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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Books Aplenty, Books Galore

February 27, 2007

Skylar wrote and asked, "What books should I read to an 18 month old and a 3 year old or does it even matter what I read to them? Someone please help me."

Thanks for the great question, Skylar. There are TONS of recommendations out there for what types of books to read for certain ages; I'll try to compile a few good resources here. I hope others will chime in with their tried and true favorites.

One sure earmark of a good read aloud — it needs to be a book YOU like too, because you may find yourself reading it over and over and over and over and over and over again (and that's a good thing!). I'm ashamed to say that one or two books have 'disappeared' for weeks as my husband and I take a break... but those books have a way of coming back! Perhaps the most important reason to like what you're reading aloud is because your enthusiasm will be contagious.

My girls still love our Mother Goose book illustrated by Rosemary Wells, although it's a sit-and-listen book, too big to be hauled around by little ones. Our Mrs. Wishy-Washyboard book inspired both my girls to mime washing movements while listening, and a cloth version of Go, Dog, Go was great because we could throw it in the wash with the bibs. Sandra Boynton's Blue Hat, Green Hat was FUN just for its silliness (they LOVE the Oops! part), and we still get out our Goodnight Moonand Time for Bed for those last sleepy, precious moments of the day.

The Family Literacy Foundation compiled some reasons why we should all be reading aloud to our kids and suggestions for techniques to use while we read aloud. They also have a handy tool for generating lists of books by type (for example wordless, repeating, alphabet, concept books). Jim Trelease just released his 6th edition of The Read Aloud Handbook that includes lots of book ideas. The American Library Association (ALA) provides a list of the 2007 Notable Children's Books, and I'd be totally remiss if I didn't put in a plug for your local library. My local system is wonderful, and the media specialists there absolutely love to talk about books for kids. They are kind enough to publish booklists of recommendations by age: books for babies and toddlers , preschoolers and more. I'll bet your local library has similar resources.

I'd love to hear from you — what have been your favorite read alouds?

Comments

I have a 10 year old son with mild autism. When my son was 3-6 years old, he had difficulty with time concepts and entering a conversation. We began to read alot of the Eric Carle books because they had time concepts and conversation starters. For example, in The Very Quiet Cricket, it progresses through the day from morning until evening and the dialogue is conversation starters: "Good morning", etc. The illustrations are vivid and eye catching, and they books come in board or pages, bigger and smaller.

So glad you mentioned about enjoying books yourself. I specialise in reading development at school entry and never once, until my 2 year old daughter recently started demanding books, thought about enjoying them as well. I look especially for ones we can interact with. Eric Carle also comes to mind and the current favourite is Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear. We love making the animal noises and best of all I don't mind reading it over and over again.

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