IEL Tip Sheet: Using Predictable Books with Young Children
When we make predictions, we form ideas about the future based on what we already know or believe. A predictable book is one that features patterns, sequences, and connections in the illustrations or words that enable children to guess “what comes next” in the story. Predictable books can be used to help 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds learn what to expect from spoken and written language. (See Illinois Early Learning and Development Benchmarks 1.B.ECb With teacher assistance, participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners (e.g., peers and adults in both small and large groups) about age-appropriate topics and texts., 2.A.ECa Engage in book-sharing experiences with purpose and understanding.,
2.B.ECa With teacher assistance, ask and answer questions about books read aloud. View sample lesson plan, 2.C.ECa Interact with a variety of types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems, rhymes, songs)., and 10.C.ECa Describe likelihood of events with appropriate vocabulary, such as “possible”, “impossible”, “always”, and “never”..)
Choose a variety of predictable books to share with
very young children
(ages 2 through 4).
books with basic vocabulary and simple rhyme patterns let children anticipate
what word comes next. Examples: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss; Rap A Tap Tap by Leo and Dianne Dillon.
often like to repeat simple phrases or refrains with a reader.
preschoolers like stories that build on patterns. Examples: Drummer Hoff by Barbara Emberley; Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema.
Use children's favorite books
again and again.
children may want to hear the same poem or book many times. Soon they get to
know the word patterns. They may enjoy saying the words along with you.
children like to fill in the blank when you leave out a word or two at the end
of a sentence. Pause in your reading: "One fish, two fish, red ___." Look
around at the children. Wait for them to call out, "Fish, blue fish!"
children will enjoy catching your "mistakes" when you playfully change a few
words in a familiar book: "One fish, two cats, red fish...."
Expand on children's predictions.
can make up dialogue between characters in wordless and nearly wordless books.
You might say, for example, "There are no words to tell us what is going on in
this picture. What do you think this boy might say to the dog?"
who know a book well can discuss different versions of the same story. For
instance, you might read aloud from There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a
Fly by Simms Taback. Then show the children Alison Jackson's I Know an
Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. Help them predict some possible similarities
and differences between the two. "The lady who swallowed a fly also swallowed a
spider and other animals. What do you suppose this pie-swallowing lady might
eat?" Follow up by asking, "What makes you think so?"
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