I am passionate about encouraging my students to not only aim high in their education but to also love learning. There is nothing more satisfying than a student running up to their teacher excitedly telling them that THEY did it! For instance, "I learned five new words Mrs...", "I read that book you recommended - it was awesome!", "Have you marked my book review? I think it's my best work."
Part of being a teacher AND parent is fostering a love for learning in children. We equip children with the skills they need to learn for themselves and do for themselves. We also provide children with the experiences they need so they learn to love learning. This forms part of my philosophy relating to successful education.
Teach children to want to learn, and learning will come!
A child's love for learning can start in the first few weeks of life! Newborns can enjoy being read to; including listening to their parents' voices and hearing different patterns, tones and expressions as their parents read. Providing these experiences is just the start of learning our complicated yet beautiful language. Therefore, reading should be a huge part of all babies and toddlers upbringing. Now, I am excited to reveal to you six board books that I believe every baby and toddler will love!
Here are Six Board Books Every Baby
and Toddler will Love!
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This is where you should start - Black and White books!
You will not go wrong when purchasing Mesmerised by Katey Love! I LOVE this book. Katey Love has also written a book called Baby Face and a cloth book called Faces for Babies.
This is the "Must Have" book for newborns.
There is so much educational value for newborns in these books. To start with the cloth book is a tactile object for your baby to hold. Making the object easier to hold with their little hands as you talk to them about the pictures. While board books are great for babies to bang on, touch and soon they will start to turn the pages!
Mesmerised encourages discussion with your baby and can introduce new sounds and words as you talk. For example, making a "meow" sound as you both look at and talk about the cat. Katey Love wisely designed each adjoining page to be connected. She illustrated an object on one page and created a closer view of the pattern on the other. A ladybird is featured on one side with spots on its back and on the page beside there are larger spots. Your little one will be fascinated by the different patterns, contrasts, and interesting illustrations.
Babies see in black and white when they are first born and soon start to develop the ability to see in colours. Consequently, during this developmental stage black and white books can be the most engaging and stimulating objects for newborns to look at.
"High-contrasting, black and white images with sharp outlines are much easier for baby to see in the first few months of life while eyesight is still developing" (Katey Love, 2018).
Where is the Green Sheep, by Mem Fox, is about finding the sheep that is the colour green. As you turn each page, you will find many different coloured sheep and sheep doing different things. Your little one won't be able to find the green sheep until the final page - hurray! Watch your little one's excited face as you both finally find the green sheep who is sleeping peacefully.
Where is the Green Sheep uses rhyming, repetition, prediction and bright colours to engage your baby.
There are two types of rhyming found in this book: Identical Rhyme and Quatrains. Identical Rhyme is where the same word is used: sheep. While Quatrains is a four-verse rhyme. Mem Fox has used the second last word to rhyme in the second and fourth line of each Quatrain.
Here is the blue sheep, And here is the red sheep, Here is the bath sheep, And here is the bed sheep.
The use of repetition, repeating the words "sheep" and "green", is a language strategy. This strategy allows your baby to hear the same word more than once. Encouraging them to remember the word and become familiar with the sound of the word.
Prediction is used to build up excitement and anticipation. As you turn to the last page and finally find the green sheep, your little one will begin to expect him to be there. Your baby might even start looking for the green sheep. Babies will show signs of prediction by wanting to turn the pages faster to get to the green sheep.
Categorisation is used to encourage your child to see that all the sheep are different. Even though all of the animals are still sheep, they are all doing different things. Learning to categorise things is something your child will be doing in the first year of life and beyond!
Where is the Green Sheep allows for interaction and discussion between adult and baby. A great way to do this is to read the book more than once at one time. Your little one will become familiar with the illustrations the more you read the same book. Parents can also discuss the characteristics of each sheep instead of reading the text. Another reading strategy is to allow your baby to turn the pages at their own pace. This encourages interest and engagement. I encourage you to use a mix of reading strategies.
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell, is an engaging and lively book. In the search for the perfect pet, the Zoo keeps sending different animals, all of which get returned except for one! The perfect pet! Your little one will have fun opening the flaps to find out what animal the Zoo has sent.
You can bring the animals to life as you read the story. Your little one will love hearing you making the animal noises and will soon predict which noise you will make. Your baby will be eager to open the flaps and will look at you in anticipation of the sound you will make! Turning back to their favourite animal and noise will be a fun game to play as you continue to repeat the sounds!
Your child will learn to mimic the sounds you make and recognise that each one relates to a particular animal. They will soon show signs of learning this by studying your mouth as you form each sound. When they do this make the sound come out slowly so they can see what your mouth is doing to make each sound.
Another strategy you can use when entertaining your baby with this story, is to show the emotions used in the book through your voice and facial expressions. Such as, the camel is grumpy. Showing your child what grumpy looks like is a good way for them to learn different emotions.
Opposite Things, by Anna Kovecses, is about a little mouse finding the opposites and is one book in a series of books about Little Mouse. In Opposite Things, Little Mouse explains that the opposite of sun is rain and that the opposite of full is empty! "Oh no, where did all the marbles go?" Your baby or toddler will have fun opening the flaps and looking to see what is the opposite. When they begin to learn what opposite means they can start predicting what is behind the flap before they open it.
Another learning opportunity is pretending/imagination. You can pretend to be hot and then cold, or happy and then sad. Your little one will interact with you as you play along with the opposite concepts. You can use this book as a springboard to learn opposites around the house. For example, dark and light (turning the light switch on and off), big chair and a little chair, or cold water and warm water.
While your baby doesn't understand opposites, it is a great book to read and for your little one to look at the pictures and hear your voice change depending on what is written. Your little one, for instance, will hear the difference between a happy and sad voice, or a deep and light voice.
Another board book written by Anna Kovecses is called Counting, this book would be ideal for when your little one is learning to count! "How many tigers are prowling through the jungle?" Little Mouse answers all of the counting questions.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, by Lynley Dodd is the introductory book from the series of Hairy Maclary. In this book Hairy Maclary, a little shaggy, black dog, escapes from his home and goes for a walk with a few of his canine friends until they meet a particularly scary character called Scarface Claw! They all quickly scatter and bound home - safe and sound.
Again, this is an excellent rhyming book. The author, Lynley Dodd has used couplets and accumulative rhyming; the couplets slowly get added to as each dog is introduced to the story.
The use of repetition has also been used. Repeating each dogs name numerous times, especially Hairy Maclary's name. You little one will begin to become familiarised with the dog names. Also, you can interact with the story by giving each dog and feline their own animal bark/meow. So much fun! This is helping them to remember each character and at the same time showing that each one is different.
In Baby Bedtime, Mem Fox has thought about the parent! We all know how important it is to teach our children to want to go to bed, to give them cues and encouragement that it is good to go to bed. Well never fear, Mem Fox's book is here!
"It’s a book that will, I hope, help babies and young children to be lulled into a safe, secure and happy sleep. Sleep-deprived parents may get some sleep too! And parents who want to express their absolute, complete adoration of a child will be able to do it through the simple words of this book," (Mem Fox, 2018).
What better way to say I love you than a heart felt goodnight story. A goodnight story is a perfect way to establish a routine that prepares your child for sleep. When they see this book come out will they know it is bedtime. "With a kiss upon [their] brow" they will soon fall asleep!
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