~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

Pattern Bugs ~ Trudy Harris

For those of us who work with young children it’s natural for us to be talking shapes and counting. As we start to get into math concepts that will support higher level learning patterns are a great place to start.

The ability to recognize, compare, and manipulate patterns is the basis for understanding much of mathematics.

    • PreK students are ready for instruction in simple patterns. They already recognize many patterns in their lives, like daily routines, repeating colors, and repeating words,
    • If we really look, we will find that picture books have many examples of patterns to be found in the language and illustrations.
    • In books with an obvious language pattern, it is often useful to point out the repetitive text, although many times the children beat us to it without even thinking about it being a pattern on their part.  they recognize that it is something that repeats.  Using different colors for repeated words or phrases write them out to help them identify the pattern.
    • Compare the patterns in human-made objects with patterns in natural objects. Represent some of the patterns with manipulatives.

Educreation Lesson idea for Pattern Bugs by Trudy Harris IMG_0801

It is also probably not an area that we would think there are many picture books for.  That thought is very wrong. We need to look for patterns in visual, language, auditory patterns.

Here are ones I access year in and out:


  • Press Here ~ Henre’ Tullet
  • Pattern Bugs ~ Trudy Harris – patterns to be found on pages visual and auditory
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? ~ Bill Martin, Jr.
  • The Dress I’ll Wear to the Party ~ Shirley Neitzel
  • The Very Busy Spider ~ Eric Carle – repetitive text
  • Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones ~ Ruth Heller – all egg layers
  • Dots, Spots, Speckles and Stripes ~ Tana Hoban – wordless photograph of patterns found in feathers, flowers, animals and people
  • Paddington’s Opposites ~ Michael Bond – opposites are AB pattern
  • Jump, Frog, Jump! ~ Robert Kalan – cumulative tale, pattern in Jump, Frog, Jump! refrain
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom ~ Lois Ehlert – pattern in the rhythmic chant/language
  • Silly Sally ~ Audrey Wood – repetitive language pattern, cumulative
  • Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? ~ Bonnie Lass & Philemon Sturges
  • *Good Night Gorilla ~ Peggy Pathmann
  • *Caps for Sale ~ Esphyr Slobodkina
  • *Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes ~ Eric Litwin – language pattern

Any book with a repetition can be used for pattern introduction and reinforcement. I look for patterns that the children pick up on and will provide a response – or as I say “help me read”. From there it is easy to work on building the concept of patterns in our daily life.

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