Here is a round up of our favorite read-aloud books for preschoolers!
Last month, I posted about how to get started with preschool at home. Teaching your child yourself is not difficult, and the expense is minimal if you keep it simple and take advantage of materials that you already have around the house! In my post about getting started with preschool at home, I recommended a few workbooks that we like to use for preschool. I wanted to include our favorite read aloud books but was afraid that that post was getting to be information overload!
What makes a book list-worthy?
There are a LOT of books out there, and there are some great ones and some that are (in my opinion) fairly poor quality. The books that I chose for this list have engaging stories that are worth discussing with your child, as well as quality illustrations. Another attribute that my preschoolers love is what I call “repeatable lines” – lines that they end up memorizing because they love the sound of the words. Preschool is a time to build vocabulary, and reading quality books is such an important part of that!
The books in this list are all recommended for ages 3-5. All links are Amazon Affiliate links, so if you purchase through the links, I will earn a small percentage of the sale.
Chapter Books, Non-fiction, and Story Collections:
The Berenstain Bear’s Big Book of Science and Nature is a fabulous way to introduce preschoolers to science! It covers weather, seasons, animals, plants, simple machines, the states of matter, and more, all with the favorite Berenstain Bears characters. This is a perfect book for reading a few pages, and then doing a simple project to go with it – a nature hunt, watching ice melt, observing the weather, etc. I did this with Gresham when he was four, and he loved it. I’ll be going through it with Owen next year.
Things People Do is a great way to introduce preschoolers to all sorts of jobs and community helpers. Each page features a different type of work that people do – a farmer, a school teacher, a hotel manager, a vet, etc. The book does come across as slightly dated, but I still think it’s a great resource. It’s fun to read a page each day, and then set up some pretend play with the various roles. Or find a field trip to go with it – to the fire station or a farm, etc.
We purchased The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook as part of Sonlight Core P4/5 for Gresham, but we didn’t stick with that core very well, and we didn’t even read the book until this year. Then we all fell in love with it! This collection of stories is a must-read for preschoolers up through age 6 or 7.
(Note – the Amazon price for Milly Molly Mandy is outrageously high unless you go used. I’m not sure if it’s out of print or what, but you can order a new copy from Sonlight for $13.99)
My Father’s Dragon is the perfect first chapter book to read aloud to kids ages 4+ (or to the bright 3 year old). It also lends itself well to activities – I have two posts with activities to go with My Father’s Dragon.
My son who loves animal really enjoyed James Herriot’s Treasury for Children. We checked this one out of the library, and I would love to add it to our family collection at some point. “The Christmas Cat” was a favorite story out of this book.
Gail Gibbons has written many wonderful science books for young children. These are great for older preschoolers – age 4 and up through kindergarten and first grade. From Seed to Plant is a good one.
Other titles from Gail Gibbons:
We love both Otis and Otis and the Puppy by Loren Long. These are adorable stories about a tractor named Otis. The illustrations are beautiful, and these books are ones that kids will want to hear again and again!
We love to look for Richard Scarry books at the library! These are great for younger preschoolers (2-3), but 4’s and 5’s enjoy them too. I love the fact that there are so many things to look at on each page. Great for building vocabulary. I especially like Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever and Richard Scarry’s Best First Book Ever.
The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman is a family favorite. We don’t own this one, but we have checked it out of the library many times. This adorable rhyming story is about a family of seven children who each are only willing to eat one particular food – until they make a fun discovery at the end!
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey is another preschool must-read! This books is probably my favorite of all children’s books, although it’s so hard to choose. Lovely story and beautiful illustrations, and then there are so many duck related things you can do after you read the story!
Other books by Robert McCloskey
We love most of Kevin Henkes’ picture books, but Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse is a great one! Lilly desperately wants to show off her purse and sunglasses during school, and just can’t wait until the appropriate time to do so. She ends up drawing a mean picture of her teacher after he takes the purse away until the end of the day, but with the help of her parents, Lilly apologizes and restores the relationship with her teacher.
We have always loved Henry Huggins and all of the other chapter books by Beverly Cleary, so when we found a couple of picture books written by her at the library, we checked them both out. We were not disappointed! The Real Hole and Two Dog Biscuits are great read-alouds for the preschool crowd. Very adorable stories about 4 year old twins Jimmy and Janet.
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams is a great story about patience and character. The book tells the story of a girl and her mother and grandmother who save (pennies at a time) for a new chair since theirs were all burned in a fire. I remember hearing this book on Reading Rainbow when I was little!
What are your favorite books for preschoolers?