100 books every child should read: early years (part 2)


Must-read books for ESL classes: early years

Let’s start with my very own choice of books to use in ESL classes in the early years. I’m going to begin with a selection of books from three authors who appear in the three lists mentioned in 100 books every child should read: early years (part 1). These authors are: Eric Carle, Bill Martin Jr and Dr. Seuss.

Why these authors?

Easy. They are considered must-read books, have been chosen by ESL authors and play an important role in the childhood of native speakers. In contrast to graded readers, they help children to learn English as a second language and at the same time expose them to the target culture by using authentic material.

Why these books?

Again Easy. These authors have many titles, some even more popular than the ones chosen here, but the language and the length of the stories isn’t appropriate for ESL students in their early years.

Which age and level are they chosen to be used with?

This is a bit more difficult. They can be used with students from 3 to 8 yrs old. I have used these books with students with only a couple sessions of half an hour a week and also with students in bilingual programs. The difference of using them between one or the other program is in the length of time available to work with them and the amount and difficulty of the activities related to them. When students have little exposure to English a week I work on one story for a whole trimester and the activities are more related to the acquisition of the main vocabulary. Whereas in bilingual programs I could move from one story to the next every month and I could even use cross curricular activities, such as the lifecycle of the caterpillar when dealing with the famous Eric Carle’s book.

Which books are we talking about and which advantages do they have in the ESL classes?


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