Book Central: There Was On Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly

No doubt you’ve heard the message “read books with your child” but what they don’t tell you is what book to read and how to read it.  Did you know it’s actually these two things – the what and how – that make the difference to your child’s development?

We know from research that children who are not read have a poorer understanding of language, their vocabularies are smaller and their thinking skills are less advanced.  And this means they can go on to have trouble learning to read themselves.  So, reading the right books in the right way to your child is critical to their development and future success.

To help you out we’re going to answer the what and how of book reading with one fantastic book and our top three tips to make sure the way you’re reading it is helping your child communicate, connect and succeed!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Pam Adams and Simms Taback

What’s it about?

This is an hilarious and interactive book that follows the story of an old lady who swallows a fly followed by five other animals. The tale is extremely catchy and kids love reading aloud the repeated rhyming phrases. The colourful and funny illustrations on each page will keep your child glued to this book!

Our top 3 tips
1. Talk about what is happening

As you read you can chat about what’s happening on each page. It’s a great chance to teach some describing words e.g. “She swallowed a fly?! That’s disgusting! She swallowed a spider?! How revolting“. This will help increase their vocabulary. You can also ask a few questions that make your child think such as “Would you ever swallow a bird?”, “Why not?”, “What might happen?”. This will help them develop important reasoning and predicting skills.

2. Play a guessing game

Children love guessing games so have some fun with this! Have your child guess what the old lady might eat next before you turn the page. You can get them to have a random guess or, better yet, give them some clues. So, for the cow, you might say “It’s something that lives on the farm and we get milk from it” and see if they can guess. This will help build their listening comprehension skills.

3. Go over the sequence of the story

After reading through the book, see if you child will tell the story back. They might tell it back to you, a toy or a pet. You can teach them sequencing concepts at the same time by talking about first, then and last. Get your child to use the book to help them remember the sequence of the animal eaten. This will help your child learn some of the essential parts for retelling and creating their own stories.


These a just a few of our top tips to help your child engage in story time and for more tips follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

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