autism and literacy

August Books

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Our third column from Jeanne Loves Books, which focuses on autism and literacy. Jeanne is taking a break as she travels out of the country. We look forward to reading her next installment upon her return!

Little Bear’s Little Boat, by Eve Bunting

These warm days of summer are also a time of upcoming big changes for many small children. I’m thinking of the toddler who is going to start attending preschool or the preschooler who is going to start kindergarten. Talking about changes like these is often easier with a good story.

A wonderful book about growing up and leaving cherished possessions or places behind is Little Bear’s Little BoatLittle Bear has a little rowboat that he loves. He does all sorts of wonderful fun things in that boat.  But he begins to notice that he isn’t fitting into the little boat as easily as he used to. He is getting bigger.

Finally, one day, he doesn’t fit at all. Little bear is very sad. His mother consoles him and tells him, “It is a little bear’s destiny to grow and grow till he is a BIG BEAR. It is a little boat’s destiny to stay the same size.” What a wonderful explanation. I love the idea of four and five-year-olds talking about their destiny!

Little Bear decides to find another little bear to enjoy his boat. He explains to the new little bear about “destiny,” and that he will grow and have to pass on the boat too. It is a very empowering piece of the story that Little Bear can explain in his words this future to the next Little Bear. There is one final piece to the resolution in this sweet story. Read it and start a conversation about upcoming changes with your little bear!

autism and literacyThe Baby Goes Beep, by Rebecca O’Connell

One of my favorite “baby books” is The Baby Goes Beep. On a two-page spread the baby goes, “BEEP,” followed by “The baby goes BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!” On successive pages in the same pattern, the baby goes, “FLIP, BOOM, YUM, SPLASH, SMOOCH,” and finally, “SHH.” It is fun to make up hand motions for “BEEP” and each of the following motion words. Babies and young toddlers love the pattern, sounds and motions.

Tips for Shared Reading:

  • Link the changes Little Bear is experiencing to your child’s upcoming change: how are they similar, different
  • Talk about destiny in concrete ways, using common objects/people/animals in your child’s life
  • Once you’ve read through Baby Goes Beep, let your child complete the last sound on each page
  • Develop your own patterns of sound for fun, interactive, give-and-take language development

Author: JeanneLovesBooks

Jeanne is a retired youth services librarian and the former Supervisor of Hennepin County’s Readmobile Program. The Readmobile, which is also retired, was like a Bookmobile, but dedicated to young children, which developed and provided early literacy enriched visits to Head Start Programs, Early Childhood Learning Centers, Child Care Providers and Family, Friend and Neighbor Providers. Jeanne shares literacy info about books for infants through preschoolers in her “Jeanne Loves Books” column once a month. She welcomes your feedback and suggestions for books to highlight.

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