Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary
Description: The Monkey Goes Bananas is not just one of my favorite new releases of the year, it is one of my favorites of all time. It’s a simple story with very few words, allowing for plenty of opportunities for your learner to tell the story. And it’s funny! Every learner I’ve introduced it to has loved seeing how the monkey tries to get the bananas.
Skills & Modifications: There are no modifications that I make when using this book with my students. I do use it to practice a range of skills, detailed below.
Picture Comprehension – Because the book has so few words, the reader must be able to look at all aspects of the picture and comprehend what is taking place. For example, on the first pages, a monkey sits on an island across from another island with a banana tree. The reader must be able to look at the picture and comprehend that the monkey wants to get the bananas.
Identifying Emotions – The illustrations in the book are fantastic. The monkey is very expressive, which makes it ideal for working on identifying emotions with both neurotypical young learners and learners with autism.
Cause & Effect – I love using this book to talk about cause and effect with young learners. The book is just a series of actions with explicit causes and effects, making it very easy to introduce and practice the concept.
Identifying Problems and Solutions – The basic framework of the book is that the monkey has a problem, the next page he attempts a solution, then a new problem occurs, so he addresses that problem with a potential solution, and so on. It provides lots of opportunities for learners to identify problems and explain what the monkey did to solve them.
Reading with Expression – While there are very few words in the book, the size of the font gives readers a clue about how to read it. It’s a great way to introduce reading with expression to very young readers. Several of the students I’ve introduced it to get very excited about being able to read it and engage with the emotion the monkey feels on each page.
Pros: The learners I’ve introduced the book to have been really engaged with the book. I’ve mentioned several times here at the blog that shared laughter is a huge thing I’m looking for in finding materials for use with kids with autism. This book gets kids laughing and is so motivating it allows me to practice lots of challenging skills.
Cons: If your learner greatly struggles with picture comprehension, then this is not the best selection for them at this point. Without the ability to comprehend the pictures, the book loses its best qualities and should be introduced at a later point.
Extending the Lesson – There are a variety of follow-up activities you could do with this book depending on the interests of your individual learner, such as drawing a picture about what happens next, discussing other solutions the monkey could have come up with for each problem, or looking at other pictures and describing what’s happening in them.
Cost: $14.95 You should invest in this book if: you are seeking humorous material for young readers, looking for reading materials that can be enjoyed by siblings of different ages, or are seeking ways to practice the skills described above.
ABLLS: J4, J20
VB-MAPP: Linguistic Structure 15