Top Read-aloud Recs for Every Age

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📚 What’s the Story with Read-alouds?

A read-aloud is when a parent, teacher, or caregiver reads a book out loud to a child. This can take place at night before bed, at the library, or at school with their teacher or librarian. Reading aloud is one of the most important, foundational things you can do for your child!  

Children acquire language through listening. By introducing different characters, settings, and stories through reading, you are promoting language acquisition and exposing your child to a broader expanse of knowledge. Read-alouds allow kids to hear more words in different contexts and consequently expand their vocabulary.

It’s really never too early to start, even if reading to an infant doesn’t seem beneficial. But babies love their parents’ soothing voices! With babies, you can read, touch and feel books, cloth books, or board books. Starting read-alouds early will help develop your child’s lifelong love of books and reading.

 

👨‍🍳 Ingredients for a Great Read-aloud 

With so many children’s books out there, it is difficult to know which ones are the best and which ones to choose! Look for books with lots of pictures and images. A good read-aloud can also have rhyme, rhythm and repetition. You don’t need to worry too much about the reading level, so long as the material is appropriate, your child will understand the story.  

It may sound obvious, but another factor that makes a read-aloud successful is whether your child is actually interested in the book. Give them a choice! You can simply ask what they would like to read about next or provide options and let them pick. 

Follow your child’s lead, if they only want to read one book about cars, then read one book about cars! If they want to read multiple stories in one night, then read until it’s time to go to bed or time for dinner. It’s important to keep reading fun! Following their lead and interest ensures they stay entertained and motivated. 

 

⌚ Make Read-alouds a Regular Thing

It is essential to read to your child at least 3 times a week. This builds the foundational skills for eventual success in reading, and it’s important for later development. Remember, nobody’s perfect, do what you can. If your schedule only allows you to read to your child once or twice a week, then read aloud with them once or twice a week. They will love sharing that time with you!

Your child’s attention span will increase as they get older. While little learners might only be able to sit and listen for 5 or 10 minutes, school-aged children could listen for 15 to 20 minutes. As they get older, this can increase to 30 to 40 minutes. Reading time includes talking about the book, reading, asking questions, and generally engaging with the book. 

 

Fun, Interactive Read-alouds

⭐ 3 and under

Mix it up by Hervé Tullet

 

Mix it up by Hervé Tullet

Follow the author’s instructions to make the colors in the book splatter, mix together, and disappear! 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1)

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

A classic that never goes out of style! The very hungry caterpillar eats his way through the book, enjoying different fruits along the way, before turning into a beautiful butterfly. 

 

 

 

Baby Touch and Feel Animals by DK (1)

 

Baby Touch and Feel: Animals by DK

An interactive touch and feel book that will help your little one learn farm animals and develop their fine motor skills by touching different textures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill

Lift the flaps together to help mother dog find her lost puppy. Discover different animals along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

⭐ 4-6 years old 

Cows to the Rescue by John Himmelman (1)

 

Cows to the Rescue by John Himmelman

Repetition makes this read aloud enjoyable for any age. After helping get the Greenstalk family to the county fair, the cows busy themselves solving other problems that come up throughout the day. 

 

 

 

Moon Bear by Frank Asch (1)

Moon Bear by Frank Asch

After noticing the moon growing smaller each night, Moon Bear decides to do something about it. If you enjoy this one, you can read the whole series!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas (1)

 

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

While three dust bunnies, Ed, Ned, and Ted are showing off their rhyming skills, their friend Bob is trying to warn them of impending danger… Can your kiddo think of any other words to rhyme with the dust bunnies?

 

 

 

 

 

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic (1)

 

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic

Duck is concocting a soup that everyone will remember. But when he leaves the house in search of the missing ingredient, his friends think he’s fallen into the soup!

 

 

 

 

 

⭐ 7+ years old

Journey by Aaron Becker (1)

 

Journey by Aaron Becker

In this wordless picture book, a little girl uses a red marker to draw a door on her bedroom wall. Entering into another world, she uses her marker and experiences many more adventures!

 

 

 

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Carole Boston Weatherford (1)

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Carole Boston Weatherford

A vibrant biography of Aretha Franklin, winning the Coretta Scott King Illustration Award in 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (1)

 

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Little Duncan just wants to color, but when he returns home from school he finds his crayons have had enough! They’ve left letters saying they quit!

 

 

 

 

 

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (1)

 

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Every reader will become a comedian in this creative and humorous no-picture book. A book without pictures may seem boring, but in this book the reader must say everything that’s on the page, even if the words say. . . BLORK or BLUURF!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning with a Lesson

⭐ 3 and under

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr (1)

 

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

An introduction to different feelings your little one may experience. In this book, children express different moods, including “I feel very mad.”

 

 

 

 

 

I Say Please and Thank You by Rachel Isadora and Robie Rogge (1)

 

I Say Please and Thank You by Rachel Isadora and Robie Rogge

Learn your manners, like please and thank you, in this open the flaps picture book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault (1)

 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault

A rhyming book to learn the alphabet. Follow what happens with the whole alphabet tries to climb up a coconut tree.

 

 

 

 

 

Circles by Yusuke Yonezu (1)

 

Circles by Yusuke Yonezu 

Learning shapes has never been more fun, with this clever board book. The colorful different circles in the book change into different objects on each page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

⭐ 4-6 years old 

⭐ 4-6 years old

 

Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook

Each new page reveals clothes and equipment of a different profession. Before you turn the page, can your kiddo guess what job it is?

 

 

 

 

 

Lines_ Squiggles, Letters, Words by Ruth Rocha (1)

 

Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words by Ruth Rocha

Have you ever learned something, then started seeing it everywhere? This book follows a young student, who after learning their letters at school, starts to notice them everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (1)

 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Has your child ever entered a room and felt different? This book shows that even though you may feel like an outsider at times, if you have the courage to share your story, the world will make space for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Q & U Call it Quits by Stef Wade (1)

 

Q & U Call it Quits by Stef Wade

Q & U have been friends for quite some time, but suddenly they want to call it quits! How will Q and U move on? This hilarious and quirky story will show your child consonant blends and get them excited about learning their letters.

 

 

 

 

⭐ 7+ years old

Do you know dewey (1)

 

Do You Know Dewey? By Brian P. Cleary

Learn to recognize the difference between fiction and nonfiction books. Great for kiddos venturing into the nonfiction section of the library. Will they discover their favorite section in 636, pets; or 523.4, planets?

 

 

 

 

 

The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora (1)

 

The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora 

Reset in Africa, the girl proves that she is a true princess by feeling a pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. Teach fractured fairy tales by reading the traditional Princess and the Pea story and comparing it to other retellings of the classic tale.

 

 

 

 

 

Butterflies Belong Here by Deborah Hopkinson (1)

 

Butterflies Belong Here by Deborah Hopkinson

An immigrant girl learns English by reading about monarch butterflies. Realizing their decline in her area, she enlists the help of her classmates to build a butterfly garden. Learn about animal migration and young immigrant perspectives.

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Still Here by Traci Sorell (1)

 

We Are Still Here by Traci Sorell 

Learn about past, present, and future Native American perspectives through historical and contemporary stories from twenty different tribes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by Liz Price

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