Best Children’s Books: Top Ten Early Readers

The period during which children actually learn how to read is so crucial. Helping them learn to read using books they will love will motivate them to rise to the task and ask for ever more books. The selected books span the range from those learning to read their first words to those who want an increasing challenge.

1) Moo Baa La La, by Sandra Boynton: This little book helps young children to increase their vocabulary by saying words that mimic animal sounds. Many young children adore this book. As they memorize it, you can say the first part of each page and your child will read the second.

2) Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin: Kids love this book because it has soul. They love saying words with spunk and rhythm. The nonsense verse thrills kids with its deceptively simple narrative and with the repeating of such catchy phrases as “skit skat skoodle doot.” The bold color scheme matches the kooky mood perfectly. Children love seeing the familiar alphabet transported into this madcap adventure.

3) You Read to Me; I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together, by Mary Ann Hoberman, These hilarious versions of the three bears, pigs and goats, plus a couple of princesses and one beanstalk make for a charming story set for two voices reading to one another. The cozy appeal of partnered reading and slightly quirky stories are snuggly enough to be read over and over.

4) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin: It’s an excellent introductory book for colors, animals and words.This book is great for teaching basic sight words, because words like see appear often, kids are bound to learn these words. This is a wonderful book that all children should own. Very repetitive and children can read along with you.

5) Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss: These unforgettable fifty words stay with you forever. “I am Sam, Sam I am” begins this silly tale. Only Dr. Seuss could compose such amusing yet elegant stories, and all with a simple concept. Kids and adults alike have loved and cherished Seuss’s story books for decades.

6) Winnie the Pooh, by A.A Milne: Of course, everyone knows that kids love Pooh. Some people swear that it’s better to forget other versions and find the reprinted version by Milne. There is a special charm the way Milne words and phrases the stories that may be missing in other renderings.

7) There is a Bird on Your Head, by Mo Willems: The story is funny, educational, and the drawings are simple but very effective. Willem’s stories might become a family favorite for you. Kids love the expressions on the faces of both characters. And, more importantly, they want to do the reading at bedtime because they have fun trying to match the reading to the expressions on the faces.

8) Diary of a Worm, by Doreen Cronin: No child can resist the young worm in a baseball cap whose diary chronicles his daily adventures – whether it’s playing with his spider friend, teasing his sister, or doing the Hokey Pokey with his classmates. This book is educational, hilarious, and it takes kids on such a beautiful journey into the life of a worm.

9) How I Became a Pirate, Melinda Long: If your child dreams of treasure chests and wonders what a pirate’s life might be like, then sail away on a real pirate ship. At first, life seems perfect for Jeremy when he joins Braid Beard and his rambunctious crew: no manners, no bedtime and no nagging about tooth-brushing make life onboard ship quite attractive. But soon Jeremy begins to miss the comforts of home and soccer practice.

10) I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll: This is a unique monster-in-my-room tale with the perfect balance of giggles and shivers. The author does a masterful job of defusing the typical jitters a child might have about monsters. Maybe your fearful child might even welcome this monster into her room.

Honorable Mention: The book, Tuesday, by David Wiesner only includes a few words but it is fantastic in sparking the imagination of young children. Let the kids spontaneously tell you their own version the second time through.

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, by Simms Taback. The pictures help students decode words they otherwise may not know, thereby building their reading confidence

Animals Should Definitely not Wear Clothing, by Judi Barrett: Easy text to read and the belly-laugh illustrations make the book. It pictures various animals wearing clothing that would never suit them.:… sheep wearing a wool sweater, a giraffe wearing neck ties, a chicken wearing pants (Where does the egg go?), just to name a few. Kids love the story so much you may even get a little tired of hearing your child read it to you over and over.