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5 Great Books to Start Reading to Your Toddler

Introduce reading to your child at a young age.

Do you want to start reading to your child?  As a Reading Specialist, I can’t tell you enough how important it is to read to your child from a very young age.  It’s never too early to start.  Many moms like to start reading to their baby when he or she is still in the womb even!  It’s never too soon, and it’s never too late to start reading books with your child.  If you are unsure where to begin, we have some great options below.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar features a caterpillar who eats its way through a wide variety of food.  After eating the food, the cute little creature ends up emerging as a butterfly.  The colorful illustrations make this book a real winner for little ones.  Written by Eric Carle, this book has been the recipient of many children’s literature awards.  It has sold 30 million copies worldwide.  Furthermore, this excellent book is known as one of the most classic children’s books of all times.  

The Napping House, by Audrey Wood and Don Wood

This is a great story that your child can read along with you.  Since it has a lovely repetition pattern, it is easy for children to recite.  With a snoring granny, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat, a slumbering mouse, and a wakeful flea!  And they’re all piled high on a nice cozy bed in a napping house. All goes well until the wakeful flea crawls on top. This book is both funny and charming.  The story swells as it approaches the climax.  This classic book encourages young kids to read along and make predictions.  The rhyming and repetitive language make this picture book an appealing pick for any child.

Sheep In a Jeep, By Nancy E. Shaw and Margot Apple

This story will be well loved because it gathers momentum as it’s read.  When five foolish sheep cram into one jeep, their energetic spirits and lack of judgment combine to make this one crazy road trip. You and your child will be plummeting over the hill, tumbling into a mud puddle all the while yelling out for help.  Toddlers love craziness.  And this is about a crazy as a book can get.

Nancy Shaw’s  rhymes are perfect for a young child’s speech and vocabulary development.  The parent can have so much fun reading: “Jeep goes splash! Jeep goes thud! Jeep goes deep in gooey mud!” The very talented illustrator Margot Apple humorously captures the silly expressions of the sheep.  This will be a book your child will most likely want to be read over again and again.

Green Eggs and Ham, By Dr. Seuss

Most likely you have heard of Dr. Seuss and his wonderful collection of books that never go out of style. Green Eggs and Ham is one of my favorites and one of the most popular children’s books ever written.  As if on cue, it is highly likely that your child will start reading out loud with you.  The familiar line that is repeated throughout the book: “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam, I am.”

As of 2018, this book has sold over 8 million copies.  If your child likes this book, and the chances are high that he or she will, there are many other Dr. Suess books to choose from.   All have a delightfully rhyming quality to them.

Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are was written in 1963 by writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak.  This fun to read book has sold over 19 million copies worldwide.  Young children will take delight in a boy named Max who is sent to bed without his supper.  While in his room, Max dreams (or maybe it isn’t a dream) that he is in a land far away where the wild things roam.  He has fun watching the wild things, but then eventually gets lonely.  Finally, he sets sail back to his home where his warm dinner is waiting for him in his room.

End Thoughts

In summary, I’ve briefly covered just five great children’s books to read to your toddler.  But there are thousands of excellent books out there!  Consider getting a library card and picking out books together with your little one.  Because we live in such a fast paced world filled with technology, there is nothing that can duplicate the quality time spent while reading to a child. Do you have a favorite children’s book that we forgot? Feel free to comment it below!



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