All the Words I Need to Know
40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
The development of oral language underpins our ability to communicate, and the development of vocabulary underpins oral language, and so the place of alphabet books should not be under-estimated. With the Australian Curriculum emphasis on little learners developing their oral literacy skills as the foundation for all literacy, and NSW requiring students to recognise, use and respond to familiar and specific vocabulary through explicit teaching, the place of these “first dictionaries” is now unequivocal in any collection that caters for young learners at home or school.
So while this new book joins a long list in this well-established genre, it will be a welcome addition with its pages connected by a young owl who is so exquisitely portrayed in Joyner’s illustrations so that it becomes so much more than a collection of objects and labels. Owl interacts with all the words in some way from dodging a speeding car to giving his sweetheart a bunch of red roses as family members and friends become an integral part of his adventures.
Most of the words featured will be familiar to the young reader and they will have fun predicting what the words say, delighting in their success while learning that the words we say can also be written down and thus, shared with others over time. And with the teaching of phonics also a key part of early reading instruction (a debate for another time) there is the opportunity for focusing on the beginning sound of each word and perhaps for the child to suggest and draw their own contribution.
The pairing of Godwin and Joyner is inspired to produce something that could have been another same-old into something unique.