Beyond the Book

Beyond the Book

Engaging developing readers and their families through the joy of reading.

Cover image for The Lion and the mouse

About Beyond the Book | Summer 2022: The Lion and The Mouse | Supporting Developing Readers

About Beyond the Book

Beyond the Book is a literacy program centered on developing readers, children in kindergarten through third grade. By highlighting vibrant stories that represent the wonders of children's literature, Beyond the Book aims to inspire children and families to discover the many resources the library offers. DC Public Library is uniquely positioned in young readers' communities to spark their curiosity and encourage reading for fun as well as show caregivers how they are empowered to help their child grow into a confident reader. When children find the joy in reading in a supportive environment, they are better able to build the reading and learning skills they need to thrive. 

This seasonal program builds on the Books from Birth program, an initiative with Imagination Library that mails a new book a month to children ages 0-5 in D.C. Beyond the Book, generously funded by the DC Public Library Foundation, is a city-wide reading and learning club for developing readers, children in kindergarten through third grade, that engages Books from Birth graduates as well as children across D.C. around a carefully selected title along with fun and educational learning activities that will deepen their understanding and enjoyment of the book as well as build their reading skills. 

Join the Beyond the Book Club!

Child reading at the MLK LibraryChildren in kindergarten through third grade across the District are invited to sign up for Beyond the Book! To sign up for Beyond the Book, visit your neighborhood library.

You can sign up at your local neighborhood branch or click the link below to sign up online. 
Online Beyond the Book Registration Form

Your membership includes:
  • A Beyond the Book Club Membership Card
  • A Quarterly Newsletter with Tips and Tricks for Developing Readers
  • A Free Copy of the Featured Book and/or Activity Kit Related to the Season's Books (While supplies last)
  • Exclusive invites to author talks and other fun family events
  • BONUS: Does your family have a library card? If not, caregivers can sign up for a DC Public Library card when their child signs up for Beyond the Book! Click here to learn what you should bring to sign up for a Library card.

Summer 2022| The Lion and The Mouse

Cover image for The Lion and the mouse
The highlighted book for Summer 2022 is The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. This 2009 wordless adaptation of an Aesop fable, tells a story of how an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle. 

The Lion and the Mouse is a classic tale about bravery, cooperation, and kindness between two unlikely friends. The images throughout the book highlight the beauty of the Serengeti and draw children’s eyes to the expressive nature of the characters. As a person who experienced dyslexia, Jerry Pinkney advocated for art and other forms of learning that can attribute to a child’s learning success. Children learn in many different ways and should be presented with varied forms of text that will encourage their confidence as readers. Wordless books present opportunities for children to interpret stories in their own way and are great for exploring comprehension skills through visual literacy skills.


The Lion and The Mouse Activity Packet

Go Beyond the Book to build on your experience of reading The Lion and The Mouse with fun learning activities! From learning new vocabulary words, sequencing a story from beginning to end, to word searches, these are activities the whole family can enjoy. Sign up for Beyond the Book at your neighborhood library to receive your very own activity book!

If you complete the activity packet, please send a picture of your favorite activity to or tag us on social media, using the hashtag #BeyondTheBookDC!

Read More Books Like The Lion and The Mouse

Did your family love reading The Lion and The Mouse? Keep the momentum going! It's great to check out more books around a theme when your child is excited about a particular topic like making observations about their DC community. You can find these books related to The Lion and The Mouse at your neighborhood library!



Supporting Developing Readers

What Is A Developing Reader?

A Developing Reader is someone that is learning how to use foundational reading skills and their background knowledge to understand text. A developing reader is interested in books but can’t yet read them independently or may be able to read some words but require support to convey meaning from print. Developing readers tend to be between the ages of children 5-8 that are starting their educational journey.

Developing Readers enjoy a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. As they gain more foundational reading skills such as the mastery of phonics and word comprehension they increasingly read books with more complex text and vocabulary words. Most excitingly, is that developing readers begin to discover that reading happens everywhere. 

How do children learn to read?
There are five key important categories that are important to be successful readers. These categories are not listed in a particular order.

Caregiver reading to their childrenFluency
Fluent readers have mastered the multitasking skills of a reader’s ability to decode words and comprehend them at the same time. Fluent readers read smoothly and with expression. Read aloud to your child and listen to them read aloud. Discuss with them what a reader sounds like. Reading familiar text will help your child build their confidence as a reader and their fluency skills.

Children checking out booksReading Motivation
Make reading personal for your child. Children should love the things that they are reading. The more they enjoy the topic of books, the more they will want to read. Keep your child’s interest at the forefront of the reading process. Allow them to explore and pick books that appeal to their interests.

Child reading at the MLK LibraryComprehension
Comprehension is all about your child’s ability to understand what they are reading. Comprehension is the ability for the child to make connections with the story to their own life, make predictions, explain the story, and so much more. A developing reader’s comprehension skills can be strengthened by making observations about illustrations and discussions around the story’s plot. Repetition also makes a big difference, so make sure you reread stories and make observations about the illustrations. Have a conversation with your child about what they are reading.

Caregiver reading aloud with their childDecoding
Words are made of letters and those letters make sounds. Combined sounds make words that possess meaning. Decoding is what happens when readers put sounds together to figure out words. Practice sounding out words with your child and practicing common sound patterns they often hear. As their decoding skills grow, they will learn more about how to sound out larger words and identify more complex sound patterns such as vowel sounds and consonant blends.

Caregiver and child reading togetherBackground Knowledge
This is all about what a child knows before they open the book. What is in their immediate environment that gives them access to the information presented in the text? You can build upon your child’s knowledge by teaching them new vocabulary words and introducing them to new experiences.

Tips for Supporting Your Developing Reader
Developing readers have to do a lot of work as readers. This is the beginning of their journey where they will start to read not only for enjoyment but also for performance. It is important to keep it fun while encouraging them to learn new reading skills.

Start with what the child knows and likes. Read about things that are of interest or bring joy, like sports, the arts and other activities. Think about all of the things you’ve done to help your child to enjoy the practice of reading. Keep doing those things and elevate your practice by supporting their book selections, and discussing how reading relates to life activities and experiences.
  • Pause when you are reading together and ask them questions about the story or think your thoughts out loud so they can see how you make meaning from the stories you read.
  • If your child knows the alphabet song, start to sing the song with the letter sounds versus the letter names.
  • Expand the alphabet song by finding names of things they love that match the sound or sound pattern. This can be done as you’re walking around your neighborhood.
  • When you are at the Library, look for Easy readers, Read Alouds, Picture Books and Books of Poetry. These are great kinds of books for your developing reader. The Library's Books for Kids page is a great place to find titles for readers of all levels!
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