Near kindergarten age, the possible read-alouds start opening up into a world of exploration and discovery. Here are some of the types of books to read to your 4 to 6 year old. Follow their interests, but also read several different kinds of books to diversify types of stories and language used. If you haven't already, catch up on our last post about reading to preschoolers.
Repeated note: Books that are great for learning to read are not necessarily the same books that are great read aloud books!
Read old favorites or find new. Children will enjoy the unwritten part of the story that is often presented in pictures. Ask questions of your little one based on the pictures and let him or her interpret, "How does the city mouse feel about that?" Many classics will endure throughout their early years, but some of our favorites that arose at this age include:
- Skippyjon Jones books by Judy Schachner. It takes some rhythm to get these books right, but the ever-curious and resourceful Skippyjon is endearing.
- Our favorite cats: Splat, Pete, and Comet
- Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson / Freya Blackwood. This is a beautiful story of friendship, fantastic for speaking to the loss of expat or third culture kids moving away from friends. Years later we still call out our friends names into the sky, as did the characters in this book, when we miss our dear ones.
Poetry and Rhymes
- Nursery rhymes and Mother Goose - you can talk about what the kids think these verses mean or why they were made up
- Illustrated Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses
- Look for books with poems by Ogden Nash, Christina Rossetti, and William Blake. The best in our opinion is still Jack Prelutsky's Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, but there are many other wonderful options.
Aesop's fables come in many renditions. The Library of Congress has made available this ebook, complete with Milo Winters' gentle illustrations - made interactive in the ebook. I usually advocate paper-based reading, but this is a great resource.
Mary Engelbreit has a lovingly illustrated compilation that includes fables and other classic folk tales.
By this category, we are simply referring to books that are about the alphabet and counting. There are many great ones, including:
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. A lilting classic.
- The Construction Alphabet Book by Pallota and Bolster. For the heavy-machinery enthusiast! Filled with beautiful illustrations and brimming with information.
- Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever - The title says it all! It's not just counting, it's hours of entertainment.
- One Duck Stuck by Phyillis Root. Get the hardback or paperback, the boardbook leaves out some of the fun tongue-twisting mucky duck language.
Age 4 (~ish) is a great time to start read-aloud chapter books. Keep the books relatively short and simple at first, just to get them used to remembering a storyline that continues on through several days' worth of reading time. Follow your child's interest and stay-put-power for choosing longer and more complicated books. After spending some time in Kindergarten/1st, many kids are ready to dig into bigger books, and could also use a little sneaky down time after a long school day. We list just a few, some quite simple and some for the slightly older listener.
- Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown
- Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler
- Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
- Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
Finally, in what has become a tradition, here is a list of great book lists:
- Pragmaticmom.com recommends perfect read-alouds for kindergarten (and other grades, too!), with an effort to include Asian / other TCK culture
- The Lexington, KY, Public Library has a great list of kindergarten read-alouds that includes the skills that each book brings to the table
- The insanely organized Whatdowedoallday.com blogmom has a fun list of 4-6 year-old chapter book read-alouds
- Last but not least, find an online resource of children's poets at Nowaterriver.com, and a list of children's poetry at Storyit.com
Try coloring pictures of your young one's favorite story! Our Stockmar crayons are miles above drug-store crayons in performance, color, and durability (they really last!). And they are made with just the right amount of beeswax for a pleasing scent.