Thursday, August 31, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: Can an Aardvark Bark?

I've decided to take the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge presented by my fellow Pasadenan Alyson Beecher and today I'm sharing the book Can an Aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

The whole book is so beautiful and so simple that it could be shared in a storytime, and then pulled down from the shelf later by curious children who can pore over its information about animals in solitude and wonder.

What makes this book so perfect for storytime is that it lends itself to interaction and noise! You could ask the kids if they can bellow like a giraffe, or bark like a seal, or whine like a porcupine! You can find sound clips of the animals making these sounds too, but it might be better for developing preschoolers to start by using their imaginations to invent what they think a giraffe bellow sounds like.

Learning animal sounds has many benefits for early literacy. I've especially seen benefits for children with special needs. My son, who is autistic, was unable to say more than 30 words at age 2 1/2, but he could say many animal sounds. Animal sounds were a substantial portion of his early vocabulary.

Here is one of my favorite flannelboards dealing with animal sounds. First, I put all the sounds up haphazardly and incorrectly, and ask the preschoolers to help me put the words where they are supposed to go. Kids get print knowledge, phonetic awareness, and so much fun out of doing this!

Want to find more great nonfiction picture books? I post new nonfiction books to the Pasadena Public Library's Children's Book Suggestions LibGuide as we get them. I also have archived lists available for download as PDF files.

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