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Great Read Alouds for Preschoolers

Build on your young listener's love of words, information, and story with lots of reading aloud. You’re building their experiences while building vocabulary. Remember, young children can understand many more spoken words than they use. And the language in books tends to be greater and more diverse than the words we use everyday when talking with children. Preschoolers enjoy simple books as well as more complex books, the sound of language — even nonsensical words — and a good laugh; after all, they’re developing a sense of humor!

See also: Great Read Alouds for Kids: Babies to Grade 3.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Froodle

By: Antoinette Portis
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It all started with a little brown bird that tired of making and hearing the same old sounds: caw, coo, chirp, peep. Instead, it said “Froodle sproodle!” which came as an unwelcome shock to the crow, cardinal and dove. But the small brown bird’s continued wordplay inspired the others — even the crow. Simple, bold illustrations and varied type present a comical tale of individuality and lots of potential for wordplay.

If You Were a Dog

By: Jamie Swenson
Illustrated by: Chris Raschka
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Effervescent language and lively illustrations ask readers what kind of dog, cat, fist, bird, bug, frog, or dinosaur they’d be — but since they are not, they can "arrooo! like a dog, hiss! like a cat," or even "chomp, stomp, roar! like a dinosaur" in this playful, imaginative book.

Kitten's First Full Moon

By: Kevin Henkes
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Children will delight in Kitten’s mistake. They know that what she thinks is a bowl of milk is really the moon’s reflection. Mostly black and white (and shades of gray) illustration expressively depict Kitten. Children enjoy the visual and verbal patterns throughout. (2005 Caldecott Medal Winner)

Little Mouse

By: Alison Murray
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

When the young narrator feels quiet and cuddly, she doesn’t mind being her mom’s Little Mouse. Other times, she is as strong as an ox or brave and scary like a lion. A child’s daily changing moods are reflected in the open illustrations and simple text.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama

By: Anna Dewdney
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Little Llama Llama has a major meltdown when he tires of shopping with Mama in the shop-o-rama. But Mama Llama is smart and figures out how do end the llama drama. The rhyming text shares not only a common experience but a great deal of llama wisdom all told with good humor and rhyme.

Marc Brown's Playtime Rhymes: A Treasury for Families to Learn and Play Together

By: Marc Brown
Genre: Fiction, Poetry
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Twenty familiar and some lesser-known rhymes are just right for sharing. Actions are shown in small pictograms that accompany each line. One fingerplay appears on each double page with gentle, idealized illustration for a collection perfect for sharing.

Maria Had a Little Llama/Maria tenia una llamita

By: Angela Domínguez
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Cheerful, childlike depictions of Maria and her much loved llama set the familiar rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, in a Peruvian village. The little white llama follows Maria to school, makes the children laugh, but with a distinctive and unique setting and characters in a familiar cadence.

Time-Out for Sophie

By: Rosemary Wells
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Exasperated Mama and Daddy put Sophie in time-out when she dumps her dinner and tosses the clean laundry. But when Granny puts herself in time-out during their book-sharing, Sophie straightens up. Text and illustration capture a young child’s tenacious behavior and her adults’ reactions, sure to be recognized by all.

Tippy-Toe, Chick, Go!

By: George Shannon
Illustrated by: Laura Dronzek
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Can the youngest chick solve the problem and help the family get to their tasty meal of potato bugs and beans? Of course, for only she can run tippy-toe around the fierce — but leashed — dog! Young children will appreciate the youngest chick’s success in this brightly illustrated tale.

Tiptoe Joe

By: Ginger Foglesong Guy
Illustrated by: Laura Rankin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

A big brown bear in red sneakers tiptoes fast to invite his friends to "…come with me/I know something you should see." Each animal clops, thuds or swishes to see Joe's surprise: two sleeping cubs with their mother. Told with lively language and humorous illustrations.

Whistle for Willie

By: Ezra Keats
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Oh, how Peter wished he could whistle to call his dog, Willie. Try as he might, he just couldn’t seem to make the sound come out — until one day he could! The simple description of a child’s yearning is told in natural language and charming collage illustrations.

Yoo-Hoo, Lady Bug!

By: Mem Fox
Illustrated by: Laura Ljungkvist
Genre: Fiction, Poetry
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

A small ladybug loves to hide — and she does it well in each familiar scene. "Yoo-hoo, Ladybug? Where are you?" She's hiding behind the teddy bear, tucked in a box, and other places in this brightly illustrated, rhyming hide-and-seek book for younger children.

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