By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris
The grasshopper chirpeth, the lamb bleateth, the owl hooteth. Animal sounds are found in so many books and songs for children, including the first known picture book written for children, published in 1659.
What makes animal sounds so important that they’ve been taught to young children for centuries? Not only are they fun and engaging to say and hear, but they help kids hear and practice some of the many sounds that make up their language.
Sounds build together to create syllables, which create words. So being able to hear those different sounds and syllables helps kids break down words to decode and understand them when they’re ready to read.
Below are a few activities you can do together to have fun with sounds.
Watch these videos
In this first video, Miss Jenny and Miss Shelley talk about using sounds to explore the world around us and introduce two wonderful animal books. In Marta Big & Small, Marta meets a wide variety of animals, named in English and Spanish. What sounds do they make? Can you have a conversation in those animal sounds?
In the second video, Miss Shelley has a very silly farm! What sounds would your stuffed animals make?
Read these books
Looking for fun books with animal sounds? Try these!
Marie Torres Cimarusti’s Peek-A series is a favorite of your librarians, and often used in storytimes.
Listen to real animal sounds on Hoopla! How do they sound the same or different from how you say them?
What kind of animal says GAV-GAV in Russian, Bo-Bo in Hindi, and WOW-WOW in Spanish? Explore animal sounds from around the world on Hoopla »
After you’ve practiced what a cat says, learn how they purr! Nonfiction books are great for all ages to increase vocabulary and expand learning. If the content is too challenging, you can summarize words and describe photographs together. Check out How Do Cats Purr? »
Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.