Reading aloud helps develop essential competencies. Wright states that,
“Two of these competencies are vocabulary knowledge and world knowledge.
Through read alouds, children can learn the names and meanings of objects,
actions, people, and ideas all around them. At the same time, children can
learn how people, ideas, and things relate to one another, which is
critical background information for literacy development in the future.”
Autumn books are an excellent way for children to learn about language and
Infants: Looking at Trees:
It is important to read aloud to infants everyday. However, the goal is not
to get through the book, it is to make reading a joyful experience. Hearing
words and seeing pictures should be a part of an everyday routine. Infants
will explore books in their own way by mouthing them, playing with them by
opening, closing and dropping them or getting up in the middle of the story
and leaving to see something else that has caught their eye.
An interesting book to use with them is Look at a Tree by
Eileen Curran which explores the effects of the different season on trees
and the animals that call it home.
Clapping Autumn Words:
Encourage toddlers to participate in games that stimulate language and
promote phonological awareness. An easy clapping game is to clap out the
syllables of words. Start with clapping out the syllables of the names of
the toddlers such as one clap for Joyce, two claps for Maxwell and three
claps for Madeline. Go on to clap for the objects in the room such as one
clap for chair, two claps for table, three for basketball or the foods they
eat one for corn, two for pumpkin, and three for cucumber. Now do this game
with the words of a book like When Autumn Comes by Robert
Maass. Have them clap for the fall colors, the fall holidays like Halloween
and the different costumes and what we are thankful for at Thanksgiving.
Preschoolers: Role Playing/Leaf Crowns:
Sandra Duncan feels that “Nature beauty is a gift to our senses, mind, and
hearts… its greatest gift, however, is giving children a beautiful and
creative perspective of the world. It is vitally important for children to
experience bountiful opportunities for interacting with nature.” This can
begin with role playing. When children are outside have them watch the
leaves fall off the trees in autumn, then have them mimic the actions by
spreading out their arms and twirling around to the ground like a leaf.
Another leaf activity that’s fun to do is making leaf crowns. In Autumn
have the children collect colorful soft leaves and help them put the leaves
together in a circle attaching them to each other with toothpicks. These
make lovely Fall crowns where every child becomes a Fall King and Queen.
Have the children thank the trees for their leaves by hugging them. Joseph
Cornell in Sharing Nature With Children said, “Feel and
smell its bark and leaves. Quietly sit on or under its branches, and be
aware of all the forms of life that live in and around the tree and depend
The Earth Is More To Be Admired Than To Be Used.
(Henry David Thoreau)