Using children's books when teaching language arts / English is a recipe for educational success. They are truly an essential tool for literacy education! Most teachers have a wide range of literacy teacher resource books in their classrooms, but forget about the power of their own classroom library. Great children's books can:
We hope these lists help you create engaging,
effective language arts education in your classroom. And if we've missed some good one, please let us know.
Research has shown that the most effective literacy instruction comes when topics are taught in context. Consider, for example, a lesson on adjectives. Without providing the larger context, many introductory adjective lessons end up being little more than naming/identifying activities. In the end, children can say what an adjective is and perhaps produce a few (or differentiate between adjectives and nouns or verbs). But...
Does the child know WHY adjectives matter? Simply knowing what an adjective is doesn't really advance a child's literacy very much. Children need a deeper understanding of why they should care. There are a handful of fun and clever children's books that (1) explain what adjectives are AND (2) show how they can make writing/reading SO MUCH RICHER. These mentor books help children understand that adjectives create more interesting mental pictures, more interesting stories (The dog ran. vs. The big, scary, black dog ran.) When teachers read these books as part of their lesson, the learning is much deeper and the results show up in kids own writing!
Teaching language arts / literacy is so much richer, more interesting, and more fun when you use children's books. Teachers know they need to model, model, model everything that they teach. Children's books do this. They provide the repeated examples that kids need to see over and over again in order for the learning to stick, in order for the learning to produce a change in their own behavior.
We love using children's books for teaching language arts / literacy topics, and have seen how much of a difference the RIGHT book can make in a lesson. If you aren't already heavily using children's books in teaching, give it a try. You'll be surprised how much energy and creativity and learning they bring. :)
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