I love to read.
To myself. To my kids. To the kids I tutor. To the kids we teach on Sunday mornings. To the adults I teach on Saturdays. To my husband. To friends. And to anyone else who will listen.
I did get a masters degree in literacy, and by golly, I'm going to use it as much as I can. Even if I'm not a full time paid teacher :)
I've had several friends ask me for children's book recommendations. Hence, this very teachery post.
Thought I'd focus on baby and early toddler age books today, and then move up with recs for older age ranges. There are thousands of great books that are a great fit for 2 year olds and older, like the Hungry Caterpillar and Are You My Mother?. But for the infant to 1 year old age range, I'd stick to very short and interactive books.
One thing I'll say is that babies and one year olds vary in their ability to attend to text very long. Their listening perseverance can be built up with daily reading time. At first, and once they learn to be mobile, very few kids want to sit still for more than a minute. It's nice to know that going into reading time.... so you don't expect a 14 month old to sit through an entire book. Some WILL be able to of course, but not all. If your kid hasn't been great at listening to books yet, even at age 3 or 4, I suggest starting with these itty bitty interactive books that will help build their listening perseverance. It is a worthwhile investment.
Stick with books that have one or two lines of text per page in the beginning. Wordy books are not for this age group or for kids who aren't in the habit of listening to books.
Even If your kid just listens to one or two pages and then runs off to play with other toys, just go ahead and finish reading the book aloud. Many time kids are actually listening while they are playing. Pick a daily reading time, like before bed, and try a short book like the ones I list below. You'll build up their perseverance, their vocabulary, and their general understanding of books (concepts about print). So so huge in the reading process!!! Don't let board books like this fool you into thinking they are ideal for a one year old. This book is little and cute, and while its content is wonderful and even a favorite for a later age range, the length is much more suited for a 2.5 year old or older.
The books I would suggest for babies, 1 year olds, and kids who don't love reading time yet.
By the way, it just about kills me to have to pick which ones to recommend, because there are hundreds that I read to my kids when they were 1 and under that taught them so much and were so enjoyable but didn't mention here. And tons more that I have yet to learn about. HOWEVER, I chose 10 of our favorites for the sake of brevity.
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle. And Polar Bear, Polar Bear, and Panda Bear, Panda Bear. All of those have the same patterned text and colorful pictures that very young readers enjoy.
Charlie is sleeping with the Polar Bear, Polar Bear book as I type.
2. Nursery Rhyme books. Lots of them out there. As long as they have pictures, or flaps which are even better, you'll be doing a huge service to your kids by reading nursery rhymes to them.
3. Counting books. For this baby age, I would stick to books that just go up to 5 for attention's sake. Use your finger to show them how to count the objects on each page, using your finger and pointing from right to left or top to bottom. I am still doing this with Charlie because he hasn't mastered the counting one-to-one matching skill yet.
4. Pat The Bunny, found here on Amazon, and all the other ones in that series. Your kids will love them! Very old school, but very interactive.
5. Animal Sound Books. I've found several of these books in a 'tall' board book version. Little hands seem to love their unusual shape and little ears very much enjoy hearing their mom or dad make animal sounds. Charlie and Annette both gravitated towards animal sound books for a pretty good chunk of time. Here is our favorite version found on amazon. I love amazon because I have a prime account and it's 2 day free shipping no matter the cost. This is dangerous for me. I just bought a 5 dollar book yesterday in like 3 seconds right after I saw it in a kindergarten classroom being devoured by little hands.
6. Peek a Who by Nina Laden. Very quick read and great for building phonemic awareness with all those oo words. We have worn our copy out.
7. The noisy peekaboo books by Discovery Kids are a huge hit with one year olds. My kids ripped off the flaps they played with it so much, but I just kept taping them back on. The sound effect eventually quit working, but the kids still love these books.
8. I Am A Bunny. Teaches kids about the seasons and has that 'tall' thing going for it that seems to attract little ones.
9. Mom Created books. Yep. I make my own books sometimes. It switches things up on your kiddos and they are more motivated to listen usually when they are intrigued. I made the book about colors in the photo above. Here is a peek at the inside. Simmmmple.
10. 5 Little Pumpkins. And any other very short finger play type book. It rhymes and has cool sound effects (when the reader does it right;). And it's perfect for the current season! My kids have this one memorized we've read it so many hundreds of times.
Other classics that I can't stand not mentioning that should be read at age 1 or sometime before kindergarten in my opinion...
Goodnight Moon, Quick as A Cricket, Puppy Love, and Where is Baby's Belly Button? are simply amazing as well. In the top 20 for sure.
Can't wait to do another post about the books that are perfect for the next stage!!
If you had any favorite books that fit the short (one or two lines of text per page), sweet, and somewhat interactive category, please share with me! With baby number 3 on the way, I have an excuse to use that Amazon prime account some more :)