Required Reading, Ages 3-6

required reading, ages 3-6

Things are getting fun now.  We’re all done ripping pages!  Kids at this age should be able to sit still for story time, to listen to the words, and to start making sense of what is happening in the book.  That’s right, now we understand story.  We understand that plots move from beginning to end, and that there’s usually someone in the story who will throw a wrench in the protagonist’s plans.

At this point, you’re probably involved in preschool or Kindergarten.  And so you’ve had parent conferences.  And you no doubt brought a notebook and pencil and you’re asking your child’s teacher how you can help her be a stronger reader.  The teacher will have some thoughts that I’m sure will be lovely, and will no doubt come from a good place.  She went to school to do this job, and if you’re lucky, she’s good at it, and she gets your kid.  But I’m going to tell you something crazy.  I’ll take the long view here, if you will.  If you are lucky enough to have been granted a child with no major developmental delays, or signs of reading difficulty, take that teacher’s advice with a grain of salt.  You could practice sight words, and you could ask your children questions as you read.  But you’d be making your reading time like school time, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be.  It’s supposed to be time to share stories.  If you can keep it there, then keep it there.  Questions will come up on their own, and you can tackle them together as they do.  But the best thing you can do is continue making reading a priority, and making reading enjoyable.

Want to take it one step further?  Prove to your kids that reading doesn’t just happen before bedtime.  Make time for reading on lazy weekend mornings, or right after school.  Reading shouldn’t be something that puts you to sleep.

My picks for this age group fall into 2 categories, books that spark imagination, and books that bring you back home.  Strive for a balance of the two.

The Red Book_04

Books that spark imagination:

The Red Book, by Barbara Lehman (source)

The Stinky Cheese Man, by Jon Scieszka

Runny Babbit, by Shel Silverstein

Diary of a Worm, by Doreen Cronin

Sector 7, by David Wiesner

The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds

Books that bring you back home:

The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman (source)

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet, by Mercer Mayer

Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard and James Marshall

Which Witch is Which? by Pat Hutchins

Ellen’s Lion, by Crockett Johnson

The Art Lesson, by Tomie dePaola

Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems

One, by Kathryn Otoshi

The Legend of Spud Murphy, by Eoin Colfer


7 thoughts on “Required Reading, Ages 3-6

  1. Ooooooo–this is excellent–“Want to take it one step further? Prove to your kids that reading doesn’t just happen before bedtime. Make time for reading on lazy weekend mornings, or right after school. Reading shouldn’t be something that puts you to sleep.”
    Where does “Harold and the Purple Crayon” fit in, please? Also, I absolutely LOVE Peter Speier’s “Rain.” One of my all-time faves because you can add your own words.

    • Harold and the Purple Crayon is by the same author as Ellen’s Lion, so it got left off. Also we dropped Harold in dog poop, which is my most lasting memory of that book.

      • Yes! But I didn’t end up buying it. I could totally imagine reading it aloud and having a little kid crack up. But you have to be a good read-aloud-er with fun voices.
        Also sorry I posed that twice, feel free to delete the other one 🙂

  2. Oh, one of my other faves is “Space Case,” about the little alien who lands on earth on Halloween night and passes himself off as a kid in a costume.

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