We're all familiar with "I Know an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly," and it's many variations and renditions.
In Texas one of the TEKS is to expose kids to different genres and styles of literature. Cumulative books are a fun way to do that, and they're great for building literacy.
Cumulative book- a book that expands and repeats itself with each new page.
Reasons they're good for literacy:
1. It's easy to predict. By the end of the book the kids are "reading "along.
2. They often rhyme, enhancing phonemic awareness.
3. They are usually high interest so kids want to read them over and over again.
4. Easy meter for reading, that aids fluency.
Lessons that can be done with the "Old Woman" books.
1. Make a puppet and act out the story again, there are several versions, the most common uses a ziploc sandwich bag. For ours we used the smaller size manila envelopes and cut a hole for her mouth. The kids had fun drawing the Old Woman. Pictures for "An Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly" and for "An Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie" and finally because I just found it "An Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell."
2. With a class or by polling several people in the larger group you can find out what everyone's favorite thing is that she ate. You can then graph it, and tie in math.
3. The original version of "I Know an Old Lady......" is good for predicting what she will swallow next because there are holes to show what is happening. The other versions depending on the rhyming can also help with prediction because of the rhymes in them.
4. Finally Enchanted Learning, which if you haven't checked out that site has a slew of ideas and printables for many different topics has some wonderful printables for the original version, with many extensions.
I couldn't do justice to the topic of cumulative books without bringing up two more, that sadly don't have many printables online.
First, "The House that Jack Built," which I believe predates any others, and is a wonderful nursery rhyme. This would be wonderful to compare the two stories and see which one they prefer. I'm guessing they will prefer "I Know an Old Woman...."
Second, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." There are several picture books for this song, and from my teaching days I have a wonderful worksheet about it, but I have no clue where it came from. So, I'll explain some of the things I did with it.
1. Put the days and cards in order. This is a wonderful song for number order and counting backwards. Here is the best coloring pages I found.
2. For older kids, upper elementary, how many presents did she get each day? How many did she get in all?
3. Comparing numbers and quantity. What type of thing did she receive the most of? Did she receive more birds or more food?
4. Music appreciation. You can listen to the many different versions. My favorite version from childhood is the Muppets singing this song. Then as an adult I heard the Veggietales 8 Polish Foods of Christmas, and really enjoyed it. Compare the different ways the songs are heard.
Do you have any cumulative books that you enjoy? What is your favorite version of "I Know an Old Lady...."