Using negation can be tricky. Using the word “NO” is fairly simple, and for some children is one of the first words they master! (Much to their parents’ chagrin…). But the word “not” can be quite tricky. It’s “not” easy! (hahaha!). Part of the difficulty is that to use “not” correctly it needs to be in the context of a sentence, whereas “no” can be a sentence all by itself.

We worked on “not” in the primary intensive support classroom over the past few weeks. Here are some of the books we used!

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato – by Lauren Child

This wonderful book is about a boy who is watching his little sister, who is a picky eater and does NOT like tomatoes (or peas, or carrots, or mashed potatoes either!). The sneaky big brother convinces her to try the foods by saying that they are NOT any of those things, but instead are green drops from Iceland, Moonberries, and Cloud fluff from Mt. Kilimanjaro. She tries the food, and she likes it! There are many possibilities for asking questions during the book, so long as you model and expect a sentence in response.

“Is this a pea?” “No, it’s NOT a pea! It’s a green drop from Iceland!”

17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore – by Jeremy Offill

This book is about a girl who gets into trouble doing all sorts of things that she is NOT supposed to do! She staples her brother’s hair to his pillow (Should she do that? No, she should NOT!), writes her report about beavers instead of George Washington (Is that okay?” No, it is NOT!),  and walks to school backwards (Is that safe? NO, it is NOT!). After reading the book we brainstormed things that were NOT okay to do, and then thought up appropriate alternatives.

Example: I can NOT put my finger in the pencil sharpener. Instead, I can sharpen my pencil the safe way!

Click here for the in-class worksheet to go with the book.

Is Your Mama a Llama? – by Deborah Guarino
(Tu Mama Es Una Llama?)

A children’s classic, “Is Your Mama A Llama?” is the story of a young llama who asks all her friends about their animal mothers. She asks a baby cow, a baby duck, a baby bat… For most of the book the answer is “No, my mama is NOT a llama!” We did an activity asking questions about our own mamas (Is your mama tall? pretty? smart? rich? purple?) where the kids got to ask each other questions and fill in the answers on a chart. Such fun!

My mama is smart, nice, and pretty. She is NOT mean, tall, or purple!