early reader includes common nursery rhyme characters for children to recognize. Along with the book, children can explore the nursery rhymes that the characters in the book come from.
"The Enormous Watermelon" is full of characters from popular nursery rhymes. Before reading the book, refresh children's memories by reading some of the nursery rhymes with them. Create a list of main characters in the nursery rhymes. Go back to that list as you read "The Enormous Watermelon," placing a star by each character's name when they appear in the story.
Explore a Watermelon
Bring a watermelon to class, and allow students to observe the outside of it. Cut it open, and reveal the seeds and juicy red inside. Allow children to feel, taste and smell the inside of the watermelon by cutting off slices. Share with students pictures of watermelons on the vine. To continue the lesson over time, allow children to plant watermelon seeds in plastic cups and observe them as they grow. Transfer the sprouts to an outside garden or large plastic tub, and see if any watermelons grow.
Use "The Enormous Watermelon" to help reinforce the children's vocabulary. Ask children what the word "enormous" means, and guide them in creating a list of other words for enormous. Practice those words by inserting them in place of enormous in the story. Have students brainstorm a list of words that begin with the /w/ sound. After reading about the watermelon and looking at a real watermelon, create a list of adjectives that describe watermelons, such as juicy or sweet.
Connect math activities to "The Enormous Watermelon." As you are reading the book, ask students to count how many times they see a watermelon. Keep a tally on a small whiteboard while reading. While children are looking at a real watermelon, have them count the number of seeds found inside. The book "One Watermelon Seed" by Celia Barker Lottridge follows two children as they plant seeds in their garden. Share this book with children to reinforce their counting skills.
Children can create their own watermelon slices by cutting a paper plate into four equal triangles and allowing children to color them red and green to look like a watermelon. Sculpt watermelon slices from red and green clay, and add bits of black clay for seeds. Allow children to create watercolor paintings of the watermelon they saw in class, or collect the juice from a watermelon and have children use it to paint fun pictures. Cut the watermelon rind into shapes and allow students to use them as stamps.
Stacy Zeiger began writing in 2000 for "Suburban News Publication" in Ohio and has expanded to teaching writing as an eighth grade English teacher. Zeiger completed creative writing course work at Miami University and holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in secondary education from Ohio State.