I looked at his face as he sleepily stumbled out of his room. I was sleepy too. It was 6 AM and he was up early. “Mommy….story?”
This has become our morning routine. My preschooler loves starting his day with a story…and I love it too.
We snuggled together on a couch and dug into his book pick for that morning. I’m so thankful he loves reading. Being immersed in reading has many benefits for children.
Reading helps kids grow their vocabulary, understand the world around them, and even develop empathy and kindness skills. Research shows when we are reading a story, our brain reacts as if we are living the story ourselves. This helps kids understand how other people are feeling and relate to others in a more meaningful way.
Reading also helps kids strengthen their attention span and learn beginning academic concepts. It can help them strengthen their imagination and creativity as well.
Reading any type of book is beneficial to preschoolers, but I’m picky about what we spend our time reading. For preschoolers, the best books to read focus on feelings, friendship, character traits, and beginning academics.
The age of 2-3 is a great time to start learning emotions. Kids are starting to feel big emotions, and the more they know about them, the less scary these big feelings are.
If kids know what they are feeling, and have the language to explain it, it’s easier to stay calm and talk about what they are thinking and feeling (instead of just melting down).
We also love books that have lessons in them. I love to read books that teach life lessons, or that teach beginning academic concepts like rhyming. If kids have been read books that have rhyming words in them, they will easily understand rhyming words when they are taught.
What Kind of Books Should My 3 or 4-Year-Old Be Reading?
Board books are fine to be reading, but by age 3 and 4 you can also be moving to picture books. Kids this age are old enough to know how to carefully handle the books. There’s also more of a variety of picture books with more interesting topics and stories for preschool-age kiddos.
Should My 4 Year Old Be Reading?
Your 4-year-old is not expected to be reading on their own. Research shows by pushing children to read before they are developmentally ready may actually end up hurting them in the end.
If you have been reading diligently to them for most of their life and have been working on letter recognition, they may begin recognizing simple words.
Natural learning is best. It’s great if your kiddo is naturally remembering what some words look like and recognizing them out of context, but it is not time to try to teach your child to read yet. At this age, the goal of reading is to instill a love for books and stories and to make it fun.
Also, remember you can tell your child that they are a reader by reading the pictures. If you give them a book they are unfamiliar with, tell them to look at the pictures and tell you what they think the story is about before you read it to them. This is reading.
Looking at details in pictures is a reading strategy they will work on in kindergarten, so by doing this they are already practicing their reading skills, and building up their confidence as a reader.
Helping them view themself as a reader now will grow their confidence for when it’s time to begin reading words later on.
Books Your Preschooler Will Love
There are too many books that we love to list, but here are some of our absolute favorite books to read for preschoolers.
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Books about Feelings
A Little Spot of Emotion by Diane Alber
Learning about our emotions is really important at this age. This box set is amazing and teaches anger, anxiety, happiness, sadness, love, confidence, peaceful emotions.
This Makes Me Sad by Courtney Carbone
A great series about dealing with emotions. We need to teach our kids about feelings so they know what they are feeling is normal and have the vocabulary to talk about what they are feeling.
This Makes Me Angry, and This Makes Me Happy are available also.
I love these books that promote kindness, thankfulness, and bravery. We also love: I am Thankful, I am Brave, I am Smart, I am Helpful
Why Should I Share? By Claire Llewellyn
Sharing can be complicated. This book helps teach kids why it’s important to share.
More books on sharing: Share, Big Bear, Share by Maureen Wright
Let’s Get Along Box Set by Make Believe Ideas Ltd.
This teaches important skills such as being kind, sharing, keeping calm, and working together.
I’m Happy-Sad Today by Lory Britain
This is a great book that teaches kids it’s normal to feel two different feelings at once.
Are you tired of hearing “It’s TOO HARD!” followed by a meltdown?
Using this one simple phrase you’ll get in this powerful lesson, you’ll not only be able to help your kiddo not give up but you’ll:
>Activate their superpower of perseverance so that they can turn around a meltdown and keep trying
>Inspire them to use perseverance…even when it’s hard
>Teach them to recognize the warning signs of giving up, and how to turn it around by taking control of their choices.
Grab your powerful FREE video lesson to teach your kiddo one of the most powerful keys to perseverance.
Daniel Gets Scared adapted by Maggie Testa
We all get scared sometimes. Daniel Tiger is a relatable character who teaches kids how to handle big feelings, and is a favorite in our house.
This is another book that teaches kids how to handle that big emotion of feeling scared.
