Finding books to match classroom curriculum themes is easy. Book stores and libraries are popular sources. Everything from holidays, to seasonal activities, to community helpers. The challenge lies in choosing the most appropriate book to match your child’s needs. Here are some features to consider:
- The book should include vocabulary relevant to the classroom theme.
- The images should be simple, large, and vivid. The more visually loaded the scene, the more difficult it will be to focus on the important parts you wish to target.
- For beginning language learners, the book should not be too wordy.
- The words used should be concrete. It should include more nouns and verbs as opposed to abstract terms. Whimsical words are fun but they are not necessarily meaningful.
- Books with repetitive phrases provide predictability each time they are read, allowing the child to eventually participate more readily by “reading along”.
- The words written by the author do not always have to be the words read by you to the child. Simplify the phrases to facilitate understanding. Match your child’s language ability.
- Books that incorporate manipulable pieces are stimulating. Children learn by actively interacting with their environment; the same holds true for books. Look for books with lift-the-flaps, tabs to pull, pop-ups, Velcro pieces, etc.
In my collaboration with classroom teachers for many years, I was given the opportunity to help develop thematic classroom curriculum. I immediately focused on story time, which led to the creation of my own “library”. I made sure that each chosen book-of-the-week had visuals which the students could interact with while the story was being read. The manipulables added a new dimension to book-reading. The students learned associations between the visual pieces and the book, acted out the story by performing actions with the pieces, established joint attention to their peers while they took their turns, and collaborated together as a group to make the story come to life.
The following books are just a beginning for you to create your own collection. Each book listed has its own set of interactive visuals corresponding directly to events occurring on the pages, which you can simply print and use (please note, the book is not included). Typically, I laminate the visuals, add hard Velcro to the back and place them on a felt board as I read the book. Another fun idea is to Velcro the visuals directly onto the pages themselves, making the scenes in the book come to life!
Check back often as I will continue adding to this library as the year goes on. But for now…
Start your library of visual supports for a variety of Thematic Curriculum Story Books. You can view and download them by clicking here!
(Books not included)