The Best Stories for Children to Learn English
Children's stories that are in English are one of the best resources we can find to help our children learn the language.
Children’s stories are one of the best resources we can find to help our children learn English. It’s necessary to choose them well, of course. In order for children to learn English, the stories must have certain characteristics that motivate and help them to learn the language, whether it’s their first or second language.
- First of all, they’re motivators. Children find them attractive, especially those with illustrations. They also get their attention very easily.
- They use simple and repetitive vocabulary that will certainly help them understand the story and remember the vocabulary.
- The illustrations help them understand their meaning.
- It’s one of the best ways to find vocabulary in a meaningful context for children.
- They read them over and over again, which helps them become familiar with vocabulary and expressions.
- Children can also learn cultural differences through stories and their characters.
- We can find a lot of resources online related to the story (videos, songs, games…)
In my experience as a mother and English teacher, these books are certainly the ones that children like best and are ideal for learning English at home:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. The story of the greedy caterpillar, a classic in British children’s literature, is one of my favorites. It’s a caterpillar that’s born on a Sunday and eats different foods during the week. This book is ideal for learning the days of the week as well as food names in English.
- Dear Zoo, by Rod Cambell. None of the animals that arrive from the zoo can be used as pets. Not the elephant, who is too big, or the giraffe, who is too tall… When the story ends, they don’t find the perfect animal to have as a pet. It’s best for learning zoo animals and adjectives also.
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle. It’s a repetitive book about animals and colors. It has excellent illustrations and is also attractive and memorable. The brown bear, the blue horse, the green frog, the lilac cat, the red fish, the black sheep, the white dog, the golden fish, the yellow duck… You can surely find a lot of resources online about this story; from videos and songs to games and coloring sheets.
- Ketchup On Your Cornflakes, by Nick Sharratt. This book has super fun and easy questions that will cause lots of laughs. The book is split into two parts, so there are silly questions, such as: “Do you like ketchup in your cereals?” or “Do you like toothpaste in your toast?” Children love it. It’s ideal for learning vocabulary because the images illustrate the word; it also helps children with food names and other words since they have to answer the questions: “Do you like…?”
- Handa’s Surprise, by Eileen Browne. Handa is a girl who lives in Kenya and one day decides to surprise her friend Akeyo with a basket of seven delicious fruits. On the way to reach her friend’s tribe, she wonders which fruit will be the one that her friend likes best. However, distracted in her thoughts, she’ll meet different animals that will make her surprise herself by the end of the story. This book is very useful to learn the vocabulary of fruits, animals, and the culture of the African continent. There are also lots of resources about this story on the internet.
Likewise, there are audiobooks on the market also. These books come in CDs where there’s a recording of the story being read by an English-speaking person. Moreover, these types of books can help us a lot if we’re not sure of our own English-speaking level or if we want to improve it.
So, why not take the opportunity to introduce stories in English to our family? Learning English at home with our children has never been so easy and fun.