This is a bit of a new thing for me but I am passionate about books and reading and I’ve wanted to pass this onto my boys. We have 100’s of books in the house and when we moved in the movers said ‘are you planning to start your own library then??’ We don’t have them on shelves around the cottage just in the boys rooms, playroom and in some wardrobes upstairs. I use the wardrobes like a library in that I change the boy’s books in their rooms regularly and find books they need for themes they are looking at school. Do I spend £100’s on books? No. I buy mainly from charity shops -4 for £1 for the latest lot of Horrible Histories for Ollie. They don’t need to be expensive but they do need to be in your house…
The first book I’m going to chat about (eulogise over!) is a book that all 3 of the boys have loved. It’s called ‘Counting Colours’ and is published by Priddy Books. (ISBN 978-1-84332-163-7) I bought it from a book party when Ollie was tiny some 6 ish years ago but you can buy it from amazon easily. I’ve also bought it as presents for other little ones and have heard really good reports back about it.
Why do we like it?
Well, it’s a well laid out, well thought out book about colours and also counting. Each double page opens out to show one colour and all the photographs around it are to do with that colour. In the border there are things the children have to find and also the number of them they have to find i.e. ‘1 tractor, 3 elephants etc.’ The boys love finding all the things they have to and the questions that arise out of them finding are fabulous! Using photographs for younger children has been researched (I’m sorry I can’t locate the research but this was told to me over 10 years ago whilst at teacher training collage) and it has been shown that they relate more to photographs of real things rather than just a drawing.
Children need to learn categories in order to classify things they come across. The brown page has chocolates on but they aren’t all the same, it also has loaves of bread which again are all different so children will begin to recognise that things can be categorised but then items can still be different within these categories. The author’s also make the photos different sizes or take them from different angles so items may be photographed from the side, top and also can be enormous but very small too. Items can be superimposed on top of items making them smaller or larger than they actually are. This is a great talking point with the boys –’Is a gold fish really bigger than a handbag?’ it gets the boys to think about things in a slightly different way. This book doesn’t just build on their counting skills but it also lends itself to let them think and formulate their own ideas.
Looking for all of the items really practises scanning (looking over a page to find what you need) which is needed to follow a line of text whilst reading. Try to make sure they are moving their eyes whilst looking and not their heads as this could cause problems later on. A child who moves their head whilst reading and writing can give similar symptoms of dyslexia as the words and numbers can move.
This book is great for working memory. They have to search the page to find the items whilst counting but holding that number in their head and then adding when they find the next item. This is really good for developing the mental skills they will need for subjects such as Maths and especially mental Maths where a calculation may need to be done in more than 1 step.
Looking at all the different pictures really broadens their vocabulary. My lot didn’t know what limes were so I had to describe them and we then later found them in the supermarket so looking at pictures in a book really does spill over into real life.
Things to do with the book…
Start with asking them to think about colours, can they name any? What’s their favourite? Why is their favourite? Tell them your favourite. Ask them which page they would like to start on and go straight to that page. This is a fab ‘dip in and out of’ book that doesn’t need to be ‘read’ from the start. There are lots of things that the children love to talk about – on the brown page the teddy is sat on the horse, on the orange page the goldfish looks like it’s in a glass of orange juice and on the white page the goose has a necklace on. We chat about these before starting the counting. With my youngest we purely count but with my middle son we look the letters of the printed colour label in the middle of the page, he loves to tell me what the letters are!
When the children tire, leave the book for another time. We’ve used this as a bedtime story, 10 min filler in the car but also the boys take it off the shelf whenever they want it. I think they do tire easily as they are using a lot of brain power to digest all of the information don’t forget they are very active in using this book rather than just being read to from a book that they may look at the pictures afterwards.
See which pages they go to more frequently. Mine love the orange page as there is a tiger on it and don’t really go to the white page despite there being rabbits on which we have just bought and is still very exciting. My lot find the white page harder to find the things on and I’m not sure why. Now I’ve noticed this I do turn to the white page more to get their eyes used to looking for white items on a white background.
A fab book all round that we love. Well-made as it’s lasted and it’s large and the pages are very stiff so my 2 year old is fine to use it by himself – he’s the phantom page ripper in our house! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have :o)