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Review – Oxford Children’s Books: Move and Play

  • Review – Oxford Children’s Books: Move and Play

Teach Early Years explores how this engaging eight-strong picture book series can support young children’s learning and development in a variety of ways…

At a glance

● A new, brightly illustrated picture book series encouraging young readers to move and play!

● Uses educational kinesiology as a pedagogical approach for teaching reading.

● Provides excellent opportunities to practise movement, dancing and singing.

● Offers synergistic benefits in relation to physical and communication development.

● Ideal as a combined storytelling and movement intervention.

Stories that invite movement

The main vehicle of play is movement and it is through movement that children come to know and perceive the world around them, using their senses to communicate and establish relationships with the environment and others.

Combining movement, play and reading is a sure way of increasing children’s engagement and can be transformational to young learners as they develop their own independent approaches to interacting with texts. When it comes to literacy skills, movement is a key element.

Two new titles from Oxford Children’s Books, the first from the Move and Play series, invite movement through storytelling in which children are actively participating and joining in with the reading of the text.

I Want To Be A Duck and I Want To Be A Bunny introduce children to loveable animals and challenge them to imitate the animals’ movements.

In each title there is a special cut-out mask for children to wear, and page by page the animal characters show children what to do through simple and effective storytelling.

There are eight key actions for children to copy, and these join together at the end of the book into a song and a dance, which children access by scanning a QR code to view a zippy and quirky animation.

What these books do, then, is encourage children to get up and move while they are reading, and this movement helps them train and retain their focus, expend energy, and learn the skills needed to develop both mentally and physically.

Embedding a narrative with movement makes the movement aspect more enjoyable, requiring greater use of imagination by children. It is this combined intervention that early learners are likely to invest and engage with more compared to just movement or storytelling alone.

The illustrations are really what make these books special because they are full of fun and bright colours with a unique style that’s retro and whimsical. It is a visual cartoon language that enables children to express themselves further, and in doing so develop their motor competence and fundamental movement skills.

Exciting learning opportunities

Movement and play lay the foundations for literacy. Children learn to make and practise new sounds, try out new vocabulary, and exercise their imagination through storytelling. While literacy is important, there is tremendous value in developing children’s skills through physical activity because it allows learners to think more flexibly about language and different ways of communicating.

I Want To Be A Duck and I Want To Be A Bunny are available now, with the other titles in the series following soon. As we have come to expect from Oxford Children’s Books, the production quality of these titles is of a very high standard and they are great value, too, at just £7.99 each.

Move and Play masterfully integrates movement and storytelling into exciting learning opportunities that are easily utilised by preschool practitioners.

We all need to read and move more, and this series shows us exactly how to waddle, paddle, nibble, gobble, bob, flap, splash and quack with style.

It’s a cross-curricular win-win and offers an innovative and useful means by which to improve physical and cognitive performance in young children. It could also have positive impacts on other aspects of learners’ development, such as verbal comprehension, spatial ability or non-verbal reasoning.

The verdict

● Enhances learning and physical activity in a ludic and dynamic way.

● Contributes positively towards strengthening concentration, attention, focus and memory.

● Supports children’s development of motor skills and imagination.

● Enhances spatial orientation and temporal awareness.

● A unique illustrative style with scoops of happiness, bags of charm and a confident simplicity.

● Helps children learn how to express themselves and build their confidence.

● A brilliant example of joyful education.

Purchase if…
You are looking for a rich literacy experience that combines body language and reading for fun with lots of memorable learning laughs.

To get your copies of I Want To Be A Duck and I Want To Be A Bunny, and to view other titles in the series, visit the OUP website.