Reading aloud to your child is an important part of parenting. It can also be enjoyable if you choose the right books. Here are 10 kid-tested, mom-approved suggestions for the best books to read aloud to your child.
Pop quiz: Which book do these lines come from? In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon and the cow jumping over the moon. If you answered “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, you’re probably among the thousands of parents who have memorized it.
There are hundreds of children's books available to read. Each family has their favorites, books that are read over and over again until the pages are bent and the cover is worn. My list might not match your family's, but these 10 books are selections I've enjoyed with my young children over the last decade. This group of 10 great reads will be most enjoyed by children ages 2-5, but I find my older children also gather to hear stories being read aloud. See if any of these 10 make it on your favorites list.
This delightful series by Melanie Watt chronicles the adventures of a very anxious squirrel. His zany plots to go to the beach, have a party, go camping and celebrate holidays fill these books with cleverness and humor.
Preschoolers are starting to figure out letters and simple words. The repetitive nature and silly rhymes in Dr. Seuss books are fun to hear aloud. Make reading these books more fun by changing words or having children guess upcoming rhymes.
Cock-a-doodle doo, A Barnyard Hullabaloo.
Giles Andreae offers a book of poems about a noisy farmyard. The rooster starts to wake everyone up, and all the animals have something to say about their role in barnyard life.
I can’t say enough positive things about Sandra Boynton’s books. They are hilarious and adorable. You can begin to read these to your babies, but toddlers and preschoolers will continue to enjoy them and appreciate their humor. Our favorites include “Barnyard Dance,” “But Not the Hippopotamus” and “Pajama Time.”
When Silly Sally goes to town, silly things happen. Audrey Wood tells a tale that involves great rhyming and funny characters. Warning: This book will get stuck in your head.
Eric Carle’s books are beautiful to look at and read. Start with “Brown Bear, Brown Bear," and then work your way through the others. This book is one my children often memorized first, feeling proud they could “read” by themselves.
Nursery Rhymes and Songs.
A book that offers a collection of nursery rhymes with pictures is a classic read-aloud book. We've had a few throughout the years. Your children might also enjoy classic children’s songs in book form, like “The Wheels On the Bus” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom!
This book offers a twist on a traditional alphabet book. Letters go marching one by one up the alphabet tree. But watch out, because everything might go BOOM! Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault follow up this book with one featuring numbers.
David Shannon has created a loveable true-to-life character in David. In this book, David gets into all kinds of trouble. The words are very simple, but the illustrations are eye-catching and funny. My children enjoy telling David “No!” as we read along.
Gossie and friends.
Starting with “Gossie,” Oliver Dunrea writes and illustrates a series of books about the sweetest gosling and her friends. We have five of them and they are read over and over.
I know I'm a bit of a book nerd, but some of my favorite mothering moments are when I read to my children. There is something rewarding about connecting through books. Starting at infancy, read aloud to your children. By the time they are preschoolers, they can “read” along with you and begin to point out letters. Your children will treasure the time they spent reading with you, and you will give them a priceless gift.
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.