Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Perk Up Your Ears


Have you ever wondered why when you plug your ears, you cannot hear as well? Learn why and how your ears allow you to hear sounds and have fun while doing it.

Perk Up Your Ears by Vicki Cobb cannot only be used as an educational way to learn the mechanisms or the ear and how they produce sound. It is also a fun-filled, activity based book that will have kids on the go from the very beginning. Let’s face it, even the front cover entices you to take a peek inside for those people who judge a book by its cover. The catchphrase on the front says it all. “Discover your sense of hearing.” Not only will kids read and learn, but they will investigate and experiment with the ways in which sounds are produced using ordinary objects found in the home or classroom.

“The outer ear is made up of the pinna and the ear canal. The end of the canal is closed by a very thin “skin” called the eardrum. Sound strikes the eardrum and makes it vibrate. You can see how this happens if you stretch some plastic wrap tightly across the top of a bowl. Imagine that the stretched plastic wrap is your eardrum. Sprinkle some grains of sugar on the stretched plastic wrap drum. The sugar will dance up and down as the drum vibrates.”

The excerpt above is an example of the method the author uses to make the lesson information more tangible. The language of the book at times may seem a bit over the top in explaining the workings of the ear, but Vicki brings it back down to a child’s level by following it with an interactive approach. She discusses sound as energy and diagrams the structure of the inner ear. She also lists the parts of the outer ear and fun ways to understand how the entire ear works together by having the child use other senses, such as touch and vision, to understand concepts. Cobb even gives ways to check one’s own hearing and that of others. She gives tips about maintaining one’s hearing health and the ways in which harm may be done to it.

The bright and witty illustrations of Cynthis C. Lewis in this book will have kids mesmerized. The funny cartoons and eccentric art are another way for kids to be engaged in this book. Cobb definitely makes a point to ensure that this learning process is fun.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used to help students seek, find, take in and react to information about the sense of hearing and its sensory descriptors (K.2). It may also help students learn to conduct investigations in which differences in physical properties are observed using the senses, simple tools are used to enhance observations, simple experiments are conducted to answer questions, inferences are made and conclusions are drawn about familiar objects and events.(1.1)

Additional Resources

Book: Perk Up Your Ears
Author: Vicki Cobb
Illustrator: Cynthia C. Lewis
Publisher: The Millbrook Press, Inc.
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 29 pages
Grades: 1-5
ISBN: 0-7613-1704-x

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