If you regularly read to the younger set, toddlers through primary grades, you know how much they enjoy predictable books. These stories use the elements of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition to help young children enjoy delightful tales while developing awareness of language patterns, recognizing of basic sight words, and building prediction skills.
There are several types of predictable books. Circle stories have endings that lead right back to the beginning, like the IfYou Give a Mouse series by Laura Numeroff. Cumulative tales build action while repeating the previous actions, such as the 1968 Caldecott winner, Drummer Hoff by Barbara Emberley.
Books using sequences common to little ones' experiences help them learn days of the week, months of the year, or sequences of numbers. The old favorite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, is an example of a predictable book using familiarsequence. Pattern stories provide that predictable factor which allows the young audience to anticipate the second and third goats will encounter the troll in The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
The repetition of some predictable stories encourages little listeners to chime in on the repeated parts. ". . . where everyone is sleeping" is the recurring phrase in Audrey Wood's delightful book, The Napping House.Rhyme helps children predict the next word and perhaps learn some new vocabulary. "Sheep in a jeep on a hill that is ____."
You will notice many stories can fit into several categories of predictable books. This just reinforces all that children can learn from these types of books. They are good springboards to writing activities using the patterns observed in the book. With the strong support of the predictable text students can feel like "real" writers. Anticipation of repeated words and phrases positions pre- and neophyte readers to feel accomplished in mastering text.
Check out these lists of predictable books to find some good ones to share with the little literature lovers in your life.