In Part 1 I shared you some books to start introducing your babies and young toddlers to start reading. Reading to children – Part 1
Part 2 is books for preschoolers, those 3 years to about 6 years. Reading is something really personal for most, interests and hobbies greatly influence and determine what sort of books we enjoy. For me, i try to mainly buy books that fit my children’s interests, but every now and again, i will introduce them to a new topic that i feel is important or just something that i would like to expose them to and learn about. When my son was younger, he was hitting and was unable to share, so i got these books to open up the topic and talk more on a daily basis on what he should do when he gets angry etc. Of course books alone didn’t solve it completely, but it definitely helped his awareness and gave him some insight into his actions.
Or when i wanted to teach different body parts or even something simple like the life cycle of plants. Finding a book with those topics can serve as a great introduction to whatever you want to expose them to.
- Picture Books
These are simple story books with very vibrant, wonderful illustrations that supports the story line. Some have no words, some have a few, some even come with a touch and feel component as well. The very hungry caterpillar is a great book to start introducing books to your children, the illustrations are eye catching, with a simple story line and few words. It also comes with touch and feel components and is very engaging for the children. There are also plenty of talking points you can have with your child. Definitely one of our favorites. Or something even simpler would be picture books with a singular words, almost like flash cards in a book form with better illustrations. Surprisingly, kids do enjoy these types of books too, as they love the pictures and it is easy for them to process. (It’s terribly dry for parents to read it over and over again though….)
2. Rhyming books
Personally, rhyming books are my favorite books to read with the children. Some of the books that you are able to find now are beautifully written with stories that will interest your child. Our favorite is The Whale and the Snail by Julia Donaldson. Actually, we love all her her books and we practically have all of them. Dr Seuss is another of our favorites and my children are currently obsessed with Dr Seuss books. We have been reading at least one (max 2 – one for each child, otherwise bedtime reading will never end…..) Dr Seuss book every bedtime. Both Julia Donaldson and Dr Seuss are great as they not only have great story lines, detailed illustrations, but also fun rhyming when you read and the main sentences get repeated, which helps their understanding and comprehension.
3. Wordless books
Wordless books essentially are just books with only pictures. They are great in getting your child to be imaginative, as they can tell their own story based on the pictures. Now that my children are older, i get them to take turns to tell their own story, and it’s wonderful to see how the same pictures will have different stories told by different children.
This book of bedtime stories isn’t exactly considered wordless, but they have quite a few pages with few or no words. The picture shown is one of their favorite pages, and we can literally spend a good 10 mins EACH telling a story of that singular page alone.
4. Nursery Rhymes
Nursery rhymes are great for building on phonemic and phonetic awareness (important for the child to have, to be able to read later on). Which is why people have been constantly singing children’s songs and nursery rhymes to babies and children for generations. And its also why rhythmic books such as Dr Seuss and Julian Donaldson are great as well. This is our book of fairy tales and nursery rhymes that i found in Popular bookshop, I’ve had it for almost 3 years now and i still haven’t finish reading everything to the children, as they each have their favorites and they just want to listen to the same ones over and over and over…..
Some books are also meant to be “sung” such as twinkle and the Zoo train.
5. Fairy tales / Folklore / Bible stories
These are fun and fascinating for children, but definitely meant for the older preschoolers, as the stories tend to be longer, and the average 3 year old may not be able to sit through it. Unless you find fairy tales for toddlers that are summarized / condensed versions. Bibles for kids are great as they have children’s version which are condensed to about 2 pages. So the child doesn’t lose interest before the story is over.
6. Non Fiction – Look out for Part 3 in our reading to children series.
And for those who are looking to start their children actually reading, these are our choices for right now. I picked those topics which they are interested in, and made sure they are simple and short. And when i started, i would just read and point the words with my fingers as i read, after a while i asked them to read out some sight words. And slowly after, when its time for bedtime reading, he would pick 1 to 2 books (depending on time) for him to read. He would choose 3 -4 sight words to read plus one new sight word. And the benefits of family story time is that the younger child would tag along, so my middle child who is 3 1/2 years is able to read simple sight words as well, since god forbid she loses out to her brother…
My children absolutely love reading and they genuinely love stories of any sort. But if you give them free rein to pick their own books, it becomes clear what their interests are. These are my son’s (who is 5 1/2 years) favorite books right now. As you can tell, he really loves his dragons and dinosaurs, and gravitates to towards those topics. The enormous crocodile and The Lorax is way to hard for him to read, but he is able to read most of the Cat in the Hat comes back and Green Eggs and Ham. To be fair though, he has memorized them rather than actually reading, but the rhyming really helps him remember. He is reading more of the simpler books like his Paw Patrol series.
My little girl has obviously different taste in books, she is turning 4 soon. I am quite sure i could recite Dr Seuss’s Sleep book in my sleep…..and dream of unicorns at night….
So these are our family’s stories, just remember to have fun and enjoy the reading process. What i found most fulfilling is watching the children grow from just pointing and touching simple board books, to reading The very hungry caterpillar, and actually enjoy and look forward to listening to stories. As they grow older, you could see them start being immersed in the stories that are being told. Nowadays when my children decide not to take their nap for whatever reason, i always insist that they “swap” their nap for rest time in the reading nook, and they would just flip page after page just “reading”, well more like imagining and making up stories while looking at the pictures for a full hour. Worth to take note that in the beginning, pick “easy” books with simple story lines so that it is easy for them to follow and understand, which will in turn motivate them to read more.
More challenging books (i.e. chapter books), should also be read to them. Even though it is way too hard for them to read, in my opinion, i feel that it is good to read to them (in parts), so they can start being immersed in stories and it shows them in a way the next step up in their reading life. Pick a fixed reading time daily, and you will find your child looking forward to snuggling up to you to listen to the story.
Share with us you’re family’s favorite books and happy reading everyone!