Read Aloud Stories: Roll Over!

'Roll Over!' is based on a counting song originally written by Edith Fowke. The popular picture book version of the song is illustrated by Merle Peek. 'Roll Over!' is a good fit for reading aloud to one child or a group, whether read as a story or sung together.

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Roll Over illustrated by Merle Peek

About the Story

Roll Over! begins with 'Ten in the bed,' including a little boy and his nine animal friends. They include a bear, a dog, a monkey, a parrot and several more creatures. It's a very crowded bed. When the boy cries out, 'Roll over! Roll over!,' all of the creatures roll until one falls out.

This leaves nine in the still too crowded bed. The animal who fell from the bed is now fast asleep on the floor. After another game of rolling, another creature falls from the bed. The book then progresses with the emptying of the bed, one by one, with each displaced animal finding a new place in the room to sleep.

After all the animals fall from the bed, only the boy is left. He exclaims, 'Alone! At last!' In the final picture, the boy is asleep in bed. Meanwhile, the animals he played with are revealed to be just pictures on his wall.

Engaging with the Book

Roll Over! is written with simple, repetitive language on each page that facilitates learning it as a song. For most of the book, the only text that changes from one page to the next is the number for how many are left in the bad. Additionally, the back of the book includes the sheet music that you can use to help your child or a group of children learn the melody. To make the song more fun, the titular exclaim of the boy can be shouted with gusto by young children.

While singing Roll Over! can be a boisterous activity, the book also functions as a lullaby or spoken story. If you're reading the book before bedtime, your child can act out the rolling over in his or her own bed, even casting stuffed animals from the bed to mimic the book. If you're singing the story, each page can be sung in a progressively softer voice, lulling your child towards sleep as the boy in the story goes to sleep.

Finally, Roll Over! is an opportunity to practice learning numbers and counting. Your child can learn numbers by listening to the story or by counting the animals in each bed. Adding a layer of complexity, the numbers go in reverse order from ten to one, teaching your child about backwards counting.

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