Posts Tagged ‘reading aloud’

I’ve been asked to include some books that can be read to the very young children to help get them interested in books.  Here’s what I say…start them early, start them young!  They are NEVER to early to be read to.  Don’t forget my mantra…the more children are read to, the earlier they will learn to read for themselves, the better readers and writers they will be become and the stronger students they will be in school.  You don’t believe me?  Give it a try, then get back to me in about 12 years and let me know how well my statement holds up.  Notice that I didn’t say “theory”.  It’s not a theory, it’s fact!

My son-in-law is sitting down with our granddaughter here and reading one of her favorites.  Actually, I think she’s getting ready to chew on it before he reads it to her.  Make a visit to your public library and check out some of these books for your young guys.  They’ll thank you for it in about 12 years!



     Mama Cat has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming

Now this really is a great book to show how all children in families are different and how that is not only OK, it’s a good thing.  Cute book with vivid illustrations that the youngest listeners will love looking at.  A great book for the littlest guys.  Ages 0-2







      Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

What a warm and snuggly counting book for infants and toddlers.  These bright, graphic pictures will draw in the youngest of listeners and the story can help toddlers learn to count to ten while, by the way, perhaps even falling asleep at night while you read it out loud.  It’s even more fun if you do all the things it says for each number!  Have fun!  Ages 0-4






     Snoozers by Sandra Boynton

Here’s another bedtime book to help those youngest guys get into bed at night.  They can select the story they want, but you know you’ll end up reading all of them.  They can help pick out the rhyming words—especially after you’ve read each story 300 times and they know them all by heart!  Ages 1-3





     Tiger Can’t Sleep by S. J. Fore/illustrated by R.W. Alley

     We all know that many 2 and 3 year olds are afraid of things lurking in their closets or under their beds.  You will both  love the illustrations and story to help those little guys get over being afraid of things in their closets.  Of course, many of us still believe it’s simply a ruse to not have to go to bed.  First, however, check under your bed and in the closet…just in case.  Fun read aloud.  Ages 2-6






     My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

This delightful, wordless picture book won the Caldecott Medal.  The illustrations will be great fun to follow and help predict what will happen next.  It’s a great problem-solving book for the youngest readers and they’ll enjoy finding different animals on the pages—especially the little mouse.  Ages 1-4.




     Bark George by Jules Feiffer

This is a fun and colorful book to read to the young guys.  The youngest listeners will enjoy the story, the sound effects you make reading it aloud and the big, colorful pictures.  The slightly older preschoolers can help predict what will happen and make the sounds themselves.  I didn’t much care for the idea that the dog was expected to behave in a certain way that was expected of dogs—could send a message that conformism is important, but I suppose the youngsters won’t really see it that way.  Ages 1-4


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I don’t know why I’m drawn to books about sheep.  I’m not particularly fond of sheep.  I’ve been told that sheep don’t really make such great pets, although, no one can deny that lambs are pretty cute.  I’ve heard that sheep aren’t all that smart and they make lemmings behavior look like Einstein.  They stand in clusters on the roads in Scotland and England and won’t move no matter what you might shout–or perhaps suggest to them.  All that being said, I love sheep books but I think it’s just the clever illustrations that draws me to them.

 So here are a couple of books I think you’ll enjoy reading together…about sheep, of course!


  Where is the Green Sheep? By Mem Fox/ illustrated by Judy Horacek

Well isn’t this just the cutest book for those little ones?  You’ll love the fun animated pictures and the kids will love learning and saying all the different kinds of sheep in the story.  They will like hearing this one over and over.  Great opportunity to talk about vocabulary.  Maybe they can even imagine different kinds of sheep to talk about.  Ages 1-5


Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton

I don’t know what my attraction to stories about sheep is but this book is just great fun!  You know it’s written by someone who lives in England and is most likely surrounded by a lot of sheep.  The illustrations are a hoot.  It’s about a sheep who can’t fall asleep at night and all the gyrations he goes through to help fall asleep.  You’ll get a good chuckle out of it—and so will the kids too!  Ages 2-5


  Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw/illustrated by Margot Apple

Here I go again with another sheep book.  This isn’t the world’s best literature, by any means, but fun rhyming for the youngest guys with funny illustrations.  I even think it’s a great book for emerging readers to enjoy—much better than many of those publisher’s reading program books.  Everybody will like it. Ages 1-6

Now, if you have any other really clever and irresistible sheep books, please share!

