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Our final Book of the Week for this half term has been selected by Ellie from 2AM. She has chosen a firm favourite amongst Grimsdell children (and staff!) – Aliens Love Underpants.

Ellie’s choice, Aliens Love Underpants is written by Claire Freedman and illustrated by Ben Cort.

Ellie’s reason for her choice:

“This is such a funny story. It always makes my sister and I giggle!”

Mrs Harvey would also recommend this book – this humorous tale describes how aliens, rather than visiting Earth to take over the planet, really visit to steal your pants. Underpants are a source of humour whatever your reading age, even, it appears, when it comes to aliens!

Cort depicts some very attractive and friendly aliens in his illustrations, and some amazingly decorative underpants. Careful examination of the pictures reveals that these aliens are totally obsessed by underpants, with elaborate sculptural versions on plinths adorned by washing instructions. One of the spreads shows the aliens dropping from spacecraft to safety net/pants, and the page is turned through a right angle, text and all, to do so.

Freedman’s adventurously varied rhyming text introduces us to many different words for knickers, and an amazing collection of ways for aliens to wear them, and an excellent excuse for all those pairs which mysteriously go missing!

Picture books are the central component of our Reading for Pleasure initiative – providing the stimulus for leisure reading whilst developing literary prowess. I often talk about the misconception held about chapter books – chapter books are not necessarily more complex than picture books and in fact, their vocabulary and sentence structure can be considered simplistic when compared with older-level picture books. Many picture books are written at a higher reading level, use amazingly complex vocabulary, and offer interesting plots. The illustrations of a picture book help children understand what they are reading and allow young readers to analyse the story. Pictures provide visual clues to help us discover more about the narrative

Picture books allow children to practice the sounds of language and as parents, it’s our responsibility to introduce new and interesting words at every opportunity. The rhythm and rhyme in many picture books make for a great read-aloud and children learn words more easily when they hear them spoken often.

The repetition in many picture books allows a child to participate in the story. Young readers get excited when they can anticipate a forthcoming line and children learn skills like phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, and fluency. These books are often multi-sensory, which aids a child’s growing mind and stimulates their imagination. Not only do the children hear the story, but they also see the illustrations and smell and touch the pages.

Picture books can be a useful tool for teaching the concept of cause and effect. Before reading a picture book to your children, tell them to listen for keywords such as because, so, if, then, as a result of, etc. These types of words can usually be found in a story that has a cause-and-effect relationship. These texts help develop story sense. Children learn the beginning, middle, and end of a story and can often relate to the age-appropriate issues and conflicts presented in a picture book.

Picture books allow an entirely different, more interactive communication between parent and child, enabling parents to spend time talking with their children about the story, pictures, and words. This interaction builds reading comprehension. Picture books allow you to talk about what you see on each page, so be sure to talk about what happened in the story, ask about the characters, how they are feeling, and the events that took place.

In essence, picture books are fun and the key is to always make the reading experience fun and a time to look forward to. Reading should never be perceived as a chore. If you make reading a chore early on in a child’s development, they might grow to resent reading. Children who don’t naturally progress from picture books to chapter books may translate reading into working – more specifically, working that isn’t much fun.

Happy Reading!

Mrs Harvey