Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary
Description: This fun story is about a baby woodpecker whose father is teaching it to peck a tree. The baby loves pecking so much, that he ends up exploring multiple rooms inside a house and pecking everything he sees. Each set of pages has words on the left telling what he pecked (such as “I peck the hat. I peck the mat, the tennis racket, and the jacket.”) and a picture of those items within the room on the right side. Each item that has been pecked by the bird has a little hole cut out of it.
Skills & Modifications: One of the things that I really love about this book is how it builds slowly. When the baby woodpecker first begins pecking, he only pecks one item on each page, then four, then five, etc. It gives the student time to grasp the concept before more items and “pecks” are shown on one page. Because the book is arranged this way, it requires little modification.
You may want use a visual prompt to increase the interaction with the book. Above, the first cue is a picture you can print out on cardstock and laminate. The learner can hold it and use it to “peck” the book. The second is a template for creating a felt finger-puppet the learner can wear and use to “peck” the book. Either of these would be useful in increasing motivation and attention for engaging with the book and practicing the skills listed below.
- Scanning – I love that this book slowly increases the difficulty of the scanning by increasing the number of items on a page. For some students, you may need to cover a portion of the more difficult pages with a blank sheet of paper so there are fewer items to scan.
- Listening/Receptive Language – As you read each page, the student must be able to point to or “peck” the item on the page. This is great materials for practicing the skill of finding a named item. This is also great for testing for generalization once a child has mastered the identifying the items within.
- Imitation – I did not intend to teach imitation with this book. However, one my students got such a kick out of the baby bird, that he began to imitate the bird by pecking with his nose. We were both cracking up as I read, then he scanned the picture, found the item the bird had pecked, and pecked it himself with his nose.
Pros: Students were highly motivated by this book to practice skills that they are struggling with. One four year old boy who is resistant to practicing receptive language skills frequently requests this book now and enjoys the materials enough that he practices those skills voluntarily. It’s also easy to extend the lesson with new images (you can even copy pictures from other books by Lucy Cousins) and using a hole-punch to show where the woodpecker has pecked.
Cons: I’ve racked my brain, and come up empty. This is a fantastic and humorous book for engaging with young learners.
Cost: $15.99 You should invest in this book if: you are looking for materials to increase opportunities for interaction with the story, you are searching for materials that have a humorous aspect, or you are working with a preschooler or kindergartener.
ABLLS: A10, C9, C17, C43, D12
VB-MAPP: Listener Responding 4, Motor Imitation 5, Listener Responding 10