At ages 3 and 4, anger is hard to handle. Mad, Mad Bear helps kids learn ways to handle their big feelings of anger.
Other books on anger: When I am Angry by Michael Gordon, When I’m Feeling Angry by Trace Moroney
Books that Teach Character Traits
Ruthie and the (not so) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin
Ruthie and the (not so) Teeny Tiny Lie explains honesty, and what can happen when you aren’t honest. The great thing about his story is that at the end, Ruthie is also met with grace, teaching that it is never too late to make the right choice.
Junior’s Adventures: Storytime Book Set: Teaching Kids How to Win with Money!
The Junior Series teaches kids about the concepts of money. So many adults struggle with budgeting, saving, spending, and debt- how great would it be for our kids to learn these life skills early on?!
Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow and Susan F. Cornelison
Listening when you don’t want to is really difficult. Howard learns that lesson again and again, until he finally is able to listen the first time and it pays off big time.
MySELF Theme: I Get Along with Others
These are simple stories that teach kids basic character traits. Your kiddo will learn all about kindness, respect, sharing, responsibility, honesty, and fairness.
Books that Teach Beginning Academics
Ten Pigs An Epic Bath Adventure by Derek Anderson
This is a fun story about a pig who wants to take a bath, but his friends want to join. The fun, rhyming lyrics of this book will have your kids smiling as they learn to count to 10.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
We love this book! It keeps kids giggling throughout the whole book as a dust bunny seems to have trouble rhyming, but is really just trying to warn the others of the DANGEROUS vacuum cleaner.
Push, Dig, Scoop by Rhonda Gowler Greene
This is a must-have for any construction lover. The fun rhythm and rhyme draw kids in, as this book teaches counting. You will love reading this book over and over again.
Groovy Joe Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin
This fun book uses rhyming words to tell a funny story about how a dog shares his doggie ice cream with some dinosaurs.
Another fun rhyming book about a girl going on a Safari Adventure-until the safari ranger finds her and puts her back to bed.
The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck by Laura Murray
This is a must-have for any fire-truck lover. The Gingerbread Man and the class he belongs to go on a field trip to the fire station, and the Gingerbread Man tries not to get eaten by Spot The Dalmation.
Books that Are Just Plain Fun To Read
Elephant and Piggie Series by Mo Willems
We love the simple pictures and words of these stories. My son has most of them memorized. Kindergarteners also love these books because they are great beginning readers.
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
This is a hilarious story about cows that type a note to Farmer Brown, making demands. The farmer doesn’t necessarily take it well when he discovers that his milk and eggs are being taken away until the cow’s demands are met. This book will leave your kiddos in stitches while they can’t wait to turn every page and discover what happens next.
The others in this series are just as good as the first book: Click Clack Books
Don’t Push The Button by Bill Cotter
What 3 or 4 year old wants to be told they can’t do something? This hilarious book tells kids not to push the button…but of course, they push it. When they do they cause big problems that they have to solve with the characters in the books.
Knuffle Bunny is a relatable story about a girl who has a favorite stuffy…who gets lost. Luckily Mommy knows the answer to the problem. Go with Trixie and her Daddy on an adventure to find Knuffle Bunny.
We also love Knuffle Bunny Too.
Ladybug Girl and Bumblee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis
Ladybug Girl goes on many adventures with her dog, Bingo. I love that this series promotes adventure, imagination, and creativity.
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
This keeps us laughing again and again. The great thing about this book is the author speaks directly to the kids. There are no pictures, but this keeps kids laughing and begging to read again and again.
If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
These books have been my favorites since college. I love the predictable text and the way Laura Numeroff loops the story around to end with the beginning. These are simple stories that children can relate to.. And every child absolutely loves.
Here is the complete set with all of the books.
Maggie and Milo by Juli Brenning
We love this story about a girl and her dog. Any dog owner will appreciate Milo, who is Maggie’s best friend and a wonderful companion when they go frog hunting. This book is awesome at encouraging outdoor play and imagination.
Teach Them to Love Reading
Teaching your child to love reading now will serve them well their entire life. Stronger empathy, a richer vocabulary, increased attention, and higher confidence are just some of the ways your child will grow by being immersed in books.
The trick is finding the right books your preschooler will love. So, snuggle up on the couch and read a good book with your kiddo…even if it is 6 AM.
If you liked this, you’ll love:
43 Children’s Books about Friendship that Teach How to be a Good Friend
The Best Shapes Books for Preschoolers
Best Books for Kindergarteners
What are your favorite books to read to your preschooler?
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