Author: Lois Ehlert

18 to 23 Months ConceptPredictable Text

Brightly colored fish will give your toddler lots of counting fun. The book’s dazzling colors and simple, rhythmic text will engage and entertain him. Don’t be surprised if he soon begins to “read” this book on his own.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language and Print Awareness

Pay attention to your toddler’s book-handling skills.  Place the book on a table or low shelf where your child can easily reach it. Encourage him to get the book and sit with you. Notice if your child is holding the book correctly and ask him to find the front cover – offer help if he needs it.

Sweep your finger under the words as you read the title and author’s name. Then, ask questions and engage your child. You might say:

Look at the front cover of this book. The title of this book is Fish Eyes. Can you touch the eye on this fish? Show me your eyes. 

Look what I can do with my eyes. I can make mine bigger. Can you make your eyes bigger?  Can you make them smaller? Can you look from side to side?

Let’s turn the book to the back. What do you see?  Yes, more fish!  I think we’ll see lots of fish in this book!

Phonological Awareness 

Toddlers are active learners and love to move. Engage your toddler with rhymes and movement, like this: 

Close your eyes and move your hands like this. (Use any hand motions you like.) 

Let’s say: “I wish, I wish, I was a fish! I wish. I wish I was a fish. Poof!”  (Make a fist, then spread fingers.)

Place your hands at your waist and flap like fins. 

Let’s pretend we have fins. Swish, swish, swish! Swim like fish! Swish, swish, swish! Swim like fish!   

Hey listen, wish, fish, swish. They all sound the same at the end. They rhyme!  Say it with me: wish, fish, swish. Wish, fish, swish!

Oral Language

Act out the action parts of the story. You might say:

Look, two jumping fish. Show me how you can jump, little fish!

See these fishes?  They are smiling.  Why do you think they are smiling? Can you smile like the fish?

Be sure to allow enough time for your child to respond. This shows your interest and respect for his growing thinking and speaking skills.  

Beginning Writing

Bring out the artist in your toddler! Cut a large piece of paper into a simple fish shape. Give your child some paint and brushes or sponges and let him design a fish of his own. As he works, talk about what you see him doing. You might say:

I see how you are making blue spots with that brush. That line went all the way across the paper.    

If your child says words, expand on what he has said and put his word in a complete sentence. Your child may say: Blue. You might say:  

I see how you painted the whole tail blue!


Use the fish theme of this story to adapt and enjoy the following 18-23 month at-home activities:

  • Letter KnowledgePom-pom Color Sort – explain that the pompoms are now fish spots or fish eyes
  • Beginning WritingWonderful Water – add fish themed squirt toys, or cut sponges into fish shapes
  • Phonological AwarenessRead a Rhyme– bring emphasis to rhyming words using sentences from this book