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Billy Goats and Trolls

One of my all-time favorite stories is the Three Billy Goats Gruff. It has the classic plot of good outwitting evil, plus lots of interesting and rhythmic language. The predictable plot helps new readers make guesses about what will happen next, reinforcing reading comprehension skills. It’s one of the best stories for dramatic play!

Here are some ways to extend the story and make learning fun:
Add music! Use spoons to tap out the rhythm of the tiniest billy goat and pots for the largest. Ask for your child’s suggestions for the middle-sized billy goat.
Play with math! The story uses ordinal numbers (first, second, third). Gather objects in your house – perhaps your child’s stuffed animals or trucks – and line them up. Give directions like, “Put the orange truck second.” Take turns and let them give you directions. Introduce size: Put the largest spoon first and the middle-sized spoon last in the line (it’s challenging to use more than three spoons for this).
Create art! Make a collage troll out of junk mail. How ugly can it get? Who can make it uglier, parent or child? Add a stick or a straw and turn it into a puppet! Cut holes for eyes and it’s a mask!
Make it a reading game! Draw a simple bridge with rectangle spaces and put a sight word in each space. Your child crosses the bridge by reading each word. Then empower them by drawing a new bridge and let them tell you what words to use. Here is a list of sight words to help you get started:
Play with the language! What does “gruff” mean? Do you think that is a good name for them? What if the billy goats had a different last name? What other words do you know for “troll” and what does a troll’s voice sound like?

Most of all, have fun and make some wonderful memories together!

Here is the storytelling video of The Three Billy Goats Gruff:

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