Cumulative 1st Grade Books: Stories That Build On Themselves
Several classic 1st grade books build on themselves, starting simple and becoming
more complicated as they go along. This kind of book is called a cumulative story,
or a cumulative tale. These stories start simply: This is the house that Jack built.
Then they add a little more: This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
Each page gets slightly more complicated, with some new information added each time.
Cumulative stories are great for beginning readers, because on each new page they
only need to figure out a few new words, then have the satisfaction of reading a page
full of text that is familiar to them. The rhythmic language in these fun 1st grade books is also
perfect for read-alouds.
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (traditional) There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I don't know
why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die. This crazy tale
gets bigger and crazier until its predictably sad end. I like the
versions illustrated by Nadine B. Westcott or Simms Taback.
Too Much Noise. An old man finds his creaky, squeaky house much too noisy.
He goes to a wise man who
counsels him first to get a cow, then a dog, a sheep, and so on. His
house gets progressively louder, until the wise man gives his final
counsel. Kids will love doing the animal sounds!
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat.
Instead of building up more and more things, pieces of Joseph's coat
get gradually taken away as it gets old and reused into different
things. The brilliance of this book is in the cut-out pages and the
The Jacket I Wear In The Snow.
This book is about the layers and layers of clothes you wear before going out in the snow!
"This is the scarf, wooly and red, that's caught on the zipper
that's stuck on the jacket I wear in the snow." Fun rebus word pictures make even hard words accessible for
Jack builds himself a house. But one thing leads to another, and soon Jack's house
has a lot more going on inside than he bargained for! You may have to explain such words as "malt" and
"shorn", but this classic continues to be great fun to read
The Napping House.
Granny lies down for a nap, but as time goes on, more and more
visitors come join granny and fall asleep on top of her. The story
gets funnier as the pile grows, ending with a big, unexpected surprise.
These 1st grade books beg to be read over and over. Read them
out loud together and try to guess what will come next!