Books for Your Preschooler (and You) to Love
By Wendy Lanier
“Readers are Leaders” is a slogan used in schools so much it’s become a cliché. As a teacher I can attest to the fact it isn’t just a good slogan–it’s true. Readers really do excel. They really do become leaders. What’s more, I’m convinced readers are developed not born.
Developing a reader begins with reading to and with your preschooler – often. Start with books you like and enjoy reading yourself. Try to choose books with rhythm and a predictable pattern. Then make sure to set aside a time for reading on a regular basis. Have fun with it, and your preschooler will, too. The time you spend enjoying books together will foster a love of reading that will carry over to the school age years and beyond.
As a teacher, parent and all around lover of good children’s books, I have dozens of favorites to suggest. Here are just a few.
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (B. Martin, Jr. and J. Archambault; Simon & Schuster) is an alphabet book with an irresistible rhythm. Read it out loud a few times and you’ll find yourself chanting it even when your preschooler is nowhere to be seen. Since this title is fast becoming a standard in the Pat the Bunny or Good Night Moon tradition, there are a number of companion products and a sequel or two as well.
- It’s never too early to begin acquainting your child with the ultimate book, the Bible. The Read and Share Bible (Gwen Ellis; Tommy Nelson) is written by a former children’s editor and grandmother of two. These easy to understand Bible stories are sure to capture your child’s attention and create a firm foundation for their knowledge of the scriptures at the same time. Companion DVD’s are expected to be released in 2008.
- Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson; Margaret K. McElderry Publishing) is a catchy rhythmic tale of woodland creatures in search of a warm spot to spend a cold winter’s evening. All the noise wakes Bear who finds there’s a party “goin’ on” right in his own den. Not to worry, though. Bear’s grumpiness at being awakened is short-lived as he joins in the fun.
- When the mood calls for pure silliness – you’ll find Blue Moo (Sandra Boynton & Michael Ford, Workman Publishing) fills the bill nicely. This book and companion CD contains a collection of songs in a vintage style from the 50’s and 60’s. Many of the laugh out loud silly songs are sung by musical greats from the same time frame. With titles like “Singing in the Shower,” “If a Hippo Can Dance” and “I Got the One Shoe Blues” you and your little ones can’t help but be-bop along. If you happen to be musically inclined, the complete music is included.
- The subject of prayer is sometimes hard for little ones to understand. In Am I Praying? Jeannie St. John Taylor (Kregel Kidzone) assures children (and even adults) that the thoughts we direct God’s way are indeed a way of praying. Part of a series with similar titles, Am I Praying? encourages children to keep an open dialogue with God, making prayer a part of their daily lives.
- For somewhat shorter attention spans Michelle Medlock Adams (Concordia Publishing) reminds little ones of the reasons God deserves our praise in Why I Praise You, God. Told in simple rhyme, this sturdy board book will give your child plenty of reasons to praise God, including the ultimate one – the gift of His Son.