This list could go on and on and I’ll talk about books often because that’s my thing, but I just wanted to take some time to highlight some of our favorites. These are classics and we read them over and over again. We read them to our daughter when she was 2 months old and still read them to her at the age of 3. As she begins to read, she may have these books memorized but that’s great because “reading” her memorized pages will build confidence. That’s what early literacy is all about. So if you have a baby or toddler, it’s never too early to start. If they love books, you’ll have an easier time teaching them to read and they’ll have an easier time at school. Plus it’s so easy to read these during bath, before bedtime, at quiet time, on a family road trip, etc.
So here they are in no particular order:
This post includes affiliate links. I recommend books I use and trust and you can shop comparatively on Amazon through these links which makes me feel very good about my recommendation.
- If You Give A Mouse a Cookie This is a book about a little mouse who is sweet but kind of demanding (like a toddler). The little boy finds him and gives him a cookie, then he wants milk, then a straw, then a napkin, then a mirror, then a hair trim, then a broom to sweep up, etc, etc, etc. By the end of the book the little boy is worn out by his hyper new friend. I love the book so much I crocheted the little mouse and his cookie for my daughter (which I should share later!).
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? Can I just say, I recommend all books by Eric Carle as I haven’t found one I don’t like. His artwork has been featured in countless children’s books and it is unique and very distinct. You’ll recognize it right off once you get acquainted with it. Brown Bear uses the same sentence pattern with sight words on each page only changing the name of the animal each time so kids quickly learn the pattern and “read” it. My daughter is 3, and she reads page by page, not literally reading the text but she remembers the sentences. This is a great way to practice popular sight words and build your child’s confidence. We all know it’s hard to learn something when you’re afraid that it’s too hard. It’s really okay to make some of it easy and build skills from there; as a reading specialist, that’s what I like about these books! You know what else? I just realized he has one with a Panda Bear, so that’s next on my wish list!
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom I remember this being read to me as a child so it was a no-brainer to add to our library. What I now appreciate about it is the way the text is so rhythmic and fun to read, plus you get to introduce all the letters of the alphabet. Add to that the simple illustrations and sharp contrasts and it makes it very appealing to the smallest of children–research suggests babies and toddlers interact more with this type of imagery than the complex. This book is a timeless classic and a worthwhile investment in your child’s early literacy.
- Llama, Llama, Red Pajama Honestly this book might make you laugh harder than it makes your child! It’s super cute as this baby llama stresses out about his momma leaving him in his room to go to bed. He’s lonely and bored so he starts pouting for his mommy to save him. Momma is trying to clean up the house and she wants to reassure him that she’s always there but he needs to stop with the llama drama. It’s so sweet and incorporates a lot of rhyming which is a valuable skill in early literacy so rhyming books are a must in your home library.
- My First 100 Words Book This is just words and pictures that are engaging and easy to read with your child. You just look at the pictures and identify. They may not know the “words” as in “text” while they are little, but they will connect words to images which will build their verbal vocabulary. If you look at the book and say the words with them regularly, you’ll be amazed at how quickly their vocabulary grows. My parents laugh when they expect to use simple vocabulary with my daughter and she takes it a step further with a more specific description (example, instead of saying “bear” she’d say “Polar Bear, Brown Bear, Panda Bear” etc). Take the inspiration from the book and point out items on your walks, playground visits, in the car, etc. You’ll love being wowed by your little smarty!
- Fox in Socks You can take the rhyming a step further with some Dr. Seuss tongue twisters. Probably the funniest part about having this book in our home library is hearing my hubby stumble over the phrases and start a laughing fit. It’s also important to note that many Dr. Seuss classics are somewhat long but there are condensed versions in tiny board books now that still have the essence of the originals (which makes them good for smaller children).
- Don’t Push The Button This book makes little ones laugh, and it’s important to teach them early that they can ENJOY books, but the metaphorical nature of this children’s book is for parents. We all know the saying, “you’re pushing my buttons” well, and in this book a little monster tries to warn the child not to push a literal red button (in doing so he makes it very tempting). Eventually Larry (the monster) tells the child to try it and he experiences some surprising consequences. It’s a lighthearted joke about pushing boundaries but what’s great is you can teach your child about following simple directions with this book as though it’s a game (example: “he didn’t say push it, you gotta wait. Not yet! Okay now you can push it, go ahead…”).
So these are just a few of our favorites in my home and I think you’ll be pleased if you try them out. Usually you can find them to use for free at the library but if not you are sure to get a good deal on Amazon and have them shipped to your home. They make great gifts as a child can have way too many toys but can never have too many books (in my humble opinion anyway). I have read a few of these books simultaneously to my 2 year old toddler and 6 year old niece with both being actively engaged in the stories; that in and of itself makes these books winners.