When my in-laws come to visit they spend a lot of time reading to my son, especially my mother-in-law. She reads picture books to my son in Swedish and although I don’t understand all of the words, I do understand what is happening in the story.
She is so good at reading in a way that is exciting, funny, or serious. My son is captivated!
I love that when things start to get crazy or hectic, especially in that just before dinner time, her goto is to read a book. Nothing quite settles children like reading.
All of these books very naturally lend themselves to the kind of prompting found to support the natural development of reading according to research. Read more here (and get your free printable): How to Teach Your Child to Read According to Child Development Research.
Best Read-Aloud Books For Preschoolers
A Visitor for Bear (Bear and Mouse): I love this book as a read-aloud book!
“No one ever came to Bear’s house. It had always been that way, and Bear was quite sure he didn’t like visitors. He even had a sign. NO visitors allowed.” Until one day a persistent mouse pops up over and over again in unexpected places and Bear, most unexpectedly, discovers he might like visitors after all.
This book lends itself well to completion phrases: “And there was the mouse!” is a phrase repeated throughout that children love to join in and shout.
It’s also great for asking What, where, when, why, how prompts: “How does Bear feel?/How does mouse feel? “Why did Bear do that?”
And Recall prompts: “What does Bear do next?”
A delightful and naturally interactive book that has the added bonus of showing a range of emotions, which is also great for children’s development of emotion understanding.
Go! Go! Go! Stop!: I don’t think it is possible to read this book without your child joining in!
It is the story of little green who comes to help construction machines build a bridge. Little green knows only one word — GO! But there was too much GO! Then little red comes along and he has one word as well — STOP!
Little green and little red have to learn to work together. Kids will naturally start completing the phrases and even begin recognizing the printed words GO and STOP, which are written in large green and red colored text.
Great for completion prompts and recall prompts especially. Also, great for distancing (connection) prompts. For example, you can talk about stoplights when you are driving or playing cars/trucks.
A classic narrative that naturally lends itself to “What happens next”, completion prompts, and open-ended prompts. Most of you probably know this story about a little boy who draws a whole world with his purple crayon.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give…): This is the book I used as the example in the printable.
All of the books in this series very naturally lend themselves to interaction. A boy offers a mouse a cookie and that leads to a series of events. The book makes a complete circle (circular logic), which makes it fun and has children anticipating what that mouse will do next. Great for recall prompts, how does the mouse/boy feel, and completion prompts.
This book is especially good for “Why” prompts due to the circular logic. Why does the mouse want milk? Why does the mouse draw a picture?
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Child’s Play Library): A little mouse is going to pick a red ripe strawberry and the narrator warns the mouse about the big hungry bear.
What happens next, why is the mouse doing that, how does the mouse feel, completion and open-ended prompts all work really well for this book.
This one is nice and short, but very engaging. Even at bedtime, this is a book you can read and still use prompts without it drawing out too long.
The Snowy Day: I wish there were more books like this, a simple story about a child on a child-sized adventure.
Children love this simple story and are fascinated with what Peter does in the snow. Great for asking “Why” questions because Peter does what any child would do, it’s on their level. Why did Peter smack that tree? Why did Peter drag his feet? Why was the snow gone from Peter’s pocket?
The Day the Crayons Quit: This is another great narrative that engages children.
Why was the purple crayon upset? What did the beige crayon draw? Who should get to color the sun– orange or yellow? This is also a great book for “distancing” or connecting prompts. What do you think red and blue would say to each other? What color do you use to color the sun? What is your favorite crayon?
Caps for Sale: A great one for asking children to problem-solve.
Can the peddler outwit the monkeys? Ask your child, what will the monkeys do next? what will the peddler do next? Completion and recall prompts work great in this book too.
So that’s my list of favorites, but there are so many great narratives out there that lend themselves to dialogic reading with your children. What narratives is your child loving now? Let me know in the comments below!!