5-A-Day Books

At the school where I teach we often rave about two early years educational specialists called Ros Bayley and Sue Palmer. They have such a fantastic understanding of young children’s development. They understand, what many professionals don’t, that children need to be children, first and foremost and that the best way for them to develop is through play.

My colleague and I went to a conference where they were speaking on early literacy skills and we picked up their publication called The Foundations of Literacy. It contains many brilliant, child-centred, fun, exciting ways to get literacy embedded in a child and we immediately loved it!

We implemented many, many of the ideas contained within the book and we saw results very quickly with the children.

One of the nicest ideas, and also the most simple, was what she terms “5-a-day-books”. The idea is that you choose 5 titles from among your usual books and read them the children every single day for at least a week. They suggest choosing short picture books which feature strong rhythm and simple rhyme, so that the children can quickly memorise the words and join in with the story-telling.

It worked brilliantly with the children in my class, and after a term of switching the 5-a-day books each week, they had memorised a huge number of books and developed a real love for the pictures and characters within them.

My husband and I have now started to follow the same 5-a-day scheme with our own toddler and she is already loving it!

She recognises the books as we pull them out and points to the pictures, lifts the flaps and “babbles” along while we read.

These are the 5 titles we are reading this week and maybe next week as well. I will post the new 5 books each time that we swap them over.

I will have lots more to say about Ros Bayley and Sue Palmer in the future, no doubt!

All Spot books are a special favourite at the moment. Particularly because they have SO many flaps!

This book is extremely simple and the pictures are very engaging.

A funny, simple, rhyming book with lots of different animals and good humour.

A simple, fun book full of textures and lots of puppies!

Always a favourite with children in my class! Rhyming and fun!


  1. says

    5-a-day sounds like a great idea. I’m amazed how little children learn books and “read” them with so much memory of the precise wording of the text.
    Do you think that “Foundations of literacy” is a good buy for parents or is it really more school related? I wasn’t sure when I looked on Amazon.
    Spot is a favourite here too as are some of the “It’s not my…” series.

  2. says

    I think it depends on whether or not you are following your own set curriculum or if you are allowing some flexibility. The Foundations of Literacy gives lots of lovely ideas for games to improve listening skills and also gives a very good understanding of how and why small children learn the way that they do. There is quite a good balance of theory and practice. If I had my own copy I would lend it to you so you could see if you liked it.