emerging literacy

Books for June

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Emerging literacy is an important focus for families living with autism, which is why we love this monthly column that helps parents engage their child in life-long reading!

Birds, by Kevin Henkes | 4-8 years

The robins have arrived and it is a great time to enjoy all the birds in our yards and trees!

Three beautifully colored birds on the cover of Birds draw us in to this unique book. It is hard to convey its simple and almost magical quality. The illustrations are wonderful, and the text is limited and large and yet this is not just a book for toddlers. It is partially a concept book as it touches on colors, counting and size. But it is much more than a concept book!

It is also a book for the imagination. “If birds made marks with their tail feathers when they flew, this is what the sky would look like.” A two-page spread shows colored crayon like streaks in the sky. Maybe the red one is a cardinal? Where might they be going?

Another delightful two-page spread shows birds on a wire. Our narrator tells us she sees seven birds on the wire. But she looks away for a moment…..(we turn the page) and there is an empty wire, a page spread of empty wire. The birds have flown away in an instant….as they do! Where did they go? Children like to look back and forth at the wires with birds and then the empty wire. So do I!

Birds is a book for noticing and for quietly stirring our imaginations.

TouchThinkLearn: Opposites by Xavier Deneux | 3-4 yearsemerging literacy

This is one of a series of larger board books by Deneux. The others include Shapes, Colors, Vehicles, Farm and more. I have appreciated all of them. I choose Opposites because it is one of the more difficult concepts for young children to learn.

These books are multi sensory. They combine scooped-out die-cuts with raised shapes that fit into each other as you close the two-page spread. Your hand wants to touch and trace the shapes while you take in their message. The colors are bright but not overwhelming, and the images are fun. “White” shows a polar bear head in an igloo, and the facing page for “black” has a little mouse edging into his black, igloo shaped hole. There are a number of “opposite books” available, but I really appreciate the multi sensory approach, the innovative and clear images, as well as, the sturdiness of this one.

Fun with Reading Tips:

  • These are books that you can easily “dip into” and just read a page or two at a time.
  • They are also books that invite questions with older preschoolers.
  • Meet your child where they are – if they only want to read a couple of pages or just want to turn to a favorite page, try to do that with them for a while before gently trying to extend their experience of the book.

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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