picture books

Learning Prepositions the Fun Way

I learned how to locate a preposition in a sentence thanks to my seventh grade English teacher who had us diagram sentences found in our Warriner’s book.  While useful, I shudder when I think about learning that way.  It was incredibly boring and, well, old school.  It’s definitely not the way I want to teach Isabelle prepositions.

She’s nowhere near writing yet, but she needs to learn the meaning of prepositions.  Especially now that she’s walking.  I want to direct her to stand next to something or to walk around something.  Therefore, I need to make sure she understands what it is I’m talking about when I give her these directions.

Walking DOWN the sidewalk.

I’m a big fan of Grover’s “Over, Under, Around, and Through.” (See YouTube video below.)  I often sing the song when we’re outside of the house.  It’s cute, but it’s not going to be my sole source of instruction on prepositions.

Into the Outdoors by Susan Gal is a picture book that tells a lovely story about a family who is hiking and camping outside.  It’s loaded with prepositions, which are boldfaced in yellow throughout the book.  I’ve found the color change and the boldness forces me to change the way my voice sounds when I’m reading it aloud to Isabelle. I think this is a good thing since it will help her to take note of the words I’m emphasizing.

I have become more aware of the prepositions I use when I’m talking to Isabelle as a result of reading Into the Outdoors aloud to her.  For instance, I try to change the inflection of my voice (when I think of it) when I find myself using a preposition.  For instance, instead of saying, “I’m going to put you in your high chair.”  I say, “I’m going to put you in your high chair.”  I might say, “Would you like to go out to play on your swing?”  I give myself bonus points, in my head, when I manage to do the action of putting her in as I’m saying the word in to her.

Isabelle might be a little young for Into the Outdoors, but I think it’s never to early to start teaching concepts like beside, down, over, and up to my daughter.  What better way to do it than with a great little story about a family who is enjoying the outdoors on a camping trip?

Do you have a fun way that you use to teach prepositions to your child?  Please share your tips or ideas by leaving a comment.

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