Books That Teach: A Speech-Language Pathologist's Favorite Children’s Books by Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
As a speech-language pathologist, I enjoy finding children’s books that are not only entertaining, but provide fundamental language skills, social awareness and literacy skills. Parents and teachers alike should look for books that provide these skills while engaging children’s interests. Foundational skills including phonological awareness skills like rhyming, enriching vocabulary, social skills and critical thinking skills are important skills I look for in children’s books.
1. Dilly Duck Plays All Day
My new favorite book, Dilly Duck Plays All Day by Holly DiBella-McCarthy, is just the kind of children’s book I love because it enriches kindergarten readiness and language skills! DiBella-McCarthy is a former preschool and special education teacher and administrator who understands the readiness skills children need to succeed. Her book encourages rhyming, pre-reading skills, science, math skills and is embedded with rich vocabulary. The illustrations provide a variety of emotions, descriptive colors and beautiful nature scenes.
At the end of the book, the author provides critical thinking questions. I like to use this book to describe character traits and their differences. This book is great to discuss the story elements of characters, settings, problems and solutions, as well as retelling a sequential story with beginning, middle and end. The author describes in her biography, a true story about her childhood and how her pet duck named Dilly helped her grow her voice and confidence. In addition, DiBella-McCarthy’s website provides free resources, and kindergarten readiness extension activities. Dilly has made a splash on my book shelf!
2. Bee, Honey Bunny and Me
Another favorite children’s book of mine is Bee, Honey Bunny and Me by speech-language pathologist Lavallee Carlson. Carlson was inspired by the children she has worked with and her loving granddaughter Leni. Bee, Honey Bunny and Me is a sweet book about nature, friendship and picky eaters. The whimsical characters and beautiful illustrations explore Leni’s dream about meeting new friends and their shared dislike for carrots.
The story provides supportive language, science and the awareness of the role bees have in our environment, as well as providing a recipe that picky eaters will love! I use this book with children who struggle with feeding aversion issues. Children can connect with Honey Bee and Leni and learn to explore foods in creative ways. There are other resources provided by the author at HoneyBunnysBurrow.com and other language based books she shares on SlpStorytellers.com.
3. Rissy No Kisses
Physical Therapist Katie Howes is the author of Rissy No Kisses, an informative children’s book about personal boundaries. Rissy is a love bird who doesn’t like kisses ... they make her feel uncomfortable, but her family and friends think that she is either sick, confused or just plain rude. I love how Howes helps build the readers acceptance of differences and provides social-emotional support with her message, “your body and your heart are yours, and you choose how to share.”
The author provides information to kids, parents and educators about bodily autonomy, consent and different ways to show affection. I enjoy using this book with all children, but especially those who may feel uncomfortable with physical means of affection. This book does not try to make children feel that they must comply with others expectations, but rather improves the awareness of the acceptance of everyone’s personal boundaries. The author has free resources and lessons at KatyHowes.com plus information on other magical books that she has published.
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