Finding Books That Promote Beginning Communication and Language Learning

Story or Book Title


Does the selected book have:

Simple repeated text or repeated lines (Yikes!, Gulp!, EIEIO, Chick a Boom!)

"wishy wash, wishy washy, wash wash wash"


Predictable text (e.g., dirty shoes, dirty socks, etc.)

"dirty pants", etc.


Rhyme and rhythm

rhythm: "wishy washy..."

Familiar and meaningful context (i.e., stories based on activities familiar to the child, or routines the child engages in frequently)

activity: washing clothes
Large, highly visible print
Short and simple text (i.e., text that lends itself to choral reading by children with low verbal skills, or children who use augmentative communication)

pages have 2-5 simple, predictable words
A vehicle to promote the child's language and communication goals through patterned text (e.g., articulation targets, present progressive tense, past tense, use of pronouns, etc.)

slot-filler (adjective + clothing item)


Text that can be easily adapted if not appropriate (e.g., adding repeated lines, deleting text, adding language structures, etc.)

not necessary
Simple graphics that easily depict concepts
A vehicle for using props (i.e., real or homemade objects); List props:

Molly doll

clothing items for doll

pretend washing machine

"dirty stickers" (black smudges drawn on price labels, tape, etc.)

A vehicle for generating literacy-related extension activities (art, song, play, etc.); List activities:
see activities listed on page 58 of Storytime book

©1997, Caroline Musselwhite & Pati King-DeBaun, Emergent Literacy Success: Merging Technology and Whole Language


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998.

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