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I’ll admit right up front that these are my two sons reading to their cousin when they were young .  So, as you see, “Books for Boys” can also be appropriate for girls.  While I’m pretty sure that the book they are reading is not a Dungeons and Dragons or an Avengers-type book, this young girl is still pretty engrossed in it.  The other thing I like about this picture is it’s verification that reading together and reading aloud is not just restricted to parents reading to their own children.  Summer is quickly arriving, so grab armfuls of books from the public libraries, borrow from a Little Free Library (see littlefreelibraries.org), or pull from your own collections and sit down and read books together!

I’m sharing some more interesting books that I’ve read that I’m just sure boys will love but feel free to let the girls take a peek too.  You’ll notice a certain theme with a few.  Let me know what your little guys –or big guys –think of my selection.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out a couple of other good websites with book reviews, like the Nerdy Book Club at nerdybookclub.wordpress.com or picturebooklog.blogspot.com.  It’s all about finding great books for kids.



 Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross/illustrated by Stephen Biesty

     Wow!  What a fabulous discovery this was.  This is one of those books that 3 yr. olds and adults will  love.  I am having a hard time selecting an age  group for this creative book.  I’m not a huge history fan but was riveted to this book.  It presents great discoveries and exploration from the Greeks to landing on the Moon in a way that draws you in.  The partnering with the illustrator and the creative fold-outs with elaborate details will hold the attention and interest of everyone who looks at them.  I can’t write enough kudos about this book.  Check it out!  Ages 4+.


      A Street Through Time by Anne Millard/illustrated by Steve Noon

Notice a theme here??  I’ve been looking at a number of these cross-section books and up-close books much like many of the wonderful David MacCauley books.  This colorful book is fascinating because it identifies a particular location—in England, I presume—and follows it’s growth, development, demise and strife through the ages from pre-historic times until today.  The fun thing is to locate the character in each illustration who is the Time Traveler.  By the way, not that you care, but I found all but one picture of the Time Traveler—maybe two.  Kids will love the details and have fun looking for different objects the writer asks for.  Talk about the good as well as the  bad things that happen in civilizations and how events are often repeated.  How could we avoid some of the problems with the progress of our country?  Great fun for kids and parents!  Age 8+

Egypt in Spectacular Cross-Section by Stewart Ross/illustrated by Stephen Biesty

Here’s another one!  Children love learning about the pyramids and the building of that sophisticated empire.  Let’s not forget that that empire and most of the awe-inspiring structures were built by slaves—another matter. A young boy, his father, one of the engineers for one of the many buildings, and his family are at the center of this story.  The reader follows them along their lives to discover all about how that huge empire was built.  Another fabulous cross-section book to find minute figures and details.  Fun way to learn about that period.  Ages 8+



  Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

It is hard to believe that this wonderful series of books was initially written in 1929.  Its stories of adventure, imagination and resourcefulness are fun for children to read today.  Young adults and older children as well will love how this family relies on each other and their cleverness to get them through exciting adventures involving boats, islands, pirates and more!  Anyone who loves the sea and boats will definitely love it.  Hard to put down and is still popular.  Get all the books in the series.  This follows the lives of the family members as they grow up.  I couldn’t resist showing a picture of the boat they used in the series.  Don’t you just want to hop in?  Ages 8+




       The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

     This fantasy series has been around a long time but still stands out as one of the best.  It is pre-Harry Potter but has many similar elements of that famous series.  Susan Cooper is a good writer that will hold the reader for this entire series.  Best to start from the beginning of the series with Over Sea, Under Stone so as not to get too confused.  It might be fun to have kids compare Harry Potter with this series and discuss similarities and differences and what they like about each.  Ages 10 +

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You see?  What have I been telling you?  It’s never too early to start reading aloud to the little guys.  OK, I’ll admit that these are my grandchildren and their Dad (my son) loves to read aloud to his kids so maybe I’m just slightly biased.  So here it is…I challenge anyone who reads this blog to select at least 3 books from the books I’ve reviewed and provide a comment including your own feedback about reading those books aloud to kids, grandkids, students, the babysitting coop or just providing the books in local Little Free Libraries ( see littlefreelibrary.org. If you’re not sure what Little Free Libraries are, just check out this link). Let’s just see what the rest of you think about the books I’ve recommended.  The public library is a great place to start.  You can use some of the books I review below or others from previous blogs.  TAKE THE CHALLENGE!  While I’m at it…let’s not leave the Mom out of this picture.  This child is doubly lucky to have adoring parents who LOVE to read!

