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Learning Through Predictable Books
by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP
What Are Predictable Books?
Predictable books are books that are written in a way that makes it easy to guess what will happen on the next page. Many predictable books repeat words, phrases, or sentences throughout the text. For example, in the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., the question “What do you see?” and the answer “I see a ___ looking at me.” repeat throughout the entire story. Deborah Guarino’s book Is Your Mama a Llama? is another kind of predictable book that uses rhyme and rhythm to help children solve riddles about animal mothers. Other predictable books build on storylines or sequences that are familiar to children. For example, Cookie’s Week, a story by Cindy Ward, follows the misadventures of a cat through the familiar sequence of the days of the week.
Why Are Predictable Books Important?
There are many benefits that come from reading predictable books with your children. Here are just a few:
  • Children learn pre-reading skills. As you begin to read books with your children, they learn pre-reading skills, such as reading from top to bottom, reading from left to right, and turning pages. They also learn that a story has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Children participate in reading. Predictable books are easy to understand and remember. Because of this, children become familiar with predictable books quickly, which allows them to fill in words and phrases when they read the books again.
  • Children learn about rhyme and rhythm. Many predictable books use rhyme and rhythm to make them predictable. As a result, children learn these skills as they read and re-read predictable books.
  • Children learn inflection in a natural way. We don’t usually speak in just one tone of voice. Inflection is the change between the high tones and low tones in our voices when we speak. Predictable books often have a rhythm that is read with a singsong inflection which is easier for children to imitate.
  • Children get additional speech practice. Because words and phrases are repeated in many predictable books, finding a book that repeats your children’s targeted speech sounds can give them additional speech practice as they read.
  • Children experience success with reading. Reading predictable books can make children feel successful with the skill of reading. Children who feel successful with reading will want to continue reading.
List of Predictable Books
There are many wonderful predictable books that you can read with your children. Here is just a small sample list. Your local library can assist you in finding more.
  • An Egg Is an Egg by Nicki Weiss
  • Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
  • Don’t Climb Out of the Window Tonight by Richard McGilvray
  • I Went Walking by Sue Williams
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
  • My Very Own Octopus by Bernard Most
  • This Is The Bear by Sarah Hayes
  • Where Does the Brown Bear Go? by Nicki Weiss
  • Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen
  • Who Says That? by Arnold L. Shapiro
 
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