On May 23rd, 2021, Eric Carle, a prolific writer of children’s books passed away at the age of 91. During his lifetime, he wrote over 70 books and contributed greatly to the development of language skills in young children. Books like The Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? are just a few in his collection. 

The book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, presents a really good example of how he helped develop children’s language skills. In reading the book, the child is exposed to vocabulary in terms of various animals as well as color identification. As you read through the book, the question form is consistently repeated, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?” And the response uses the same repetitive statement format as well, “I see a red bird looking at me.” By the time a parent has gone through the book these two sentence patterns have been repeated 11 times. And how do preschoolers learn? Through repetition, repetition, repetition.  I’m sure they will be asking to have the story read again and again as well. Soon they will be able to “read” the book to you. Are they really reading, No, but they have memorized the sentences and are on the road to becoming readers. Through this repetitive process, your preschooler is expanding vocabulary skills, learning colors and animal names and how words are strung together in sentences. The repetition of these sentence patterns helps to integrate this knowledge to the brain creating neural pathways that insure learning is taking place. 

As a parent, you can take this learning further by using similar sentence patterns as you go for a walk in your neighborhood, pointing out the various things you see, ie: “I see a green tree” “I see a red car.” What do you see?”

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, is just one of the many books by Eric Carle that a parent can use to help develop their child’s language skills. Is it time for a trip to the library?