It’s no surprise to me that the I SPY series of look-and-find books continues to be hugely popular for young readers more than 30 years after the first book was published. I first discovered I SPY as a first-grade teacher many years ago. I had ordered a set of four titles through the Scholastic Book Clubs, and they were an instant hit with my students.
The I SPY books' unique illustrations and rhymes combined with the interactive challenges of solving clues to find interesting objects makes this genre engaging for kids across ages and reading levels.
Plus, look-and-find books are fantastic because they actually promote these three important literacy-building skills for your reader:
“I spy an airplane, a face with no hands,
A chicken, a cherry, and six rubber bands.”
—I Spy Extreme Challenger: A Book of Picture Riddles
Look-and-find books can help to engage your young learner to spot objects across a broad range of themes — from dinosaurs to division signs and octagons to otters — making the books a terrific tool for growing your child’s ever-expanding vocabulary word bank. Check out more fun ideas for daily vocabulary-building activities.
The ability to identify and form pairs of rhyming words is an important component of phonological awareness — that is, the process of learning to identify and orally manipulate parts of language. The simple rhymes used to provide the hunting clues in look-and-find books are great for helping your child hear and identify rhyming words. You can even practice at bath time with these rhyming songs and stories.
Did you know that the rhymes featured in the I SPY books all follow the same rhythm as the Old Mother Hubbard nursery rhyme? Hearing words spoken in rhythm is believed to be important to your pre- and beginning reader’s ability to hear syllables within words. Hearing syllables helps your child learn to identify the different sounds when sounding out words as beginning spellers, and to chunk sounds together as they sound out words when reading.
MORE: Classic I Spy Books
Many of the I SPY titles and other, similar look-and-find books support the development of specific learning concepts, for example, counting to one hundred in Can You See What I See? 100 Fun Finds and identifying words that sound with each of the letters of the alphabet in Letter Town: A Seek-and-Find Alphabet Adventure.
With an interactive style that makes them a hit with kids and such fabulous potential for learning, look-and-find books make a fabulous addition to your bookshelf.