I LOVE reading Jan Brett books in class. I think it is because it has a nostalgic feel for me. I remember reading many of her books in elementary school and I loved the colorful illustrations and the way she used the sides of her pages as hints as to what to expect next. That’s why when I saw the book Cozy by Jan Brett, I couldn’t resist buying it to read with my students.
I decided to read the book after using a version of The Mitten in a reading group. My students were working hard on the comprehension strategies of making predictions and comparing and contrasting. I knew this would be the perfect way to incorporate both strategies. Cozy is the story of a Musk Ox who is separated from his herd. He gets lonely but finds companionship in the many arctic animals that come to seek shelter in his fur. With each animal that joins, Cozy institutes a new rule for his inhabitants to follow in order to ensure a peaceful shelter.
This plot was a great to compare and contrast to The Mitten. The students were proud of themselves for picking up on the pattern of animals entering Cozy’s fur just as they entered the mitten. They were also excited to note the difference in why the animals have to leave Cozy and the mitten. There were clear and obvious similarities and differences that allowed even students who had difficulty with comprehension to feel successful. I loved the look on their faces when they found themselves able to participate in the comprehension strategies their peers are actively engaging with.
The second comprehension strategy that allowed all students to feel successful was predictions. Jan Brett’s illustrations allow students to make connected and logical predictions about what will come next in the text. The patterns in her stories allow students to easily pick up on what will happen next and they can demonstrate their ability to independently implement predictions. I would highly recommend Jan Brett’s Cozy to any teacher who is teaching comprehension strategies and has students that would benefit from books with patterns and predictability. It will allow all students to feel successful with comprehension strategies and will boost their confidence with reading.