As Easter quickly draws near, I thought I would share some of my favorite Easter books to encourage language development! I am so grateful to all my colleagues (educators, SLPs and parents) who are freely sharing their ideas on the internet and making educational ideas so accessible! I am spotlighting some of these creative talents with links to some of my favorite blogs and websites. Click through and maybe you will discover a new favorite!
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick Written by Lucille Colandro; Illustrated by Jared Lee
As you might guess, this is a spin off of the classic Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (ages 2 and up). Can you imagine what Easter goodies the old lady will polish off? And what will happen to her? I hope she has a good gastrointerologist! Language: I love cumulative tales because the repetition is perfect for language practice! Great opportunity to develop vocabulary. Point to the pictures and have your child name the items as you read through the list of Easter treats. This is also a great story for sequencing. With each page, have your child list the items she swallowed in order. Make a prediction about what will happen next. “First, she swallowed the _______, THEN she swallowed the _______, NEXT she swallowed the ________. Be sure to include the time related words to build your child’s knowledge of temporal terms! (If you can carry a tune, sing along! In case you need a refresher on the tune, here is a great clip with Judy Collins singing the original song on the Muppet Show!) Articulation: If you are working on correct production of /s/ blends this is the book for you! TONS of /s/ blends (swallow, straw, basket, sweeten). Also a nice chance to practice /ch/. Since the word “swallow” occurs in almost every other sentence, practice /s/ blends in carrier phrases (short repetitive phrases). Grab some /s/ blend pictures and add them to the list of things the old lady swallows! “She swallowed a _________”. Phonemic Awareness: Rhyming is an early phonemic awareness skill (the ability to manipulate sounds; one of the critical first steps in the reading process). Identify the rhymes in the story. Encourage your child to come up with additional rhyming words. “What else rhymes with hop?” Featured Blog and Activity: Visit Playing with Words 365 for delightful printables you can use to play a barrier game and make a story telling necklace to go along with this book! Playing with Words 365 is a great sight for daily (how does she do it?) ideas and activities to facilitate language! Love this book? Lucille Colandro (click on the book cover) has written several books (some in Spanish too!) featuring this crazy Old Lady and more silly things she swallows!
Here Comes T-Rex Cottontail Written by Lois G. Grambling, illustrated by Jack E. Davis
This is the perfect book for your little dinosaur enthusiast (ages 3-6)! Who wouldn’t love a T-Rex who wears bunny slippers? The Easter Bunny is sick and needs someone to help him deliver the eggs. Well meaning, but slightly clumsy T-Rex steps…er…hops up to help! Will he and his scaly friends manage to save the day? Language: This book may be a little wordy for kids with language delays but you can easily simplify it by talking about the main ideas on each page. The illustrations are so fantastic, they will provide great scaffolding to build the story. Have your child look at the pictures and tell what is happening in the story. I love how the repetitive action words (wobbled, hopped) are highlighted in the text. As I have read this book with my clients we wobble and hop every time we see the words (great print awareness!). For older children, this is a great story to practice making predictions. “What do you think will happen next?” Social Skills: Lots of great opportunities to discuss friendship. “How did T-Rex’s friends help him?” “How did T-Rex help the Easter Bunny?” This story is also perfect for working on problem solving skills. “Uh-oh, the eggs broke! What should T-Rex do next?” Featured Blog and Activity: Lorie, at Reading Confetti, came up with an easy-to-do cottontail art activity as a companion to T-Rex Cottontail! Lorie is a reading specialist and mother of two who creates fantastic activities based upon children’s books. I am definitely a fan of her blog!
The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter Written by Sue Denim and Illustrated by Dav Pilkey
I LOVE Dav Pilkey and his delightfully dumb bunnies (and pretty much everything else he has written and illustrated)! You may know him best for his “Captain Underpants” series…but before Captain Underpants, there were the Dumb Bunnies! These books were my son’s favorites when he was a little guy and reading this book brought back great memories! The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter (and all of the Dumb Bunny books) is a hilarious example of communication gone wrong! These silly bunnies are all set to celebrate Easter on December 24 and that’s just the beginning of their misadventures. From there, they stuff the turkey (in a basketball net), chop down and Easter tree, paint Easter eggs (with spray paint) and wait for the Easter Bunny to arrive in his “shiny red mini-van pulled by eight pilgrims”! Trust me, there is not a kid out there who will not LOVE this book! Language: As you might have deduced, this book is an exercise in absurdities! You can spend endless time talking about what is silly in each picture and line of the story. Explaining absurdities is an excellent higher order language activity. Help your child “correct” the absurdity. “Do we color eggs with spray paint???” “How should the Dumb Bunnies color their eggs?” Social Skills: Just sitting down with your child and laughing out loud as you read this book is a social activity! Need more? Link reading this book to Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking curriculum and discuss “Expected” and “Unexpected” behaviors. Website and Activity: For this book, there is no better website to visit than Dav Pilkey’s. Play the Dumb Bunnies’ Crazy Carrot game, download coloring sheets, pick up some teaching strategies (located in the “boring grown-up stuff” section), discover more of his books, and be sure to read Dav’s bio. Dav presents his “mostly true” bio in both cartoon and text form. You and your child may come to appreciate Dav even more when you read about his “dark ages,” when he was a kid with ADHD who was often kicked out of the classroom and made to work at a desk in the hall. He was told his drawing and daydreaming would take him nowhere! Hmmmm….Guess who has the last laugh now!
Happy Easter! I hope these books may start a conversation and bring a smile to your little bunny’s face!