Memorial Day has come and gone. The temperatures are creeping up. School will be out soon. And you know what that means–summer reading!
I love, love, love the slower pace of summer and the opportunities that it gives my whole family to read for fun. As parents, we know that kids can lose almost an entire grade level in reading skills over the summer. That is why creating a family reading culture is so important. When we show that reading matters to us, that it is a priority for our family, kids will generally follow suit.
In preparation for this summer season, I am beginning a new series: Summer Reading. In this series, I give my personal recommendations for books for a variety of age groups–from babies to teenagers. I have used my background and expertise as a reading teacher, as well as my experience as a parent to make my selections.
Today’s installment focuses on board books for babies and toddlers. These books are engaging, educational, and just plain fun! I’ve included a mix of classics and more contemporary picks that appeal to the very youngest of readers.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss
Perhaps the most toddler-friendly of all of Seuss’s books, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You introduces children to the world of sounds. Toddlers love imitating the noises their parents make, and they learn to make sounds that are essential for beginning speech.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Harold and the Purple Crayon validates a child’s imagination. Harold is able to build an entire world with his crayon–a world of comforts and fears. This classic book still holds magic for today’s early readers.
Drummer Hoff by Barbara and Ed Emberley
Winner of the 1968 Caldecott Medal for its illustrations, Drummer Hoff draws children in with its repetition and engaging pictures. Various characters help build the cannon, which explodes at the end of the book. The rhymes and the building tension create an interesting read.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Mo Willem’s first book (and another Caldecott Medal winner) is hilarious in a way that even the very young appreciate. We love all Mo Willems books in our house, but this one draws in the youngest readers.
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
This classic story introduces a newly-hatched baby bird who has fallen from his nest. During his search for his mother, he meets a variety of interesting creatures and machines. The simple text and satisfying story appeals to all readers.
Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton
Boynton’s playful rhymes, impeccable meter, and colorful illustrations made this book a favorite of my children. Big Brother asked for it nearly every night before bed for many months when he was little. We have many of Sandra Boynton’s book, but this one is nearly worn out from use!
Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
Both Big Brother and Sister learned their colors through this Eric Carle book. The repetition helps toddlers “read” along with the sing-song text. A variety of common animals are also introduced, helping babies and toddlers increase their vocabulary.
I am a firm believer in using the library (I even described it as my best friend in a previous post!), but these books are worth adding to your personal home library. They are guaranteed to become favorite bedtime stories that you will read again and again to your little ones!
What board books would you recommend for babies and toddlers?
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