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Best Read Aloud Books For Kids

Updated on October 2, 2011

The more often your child hears fluent reading, the better prepared she will be for learning to read. According to the National Commission of Reading , reading aloud to children is the most important activity for knowledge building and success at reading.

Continue to read aloud to your child even when they can read to themselves. It will give you quality time together and strengthen your bond. It will also give you the opportunity to revisit some of your favorite stories and share them with your child.

The Many Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Child

  • Reading aloud from a wide variety of books on different topics (even at the earliest levels) can improve a child’s vocabulary and comprehension skill.
  • Expands their knowledge of the world around them.
  • Helps develop a longer attention span.
  • Fosters a love of reading.
  • Strengthens the bond between the reader and child.
  • Improves language skills, preparing a child for school.
  • Exposes children to story structure and problem solving
  • Stimulates the imagination.
  • Fairy Tales and fantasy fiction can feed a child’s already active imagination.
  • Reading aloud opens the door for communicating and expressing emotions by exploring characters and the challenges they face.

Read aloud to your kids daily.
Read aloud to your kids daily.

Tips For Reading Aloud

When reading aloud to a 3 to 5-year–old, aim for 5 to 10 minutes of story time and use books with a limited amount of words per page or 2 to 3 sentences. You can always increase this as your child’s tastes and attention span changes.

  • Pre-read that books you choose to be sure it is appropriate, conveys a message you are willing to explore, and would be of interest to your child.
  • While reading, make eye contact with your child, vary your voice intonations and use facial expressions. Have fun!
  • Have your child sit close to you so they can clearly see, touch and hear the story.
  • Ask you child questions about the story and characters as you read, but don’t insist they answer! Only do this if it is fun for your child.

Make it a habit to read to your child every night. You will both look forward to your time together and a great book to share.
Make it a habit to read to your child every night. You will both look forward to your time together and a great book to share.

Best Books

Baby and Toddler: Interest in books and being read to at this age varies. Some babies and toddlers will sit and listen while others will simply want to practice turning the pages or tasting the book. If your child doesn’t want to listen to a story yet, don’t force him. Get in the habit of sitting for a few minutes each day with him and letting him explore books however he wishes. Lift the flap and touch and feel books are great for engaging a young child’s interest.

  • Sandra Boynton’s board books are well loved by toddlers for their silly song like quality and amusing illustrations. Some favorites: Hippos’ Go Berserk, Snuggle Puppy
  • Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond
  • Puppies Usborne Touchy Feely

Preschool : This age group is full of questions and curiosity and will enjoy a wide range of reading activities. Alphabet and counting books are great for teaching these basic skills, and preschoolers will usually enjoy the practice. Joke books and silly stories are also a favorite among this age group as they are beginning to understand and develop their own sense of humor. Highlighted below are some favorite books by classic authors. Explore all of the titles from your child's favorite.

  • Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McClosky
  • Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day?
  • Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman This is fun read aloud as well as a great beginning readers book.
  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  • Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett
  • Skippy Jon Jones by Judy Schachner

Kindergarten –2nd Grade Consider reading chapter books to your child at this age. Read one chapter per day (or more) acccording to your child's interest. Talk about what is going on in the story and encourage your child to predict what will happen next. Be sure to do a quick review at the beginning of each reading session. Encourage you child to review with you, by asking simple questions to jog their memory.

  • Stuart Little by E.B. White Look for the special read aloud edition. It is large and sturdy with beautiful illustrations.
  • The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting Your child will love this hilarious chapter book about a doctor and his animal adventures.
  • My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett This Newberry Honor Book with take you on a thrilling adventure filled with laughter.
  • Peter Rabbit's Storytime Collection by Beatrix Potter
  • Dear Mrs. LaRue by Mike Teague (picture book)

By Subject


  • Author and illustrator Jim Arnosky has created a collection of beautiful, simple books about animals. Look for his titles at any library.
  • Animals, Animals by Eric Carle
  • Jim Herriot's Treasury for Children Follow this country veternarian on his adventures in caring for and learning about animals. Beautifully written stories that will nuture you child's love of animals.

Math: Explore simple math concepts with the MathStart Series by Stuart J. Murphy. Monster Musical Chairs explores the concept of subtracting by one.

Christian Children’s Books: My personal favorites are the works of Max Lucado. His books are full of encouragement and emphasize the value of being yourself, exactly how God created you. His series about the Wemmick’s aid in understanding the Creator and His children. His titles will appeal to all age groups and some are published as board books, for the youngest listeners. My personal favorite is a story of love and acceptance, called Just In Case You Ever Wonder.