The Impudent Rooster adapted by Sabina Rascol/illustrated by Holly Berry

  This adaptation of a classic Romanian story is absolutely wonderful.  It’s a folktale about greed vs. selflessness.  Caring and sharing overcome greed and meanness.  It’s a good story for helping kids appreciate the importance of sharing and helping those less fortunate than themselves.  Oh—couldn’t we all use this lesson?  Ages 3-7


The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

         Where has this book been all my life?—Hilarious, marvelous, creative illustrations.  What a creative way to encourage young children about the wonderful value of reading.  Parents, you’ll love it as much as the kids.  Notice the last page—a surprise.  Ages 3-7



                           Maxine in the Middle by Holly Keller

Great for any middle child or child feeling left out – cute illustrations.  This might even be good for siblings getting a new sibling and who feels left out.  I should know—I was the middle child in the  middle of five.  My mother always said, “Well you’re in the middle which is the best part of the sandwich”, when I felt left out.  Ages 2-5




                        Winter Waits  by Lynn Plourde/ illustrated by Greg Couch

This is a beautiful book – gorgeous, imaginative illustrations.  Young children who frequently ask, “Can you come play with me now?  Look at me.  Look what I made.  Look now.  Look now!” and who often get the response, “ Not right now, honey.  In a minute.  I’ll be there in a few seconds”….will love this book.  The rhyming and creative words add to the magic.  Ages 2-5



How Snake Got His Hiss by Marguerite W. Davol/illustrated by Mercedes Mc

For those of you who have read Kipling’s Just So Stories when you were young, you’ll love this variation.  Snake is a bit of a bully so that’s also a good lesson for all young listeners.  Have fun talking together about all the changes snake has as he moves towards getting the look snakes have today.  The words appear on the page as the shape of the snake.  How fun is that??

Ages 3-5

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Start Reading to them Early

Infants, babies toddlers.  They are all ready to be read to.  They love the bright colors, graphics and certainly love listening to your voice as you read aloud to them.  This is how young children learn language and ultimately helps them learn how to read. Another great plus–it helps soothe them and provides you, as a parent, guardian, babysitter or grandparent, some much needed quiet time together.  Be sure to look at the cover, tell them about the story and point to special objects, colors, numbers and pictures in the story.  As they learn to talk, they’ll enjoy filling in the words too–especially where rhyming is involved.  Always—have fun, have fun, have fun together!  Here are some picture books I’ve enjoyed that are especially good for those very young guys.


A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

It’s easy to see how this is a Caldecott Medalist.  I must have said, “Awwww” out loud at least 20 times while “reading” this book.  While it is a wordless picture book, it is by no means one that doesn’t have a powerful and endearing story about loss, comfort, and friendship.  Adults and children alike will love this one!  Ages 1-3


                                Mice Squeak, We Speak by Tomie dePaola

This book is written for the younger kiddos.  It’s a good read-aloud.  Not my favorite of Tomie dePaola’s books but a change from his usual format and a fun book to read with the younger guys.  Read it over and over aloud and let the young guys fill in what each animal says.  Ages 1-3



                The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle

You just can never go wrong with an Eric Carle book and this is no exception.  He won the Caldecott award for this book.  The illustrations are bright and fun—great read aloud with the young ones.  They will love guessing what animal comes next and turning the pages.  Ages 1-3

Mrs. Moon – Lullabies for Bedtime  by Clare Beaton

Looking for a nice bedtime book to help quiet down the little ones?  Pick a few of these poems as lullabies to read aloud.  The rhyming will always help them fall asleep.  If not, just enjoy the beautiful appliqué art with the pictures.  Who wouldn’t want those quilts?  Ages 1-4


                     Tumble Me Tumbily by Karen Baicker

Very young children will love the rhyming and rhythm of this book.  The fun illustrations are a real boost too.  Be sure to read this aloud together.  Let the little ones help complete the rhymes as you read it over and over—until you can’t read it one more time!  Have fun.  Ages 1-3

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I’m just “reading” the airline emergency information…fascinating!

It’s been suggested that I include what books are appropriate for different ages.  But, you see, it’s not all that simple.  In my mind, it’s not a quick formula you can just plug in the number of words in a sentence or the number of multi-syllabic words, or how many pictures etc.  It’s really more personal.  Yes, I’m a Reading Specialist, yes, I was a teacher, parent and now grandparent, but well…it all depends.  It depends on how precocious the kids are, how interested they are in the topic, whether they read it themselves or it is read to them.  So…the ages that I include are totally subjective, based on what I think would interest children at different ages.  Of course, children younger and/or older may still be interested in the book no matter what I recommend .  Here’s the bottom line on “age appropriate”…if it is not offensive, frightening or inappropriate regarding content and the children or young adults enjoy it…let them read it or read it aloud to them!  The fact of the matter is, books that I’ve recommended to children ages 2-6 have mesmerized me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed so that means those books are really age appropriate for ages 2- 60+.  The bottom line…have fun reading and reading together! I hope you enjoy these picture books I’ve had fun reading.

