A quick summery of the books my little ESL students request time and time again. This list is build by the children… honestly I get sick of reading a few of these titles, but the kids are learning so I don’t truly mind 🙂
Peppa Pig Nursery Rhymes and Songs Picture Book and CD I’ll start out with this one, because it was adored by one of my youngest and least advanced English students. The tunes are catchy and easy to learn, and even though Peppa Pig isn’t my personal favourite, she LOVED this book and asked for it every week. Sometimes we would make a craft to go with one of the songs. For example the song “Big Balloon” we crafted a hot air balloon using a regular rubber balloon, some string and a tea box. Then we cut out little paper dolls that looked like Peppa and her brother, and they road in the basket.
Five Little Ducks. This is another book for the very little learners, I would say ages 2-3, maybe 4 years. After that they find it boring 😉 But for the very little ones, it’s enchanting and the song is easy to learn. I highly recommend it for beginner preschool ESL students. I wrote a post pertaining to this book and added some links to free printables so that the children can make their own duck puppets. They love to sing the song and reenact the story using their self-made puppets.
You Chose This is a darling book and it works for so many levels of English learners. Again, my very youngest/least advanced learners love this book as well as my older one. It’s basically a “choose your own ending book” but every page is a “choose your own” adventure, so each time you read it the story changes. I also found that my students had their favourite items that they continually went to, which motivated them to learn the vocabulary that went with it ;-). For example “If I could travel any way I wanted, I would go by pirate ship!” Or, “If I could eat anything, I would eat ice-cream cones, pineapple and pancakes!”
George Shrinks is a lovely picture book that the children continually request. The English world “shrink” isn’t usually known by my students but it’s a great way to teach it. Some of the pages don’t have words, but the details in the drawings tell the story. I didn’t expect this book to be such a big hit with the kids, but for whatever reason, they love it! The story is simple, one morning George wakes up and he is small. He must go through his regular morning routine and list of chores but because of his size George needs to get creative!
Quick as a Cricket is a personal favourites. I did a post on this book suggesting a game and activity that you can use to teach the vocabulary. The illustrator, Don Wood, does an amazing job and some of Audrey and Don Woods’ books have won awards. If you don’t own any of their books, I highly recommend them. Another one of my favours by the Woods is The Napping House. I don’t own the book at the moment so I can’t speak to how well the children would enjoy it, but I’m going to try and get my hands on a copy soon. It is a repeating book, so I’m thinking that it will be a good addition to my collection.
If you give a moose a muffin. This book is taking a step up to the intermediat level in English comprehension, but the story is whimsical and the idea of a small child letting a moose in the house and then feeding it muffin is something that children find enchanting. This is a great book to read if you want to do some baking with the child/children. The words “moose” “muffins” and “jam” will become established vocabulary in little learning minds. One student even gifted me socks with moose on them and a jar of jam after his summer travels to Norway where he saw his first moose!
Biggest, Strongest, Fastest is also an intermediate level for vocabulary, but I love to use it for working on comparatives. The book looks at the world recored holders of the animal kingdom. It gives a comparative to human size or strength and it’s easy to turn the book into a game of “which animal is ________ ?” One time a student and I used this book to make trivial cards for her to take home and test her family members. The only disadvantage to this scientific little read is that it uses the imperial system (inches, feet, pounds, miles, etc.).
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Another great children’s classic that works for advanced beginners and intermediate little learners. It’s especially fun for learning food vocabulary! Children are drawn into a world where food falls from the sky, but when the weather takes a turn for the worst, the town of Chewandswallow is in danger with storms of pancakes, Brussel sprouts, overcooked broccoli, spaghetti and meatballs. This would be a great book to read on a day that you want to do some cooking or try a new food!
I have linked all of the books to the Book Depository, because they ship for free world wide! It’s where I order most of my books. If you are more of an Amazon person, then the links are below. Happy learning!