From an early age, children notice and appreciate patterns in the world around them. Patterns and sequences of different kinds begin to pop up all over the place, especially in the books that children love.
Many children’s books contain patterns because that supports literacy development. Children use language and picture patterns to “read” predictable books. Patterns in stories allow children to predict what will happen next. Here are some of our favorite read alouds that invite children to make use of patterns to “read” along with you.
Pattern Bugs by Trudy Harris
This colorful and fun picture book is full of visual and verbal patterns. Not only do you see worms crawling with every other one arching its back, creating a pattern, you will also find that same pattern in the words of the poem, such as”flutter-float, flutter-float,” and in the decorative border on the page. Have children help to find all the illustrations that share the same pattern structure (AB, ABBA, etc.) on any given page. A pattern hunt like this highlights the Big Idea that the same pattern structure can be found in different forms.
Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
This classic book illustrated by Eric Carle is on virtually any list of great books to have in the classroom. And it has a clear pattern that young children can quickly notice, and also repeat. Teachers and parents can ask children to identify the words that repeat to help them see the regularity and rhythm in the story.
I Went Walking by Sue Williams
This vibrant storybook is similar to Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? in some ways, but it adds some interesting complexity to a pattern story. As the red-haired boy comes across different animals on his stroll, the menagerie of creatures trail him on his walking journey. The illustrations reveal a growing pattern. Each page adds one more animal to the long line of followers.
The Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood
Here is one we recommend often. The illustrations in The Napping House are fun and humorous and provide a great opportunity for children to identify a plus-one growing pattern. As the characters pile one by one onto the bed for a nap, each page clearly shows the growing, linear sequence and foreshadows what comes next. You can find an example of two teachers exploring this book in our Focus on the Lesson video Who is Napping?