A child’s journey to building strong language and literacy skills starts in infancy and continues through the early childhood years and beyond. Caregivers are essential partners for children on the path to language and emergent literacy development. The journey begins when caregivers respond to, talk with and read with infants, toddlers and preschoolers. One great author and illustrator of children’s books is Eric Carle. His simple text and colorful illustrations draw children in and encourage repeated and independent reading. In addition, his books provide real information about animals and serve to spark the creativity and curiosity in children. Here are a few recommendations:
Brown Bear is a wonderful story with a simple repetitive text. Choosing books with stories that repeat words or phrases helps children learn new words and pronunciations through repetition. This book has beautiful illustrations painted by Eric Carle, which encourage the review of colors. The rhythm of the story draws children in and allows them to remember the text and recite it, which is one of the beginning stages of reading.
Again with his beautiful illustrations, Eric Carle introduces some more interesting animals. With each one, he introduces what each animal can do, from the kicking donkey to the hip shaking crocodile. Children are encouraged to move like each animal and to discover what their own bodies can do. Each page ends with “Can you do it? I can do it!” teaching children to try and to be proud of their accomplishments.
This story introduces children to a chameleon. Children will learn how a chameleon changes colors and uses his sticky tongue to catch flies to eat. But the chameleon wishes that he could swim like a fish and run like a deer and with each wish, he adds a part of those animals to his body. By the end of the story he realizes that it is best to be yourself. Children will hopefully learn this same lesson as they realize that they are each special in their own way.