As an avid reader, English teacher, and lover of literature, reading is of course a huge part of our household. Reading starts in the laps of parents, that much is certainly true, and so I have always made the effort to ensure my children (and students) are exposed to as many books as they possibly can be and as often as possible.

I developed my own love of reading from seeing my own mother being an avid book enthusiast. Walking by our bookshelves in our childhood home daily, always stocked with newly bought books, implied that reading should always be at the forefront of my mind.

As a teacher, my number one recommendation to all parents when asked “What can I do to help my child learn more at home?” is always “READING”. By sharing with your child the joys of reading for pleasure, you will be rewarding them with a lifetime love of literature and learning, along with so many other incredible skills that will support their development and growth.

It’s a commonly known fact amongst educators that children who read for twenty minutes a day do better on standardized tests and in school. This result comes down to the ongoing development of vocabulary and language usage a reader will expand on when reading frequently, in addition to knowledge building and the acquisition of critical thinking skills. Exploring all kinds of stories also helps learners to develop a stronger sense of who they are, their place in the world, and develop important social and emotional skills such as perspective-taking, empathy, and compassion.

The earlier you start reading with your child, the better. I began reading with both of my children before they were 3 months old, starting with black and white hardback books but also reading aloud some of my favorite childhood picture books. Reading to your baby can have a significant impact on their understanding of spoken language and help them to acquire a bank of words for objects and things in the world around them. You can view my recommendations for books to read with infants here.

As children reach the ages of 2-3, book choice is important, as you want to ensure the content is engaging, meaningful and will also aid them in developing important early reading skills, such as letter recognition, vocabulary building, and phonics awareness.

Over the years, as a parent and educator, I have stumbled upon books that are incredibly designed to teach emerging readers how to read, but not all books are made equally. Some books in fact can be really frustrating, as the word choice can be confusing or inappropriate for emerging readers, fonts can be erratic and make letter recognition a challenge, and the content may not be all that great.

In this post, I have highlighted 5 incredible book series that I highly recommend all parents (and educators) to use to help their learners develop important early literacy skills. These books are great for content and each of them has something special that helps make teaching children to read that much easier.

  1. Biff, Chip & Kipper and The Oxford Reading Tree

A UK classroom favorite, this series is fantastic for language building and phonics understanding. The texts are written with the development of basic phonics awareness in mind, starting with basic CVC words, moving up to CVCE words, and so on, as the levels increase. What I also love about these books is the added critical thinking games included in the books, such as spot the difference, find the object in the picture, and more. These books have been perfectly designed for emerging readers and I can’t recommend them enough. 

  1. Dr. Seuss Books

Dr. Suess’s books were designed with the intention of teaching reading, with content built mostly on the repetition of sight words. The rhymes throughout the books make for a silly and memorable read that in my experience, all children grow to love. It’s amazing to think these books were made sixty-plus years ago, as they’re still a childhood favorite in my eyes. What I also love about the Dr. Suess books is the lessons they teach children, such as in accepting one’s differences, that weird and funny is not a bad thing, and that reading is important

  1. Julia Donaldson Books

With her play on rhyme, Julia Donaldson has brought some incredible children’s stories into this world that make learning to read fun and enjoyable for both parents, teachers, and little readers. The predictable rhyming patterns in her books help little readers to be able to predict word sequences while the rhythm patterns allow little learners to easily memorize the text. When my daughter was three, Cave Baby was her favorite, and she demanded I read it to her every single night.

  1. Polar Bear, Polar Bear

Eric Carle’s books are not only great for helping young readers to develop a love of reading but also a love of art. As an art enthusiast, I can’t help but appreciate the illustrations of Eric Carle’s books, as well as the repetition of words that make learning sight words and word sequences that much easier for little readers. Children love predicting which animal comes next in the Polar Bear, Polar Bear series, enabling them to develop critical thinking skills as well as advanced vocabulary relating to the world of animals.

  1. That’s Not My…

Simple in content, the That’s Not My.. Usborne book series is a crowd favorite in our household. The That’s Not My Puppy book was the first that my daughter began reading on her own, with the repetition of the sight words in the repeated sentence structure making it easy for her to read independently. What I love about these books is the tactile nature of them, bringing in the kinesthetic learner to explore a range of textures as they discover the simple yet clever little stories.

These books are a great start for any parent setting out on their reading adventure with their little learners. We hope you enjoy these books just as much as we have. 

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