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The Vocabulary Improvement and Oral Language Enrichment through Stories (VIOLETS) early childhood curriculum is designed to develop oral language, pre-literacy skills, and background knowledge in young (ages 3-5) English Language Learners (ELLs) and children with low expressive language skills. The curriculum uses 12 Big Book versions of popular children’s books, chosen based on their quality, their appeal to young children, and the extent to which their content aligns with state pre-kindergarten standards in the domains of physical development, language and literacy, social and emotional development, mathematical thinking, scientific thinking, social studies, and the arts. I


In the VIOLETS approach, carefully selected vocabulary words and idiomatic expressions that occur in the stories are taught before and after story reading. In addition, paraphrasing and questioning techniques are employed during reading to further develop students’ oral language proficiency and build children’s background knowledge. The program also includes the presentation of ‘core knowledge’ themes that tie the book to state standards and a language awareness component in which pre-reading skills and concepts of print are introduced. VIOLETS can be implemented in Head Start, child care, pre-kindergarten, and/or kindergarten settings. VIOLETS has been implemented in all jurisdictions throughout Maryland.


Books used in VIOLETS:

  • A Mother for Choco

  • Bread and Jam for Francis

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Corduroy

  • Down by the Station

  • My Five Senses

  • Silly Sally

  • Stellaluna

  • The Doorbell Rang

  • The Napping House

  • This Is The Way We Go To School

  • What I Like About Me

Please send an email to for more information.


“Since using VIOLETS, I have seen a tremendous increase in my student's comprehension. Where the reading area was once a place for the students to gaze through pictures, I now hear them using vocabulary and detail to explore and "read" each page. I have the VIOLETS program to thank for that!”

-Allyson King, Pre-kindergarten Teacher - Cecil County

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