Category Archives: Toddler’s English Class

Meet The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

What can I say???  I love this book!  Growing up, we had the full version and I loved each page of it.  Especially the phrase “I think I can!”

I wanted to share the message of “I think I can!” with the Mamas and Kids in my Toddler’s class.  However, the full story would have been more than the Mamas would have been able to learn to read to their kiddos.  So, I searched and searched and searched. 

This particular book is a Beginning Reader’s version.  Not many words, same cute pictures, and “I think I can!” nicely repeated.  Of course, when I read it aloud, I multiply the times we shout “I think I can!” while bouncing up and down, to my heart’s content.

So, this is not the full story – but it is great for ESL.  Give it a try.  This particular book has another story about the Little Engine and a Hippo.  Hmmm.  We won’t use that one in class, though, if you have a child, they may enjoy it too.

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Super Simple Songs by Knock Knock English

Knock Knock English has produced three Super Simple Songs music CD’s and one phonics CD that are just awesome for Early Learners – whose original language is Japanese or English.

We have been using Super Simple Songs 1 and 3 for the past few months at home and in Toddler’s Class.  The producers of these CD’s have two different approaches to the songs included. 

They simplify songs that are already out there.  For example –

If You Are Happy

And they slow them down.  My Toddler’s Mamas were so  happy that they could finally catch the words to Old McDonald on SSS CD #3.

Or they create original tunes to teach those basics such as colors, numbers, etc. in fun and easy ways.  Lots of repetition, simple tunes, and essential vocabulary.

Jun has picked up many songs just from listening to the CD’s.  With no help from me!  I was shocked!

We just got CD #2 and the Phonics CD and accompanying book.  Jun went bed the other night singing “a  a  a  a  apple.”  I think we will be just as pleased with these CD’s as we are with #1 and #3!

Check out their Website at the link above.  They have many helps, samples of the music, videos of the songs, teacher hints, and more on their website.  They are a Tokyo based school and the service is REALLY good.  I get the CD’s the next day (I’m in Saitama).  They also sell overseas, so don’t hesitate to check them out.  They take PayPal too!

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Toddler Play by Dr. Wendy S. Masi

While browsing through a bookstore this spring, Misty, Mama to three toddlers including twins born on Jun’s birthday, recommended this book.  I got it and started flipping through it as soon as we got back to the hotel.  Before I knew it, Jun had taken over possession of it.  We have folded over the corners of her favorite songs so we can find them quickly.  There are lots of activities other than songs, but, so far, I have mostly used the songs. 

I have simplified some of the songs for my Toddler’s class too.  I like it that they are all to familiar tunes!  Being somewhat musically challenged, I appreciate that a lot!  It makes it easier for my Mama’s in class to remember them too.

The book is broken down into age groups also, which is convenient as your Toddler grows up.  Well, I’d tell you more about the book, but Jun noticed I had it out, and has absconded with it again and is singing the train song somewhere behind me!

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr / Eric Carle

When I saw my niece, Mollie Ann, reading this book to Junnie, I was smitten.  Then, when I heard Junnie “reading” the book to herself, well, the book got an A+ from me.

It teaches the names of animals and colors in a SIMPLE, repetative, sing-song kind of poem verse.  Japanese kids were repeating after me in class the first time I brought it out!

The pictures by Eric Carle are familiar to many who love The Hungry Caterpillar.  This book is also in Japanese, so was familiar to some, and was very easy for the Mama’s in my Toddler’s English Class to learn to read to their kiddos at home.

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I Love You Through and Through by Rossetti-Shustak

I chose to use this book for Jun and my new Toddler and Mama class, for the two months we will be teaching the names of body parts.

Ryu and I bought it for Jun’s six month birthday.  It brought tears to my eyes as I read it through in the store.

I have been teaching kids classes for a long time.  One little boy and his Mama live in our building, so we play a lot and talk a lot outside of class as well.  She once told me how lucky I was because I could tell her little guy I loved him (in English).  She said that she wants to be able to tell him this, but it just isn’t natural to say in Japanese.

So, that’s why I chose this book to share with the Japanese Mama’s.  Yes, it teaches the words for hair and toes, walking and talking.  But, it most importantly uses the words “I LOVE…” over and over. 

I really hope the Mama’s and kids come away a tad bit closer through using this book.

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