Header image- At the top is a stack of bookson a white background. Text reads "7 adorable books for early verbs"

7 Adorable Books for Early Verbs

Books are a great way to target early language, especially early verbs, at home and in your Early Intervention sessions. You can target so many different goals with books. And you can coach parents and caregivers to use language facilitation strategies while reading books too.   Keep reading for the 7 books I think every EISLP should use in their sessions to teach early verbs.

Why are verbs important?

Verbs, (AKA action words), are a crucial part of language development.  Although children’s early vocabulary is very noun-heavy, verbs help children communicate in increasingly complex ways.  Every sentence needs a verb, and verbs help children to begin using early phrases and sentences (typically around 2 years old). 

Generally speaking, children learn present tense verbs first. Then they learn the present progressive tense (eating, drinking, kicking, etc.). This list of 7 adorable books for early verbs is perfect for modelling verbs in the present and present progressive tenses during your EI sessions.

How can books help children learn early verbs?

You can target a huge range of goals using books. They are perfect for teaching new vocabulary, including early verbs. The repetitive nature of many books for young children means they are hearing the target words repeated multiple times. And the illustrations help to reinforce the vocabulary too!

Early language strategies to use while reading books

Title reads 5 early language strategies to use with books. Underneath is a bullet pointed list- pausing, offer choices, be face-to-face, copy and add, follow their lead. In the right corner is an open book for decoration.

You can use a range of language facilitation strategies while reading books. 5 effective early language strategies I encourage parents and caregivers to use are:

  • Pausing- when the child is familiar with the book/story, pause at the predictible parts so the child can fill in the blank.
  • Offer choices- offer the child a choice of two books to read.
  • Be face-to-face- Sit with the child, preferably opposite each other, so the child can see your face and the book at the same time. Hold the book up to your face whne modelling key words, so they see the book and your face at the same time.
  • Copy and add- Repeat what the child has said and add another word on that is relevant to the picture/story.
  • Follow their lead- Watch what the child is doing while you read the book and follow their lead. For example, if they want to linger on a page while reading, let them do that and continue talking about what you can see. Similarly, if they want to flick through the pages quickly and are disinterested, don’t force it!

Check out these Early Language Handouts for more parent-friendly ideas of language strategies to use while reading books and playing with a range of other toys.

7 adorable books for early verbs every EISLP should know

Picture of the 'Baby's Catalogue' set of books (Janet and Allan Ahlberg) and the text reads "these books are perfect for little hands and are great for modelling early verbs.
  1. ‘Peepo’- Janet and Allan Ahlberg
    This book is perfect for modelling early verbs. The book focuses on a young baby and what he can see throughout the day.  The pictures show a huge range of different actions and activities, so you have tonnes to talk about, and multiple opportunities to model those target words.
  2. ‘The Baby’s Catalogue’- Janet and Allan Ahlberg
    This simple book is perfect for young children. It focuses on simple actions within familiar daily routines. There are multiple pictures on each page with minimal text, so you have plenty of opportunities to model and repeat those early verbs while looking at the pictures.
  3. ‘Baby’s Big Box of Little Books’- Janet and Allan Ahlberg
    I love this set as the small books are perfect for little hands.  There are 9 books included in the set, and each book focuses on a different activity or routine.  There is minimal text, so you can talk about what is happening in the pictures while modelling those early verbs.
  4. ‘Bouncing Babies’- Helen Oxenbury
  5. ‘Clap Hands’- Helen Oxenbury
    These books by Helen Oxenbury are great for modelling early verbs. They show young children doing different actions during play, so they are ideal for sharing with young children.  Both of these books are great for encouraging imitation of early actions too!
  6. ‘Everywhere Babies’- Susan Meyers
    I adore this book. It is beautifully illustrated and shows children doing a range of actions in play and daily routines. The pictures provide so many opportunities to model a range of language, including those early verbs!
  7. ‘Busy…’ Series by Campbell Books (Available for a range of themes, i.e., Busy Town, Busy Park, etc.)
    The ‘Busy…’ series is great for keeping little hands busy! There are things to move and turn on every page, so you can model words like “push”, “pull”, “turn”, etc. But not only that, every page has detailed pictures that show characters doing various actions, so there is loads to talk about!
Picture of the book 'Everywhere Babies' by Susan Meyers. The text reads "the pictures provide so many opportunities to model a range of language, including those early verbs"

I hope you have found some new books for early verbs to add to your collection! Do you have any other books for early verbs that you think I should add to mine? Let me know in the comments!