With the current emphasis on literacy, preschool level books abound. Preschool books are meant to be read aloud, enjoyed for the illustrations, or both. There are also preschool books for the beginning reader. Preschool books can be classified in many ways, but most importantly they should have a theme, text, and illustrations appeal to preschool age children. Many preschool books are meant to teach a lesson or concept, but they can also be selected for their use of language, excellent and appealing illustrations, and excellent story telling.
Reading to Your Preschooler
Studies on literacy have found that one of the most consistent predictors of competent readers is the amount children were read to at home. Reading preschool level books should be as much fun for the adult or older sibling doing the reading as it is for child who is listening.
If your budget does not allow you to buy many books, make weekly trips to the library a regular part of your schedule while your child is still in a stroller. Try, too, to own a few favorite books so your child will have the pleasure of paging through them again and again. Preschoolers love repetition, so if you find yourself bringing the same book home from the library week after week, it is a clear indicator that the book is a worthwhile investment for your child.
Types of Preschool Level Books
Concept preschool level books strive to teach concepts such as the alphabet, counting, math concepts such as larger and smaller, spatial relationships and the naming of colors A few excellent concept books recommended by the Horn Book follow:
- Z Goes Home - alphabet
- Ten Seeds - a counting book that integrates the life cycle of a sunflower
- Opposites - 15 common opposites in a pull up the flap book
- The Wing on a Flea: A Book about Shapes
When reading concept books to children, it is a good idea to ask questions to assure that the concepts are understood. These books are great teaching tools, but they teach while entertaining.
Picture books for preschoolers feature simple, yet timeless stories and pictures. The primary function of a picture book is to entertain and promote language development. Some tried and true picture books follow:
- Are You My Mother?
- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
- Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Goodnight Moon - a classic bedtime story
Picture books provide an opportunity for growing vocabulary. Ask the child to identify objects in the pictures as you read each story to them. Encourage them to ask questions as you read. Reading to preschoolers should be an interactive process.
Preschool is a perfect time to introduce children to poetry before they learn incorrectly from others that "poetry is boring." Poetry enhances vocabulary, encourages phoneme recognition, and reinforces the musical elements of a language. Here are a couple of poetry books that will be enjoyed both by the adults who read them out loud and the children who hear them:
Fiction is a perennial favorite among preschoolers, but your child may surprise you by choosing books on non-fiction topics when you visit the library. Whatever you choose to read together, you and your child will be enriched by the experience, and it will set the stage for your child's later learning experiences.