Special topics: Look for books that will help your child understand a difficult situation, like being bullied at school, losing a loved one or pet or having to go to the doctor. There is a book to help your child through just about any issue. Reading together will help open the doors of communication between you and your child. Here is one example:

  • The Hundred Dresses By Eleanor Estes This Newberry Award winner is a story about one girl being left out socially and treated as an outcast by her classmates. The message is powerful and encourages understanding, compassion and forgiveness.


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    • profile image

      NoVAMOM 7 years ago

      I am going to be reading a book aloud to a 2nd grade class and a 4th grade class. We are scheduled to read for 10 to 15 minutes in each class. Can you recommend some good books for 2nd and 4th graders that I will be able to finish in 10 to 15 minutes? Thanks

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you! I've spent many hours in the kids section of the local library and bookstores with my kids and I really love it when we find a new favorite book. Glad you liked me list!

    • arizonataylor profile image

      arizonataylor 7 years ago from Arizona

      You have great taste in books. Looks like I need to go get a few new ones. Great info. Thanks!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you all for reading and commenting. Taking time to read aloud to our kids is one of the best things we can do for them long term, and I am so happy to see so many parents interested in this topic!

    • SidneyMorgan profile image

      SidneyMorgan 8 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the great suggestions. There are a few here I don't have in my kids collection which I will definitely get. Great hub!

    • profile image

      Michelle F 8 years ago

      Thank you for the great suggestions. I am going to buy the Skippyjon Jones book & doll and also the Richard Scarry book for Christmas for my nephew who is 3 1/2. Thanks

    • profile image

      Donna 8 years ago

      Thanks for the list - many of my favourites are here as well as some new titles I'll have to track down at my library. Thanks for sharing your ideas and advice.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 8 years ago

      We read to our grandsons aloud. Our oldest will be three in January and I have been taking him to story hour at the local branch library. His mom put him in a day care program today at a local church center. He will be there 3 days a week. She told my wife he did just fine on his first day.

      Robert Ballard

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

      She will grow into it! I have a 2-yr-old who doesn't sit through most longer picture books. My 5-yr-old begs for Skippy Jon Jones at bedtime every night. It's a great series that we all enjoy!

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 8 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I love Skippy Jon Jones!!Great hub and it's interesting you say it helps increase attention span- that's what I need for my 2 yr old. She hardly sits still for a book and it gets very discouraging because I love reading.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 10 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks Wannabwestern! I have a real love for this subject too, and could write many more hubs about favorite children's books. THank you for reading, I hope you found a good suggestion to share with your kids!

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 10 years ago from Iowa

      This is a great hub! I have a real love for this subject and feel much good can be done by sharing this information with parents, grandparents, and teachers.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 10 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Rob, thanks for the comment! My husband is the designated reader much of the time too, because he enjoys it so much. It still amazes me that children can listen to the same book again and again.

      Goodnight moon, goodnight room, goodnight cow jumping over the moon, goodnight light and the red balloon... I remember most of them :)

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 10 years ago from Midwest USA

      My kids read those Richard Scarry books til' they basically fell apart. This is a great resource for parents. Reading to your children (as early as they can keep their head up) is foundational. Since I love to read, most of the story reading was my role. I loved it. Still do. Both of our boys could read simple stories before kindergarten. I attribute this to the countless stories read to them and all the questions they asked.

      I think they can still recant 'Goodnight Moon', 'That's Not My Train', and others from memory. Me? Maybe not.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 10 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Blogger Mom, I do have The Hundred Dresses, and it is such a powerful book. I read it to my daugher when she was six, and I think we are going to read it again soon because she has been dealing with "mean girls" lately. The book shows different perspectives of the situation, and is told from the view of a girl who is afraid to go against the leading bully. I cry every time I read it. :)

    • Blogger Mom profile image

      Blogger Mom 10 years ago from Northeast, US

      Amy, great hub! I love the Sandra Boyton books. My favorite, uh I mean my kid's favorite, is the Bellybutton Book. =) I'm thinking about getting The Hundred Dresses book. Do you personally have this one? Is it good for boys and girls? Thanks!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 10 years ago from Connecticut

      You are very welcome, highway star! Glad you liked it :)

    • profile image

      highwaystar 10 years ago

      Thanks for an abundance of useful info with excellent hub to boot, cheers!

    • profile image

      highwaystar 10 years ago

      Thanks for an abundance of useful info with excellent hub to boot, cheers!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 10 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Doghouse, thanks so much! I really love children's books and we have quite a collection here. My kids really appreciate them! There would have been even more info, but I was having some technical problems :(