Growing Readers is a monthly article offering parents and caregivers information on early childhood development and how to foster young readers and learners.
Parents and caregivers recognize that many of a baby’s first words are names for animals: doggie, kitty, duckie.
"As young babies begin looking around their world, they are automatically attracted to things that move, are brightly colored, and are easy to see," Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., founder of the Baby Signs Program, writes. "They are fascinated by things that make interesting noises, are capable of interacting with them, and are unpredictable in what they do and how they behave."
The world of animals is tangible and therefore simple for young children to explore. Young children are also learning to communicate and to develop empathy and nurturing skills. Animals are an accessible recipient of these blossoming skills.
- Read picture books about animals.
- Sing songs like “Old MacDonald had a Farm” to learn animal sounds.
- Take turns pretending to be animals, and guess which animal the other person is trying to be.
- Play “which is bigger” using animals.
- Go for a walk or a hike (check out a Colorado State Parks pass), and count how many animals you see.
- Take a trip to a farm or the zoo, and then talk and read about the animals you see there.
- Play leapfrog to foster gross motor movement.
- Sign up to read to one of our licensed therapy dogs in our PAWS to Read program. Contact Monica Gould for more information about PAWS.
The library has many animal encyclopedias from National Geographic and DK with dynamic photos and interesting facts about animals all over the world.
“I also love ‘Everywhere the Cow says “Moo!”’ because it talks about how animal sounds are different in other languages,” said Miss Andrea. “In English the frog says, ‘ribbit,’ but in Spanish, la rana says ‘cruá cruá.’”