When I was in 5th grade, I memorized a long list of prepositions that I can still remember 35 years later. I can’t say it really served a purpose but it’s still a fun list to rattle off now and then. Today we are exploring books that help us teach about positional words.
What are Positional Words/Prepositions
A preposition gives information about a position or other relation. It builds a connection between something else.
The doughnut is on the table.
I hid behind the bush.
In our teaching, we use positional words to describe relationships in math and also reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
Books About Positional Words
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Cat Up, Cat Down by Catherine Hnatov uses felines to illustrate up and down, near and far, and other spatial relations. And, it’s a board book so it is nice and durable.
Now, let’s add a dog to our cat and explore the word between in In-Between Things by Priscilla Tey.
A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes is full of colorful elephants on parade. As they move around they go up, down, over, and under.
Out! by Arree Chung is a super funny story that requires children to pay attention to the illustrations even more than the text.
A little boy needs his bear. Can you spot the bear? Try it out in Where is Bear? by Jonathan Bentley. And, get ready for a surprise ending. This is such a fun read-aloud for circle time.
Let’s keep going with bears. In Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? by Ashley Wolff we get to find Baby Bear as he explores his nighttime surroundings. His mama finds him behind the waterfall, inside the mossy long, and other fun places.
Up, Down and Around by Katherine Ayres is a rhythmic story about the different plants that grow underground, above ground, and all around. Not only do kids learn about the directional words but they get a great science lesson too. Perfect for working on the words up, down, and around.
Children will definitely understand the concept of in and out in In by Nikki McClure. Interestingly, there is an added layer of learning all about owls too. It’s a little extra bonus.
Shake to the left. Shake to the right. Shake, shake, shake in Shake the Tree. This interactive book encourages children to participate in the story.
I’m On It! by Andrea Tsurumi is a super silly and fun tale full of positional words as goat and frog get inside, between, and around oodles of different items.
There’s a Mouse About the House! practices through on each page because the kids get to take a small moveable mouse through each page. Plus, the kids work on left to right progression. This is one that the kids will want to interact with during the read-aloud.
Leave the city and head into the mountains for a camping trip in Into the Outdoors by Susan Gal. In the process, you’ll learn lots of positional words.
A little girl has a busy day traveling to and from school in Out the Doorby Christy Hale. Simple text, beautiful illustrations, and lots of positional words to practice. This would be a fun one for children to tell step by step directions of how they get to school too.
Over, Bear! Under, Where? by Julie Hedlund is full of word play, positional words, reading with expression and pure silliness. Head to the park with Over and Under where they meet a hot-dog dog and see a bear!
Where in the World Are You? by Marie G. Rohde starts with a cat under a table and then we gradually get bigger and bigger as the table is on the rug and the rug is in the room all the way until we are soon soaring around the sun. This book works really well for working on positional words with young learners.
Beneath by Cori Doerrfeld is a multi-layered book. The story is really about discovering more about yourself and the world but we learn all of this by taking a look “beneath.” The illustrations are beautiful and we get to take a look beneath the ground, water, a bird in its nest, and so much more.
Catside Up, Catside Down: A Book of Prepositions by Anna Hrachovec showcases some playful knitted cats in all sorts of positions.
Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins is probably the classic positional word book on this list. It’s been around for a while and it is still a great pick to use when teaching about positional words. Plus, it’s fun to watch all the missteps the fox has in the story. And, we even have some printable positional word activities to go with the story.—>See the Rosie’s Walk Activities
Printable Positional Word Book List
Grab a printable list of the books above. It’s great for taking to the library or keeping with your lesson plans.