Finn Throws a Fit! by David Elliott

What parent has never seen an out-and-out temper tantrum from a child between the ages of 2-4?  This marvelously illustrated book shows parents and their young ones how to work through a temper tantrum and just goes to show…parents still love their little ones, even when a tantrum flies!  Use it as a read aloud together and don’t forget to follow up with a great discussion together about temper tantrums.  Ages 2-4

Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

            Everybody knows the Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells and this is another series by her that kids will enjoy reading.  The Japanese setting and illustrations will intrigue kids and may even spark some interest in creating origami paper creatures.  Yoko is a cute kitten who has a special relationship with her grandmother.  This might even get the kids talking about relatives they can’t visit very often and how much they miss them.  Ages 3-5

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

            How many of our kids—or maybe even us—are afraid of thunder and lightening?  Even our pets are afraid of thunder!  Patricia Polacco shares this story about the character’s grandmother who helps the young girl lose her horrifying fear of thunder and lightening.  You can’t go wrong with this story—even includes the yummy recipe for the thunder cake.  Will someone please make it and tell me how it turns out?  Not sure about those tomatoes in the recipe, however.  Ages 3-6

Pipiolo and the Roof Dogs by Brian Meunier

Don’t know about you but I never knew dogs in some villages in Mexico were put up on the roofs to act as guard dogs and were never allowed down.  Well, here it is…a great story about how a strong-willed independent dog takes charge to change all that.  Kids can learn about a different culture while learning the importance of helping those less fortunate.  Illustrations are gorgeous and unusual.  Read it!  Ages 3-7

Pickin’ Peas by Margaret Read MacDonald

            This fun story retold from an old folktale will have the kiddos wanting to go out and pick fresh peas.  Ok, so maybe not, but it is creative and may even remind us a bit of another favorite story about a clever (or maybe NOT so clever) rabbit, Peter Rabbit.  Might even be fun to compare the two stories or make up a rhyme or song for Peter Rabbit.  Beatrix Potter meet southern U.S. folklore. Ages 2-5

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I will admit right now that picture books are my favorites.  While I enjoy reading beginning reading and young adult books too, it’s those picture books that make me laugh right out loud.  Perhaps it comes from pretending to be the old Italian Grandmother “witch” in the Strega Nona books and acting like the doofus Big Anthony or pretending to be little Sal in Blueberries for Sal as she picks and drops her blueberries in her tin bucket–kaplink-kaplank-kaplunk.  You can never have too many voices or too much enthusiasm while you read out loud.  I found that high school students also enjoy the anticipation, enthusiasm and occasional voice changes while listening to a novel, essay, or poem out loud.  Yep—even high school students enjoy being read aloud to.  So here are more of some of my favorite picture books.  Check them out from the library, borrow them, or buy them but…READ!

Now Hedgehog.  Listen to this funny part.

More of my favorite picture books.


                                                Tanka Tanka Skunk! by Steve Webb

This is a wonderful book to read aloud with the rhythm band.  Bring in the pots and pans, drums and anything else to pound on while you read it out loud with your kids.  You absolutely must raise and lower your voices when you read it over and over and over.  Better find a place where the neighbors won’t call the police for the noise, however.  Fun book! Ages 1-4


                                                Chicken Sunday  by Patricia Polacco

     This just might be one of Patricia Polacco’s best books.  It’s a sensitive story about kids from different ethnic backgrounds pulling together for their grandmother.  It’s a good story for talking about the values of caring for someone else and working together as a team.  Sounds “smarmy” but it’s not.  It’s a great story to kick off some interesting discussions.  Ages 4-7



                                    I Went Walking by Sue Williams

 Now here’s a great book for those pre-schoolers and little ones.  Let them guess what is coming next.  You have to love the hairdo on the little boy/girl?  My granddaughter has hair like that.  Come to think of it, so do I.  Great for language development and repetition.  Fun illustrations too.  Ages 0-3

                                  Bad Boys by Margie Palatini

     Here’s a real book about wolves in sheep clothing.  You know that old saying, right?  Hilarious illustrations and a great story for kids to talk about prediction and the moral of the story—even though we all really know that sheep aren’t all that smart.  Ages 3-6

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