There are many benefits to reading picture books and chapter books multiple (even hundreds) of times, but if you are the parent doing the reading, this can be a labor of love. A dear friend told me that if she reads Pinkalicious one more time, she may have to “set the book on fire” (original comment has been censored).
As repetitive as it can be for parents, it is a good thing to read a picture book so many times your kid can recite the words from memory. Children are absorbing the words into their “sight” word bank without realizing it. They are picking up word and sentence structure patterns like capitalization at the beginning of a sentence and punctuation at the end of a sentence. They are learning to follow the story from left to right and top to bottom. I am not recommending you force yourself to suffer through the same book beyond your breaking point, but I am recommending you read aloud often with your children (and that may include a re-run or two… or ten).
Reading aloud to your child models good reading techniques and helps with fluency. It gives you time to stop and talk about what is happening, so you can informally check listening skills and improve your child’s comprehension. Picture books are short, so it is easy to complete a whole story in one sitting. Picture books for older readers have a lot of depth and require some critical thought, so you can keep reading these books all the way through elementary school; there are many I use for lessons with my 4th grade students. Lastly, it is enjoyable and relaxing and how often do you get that kind of time with your child?
The picture books on the list below pass my can-be-read-10-days-in-a-row test. Help me out with additional read aloud suggestions that won’t get stale too quickly. The books below may be new to you, but they have been in high rotation at my house for awhile now.
- King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood (or others by this author)
- The Brambly Hedge series by Jill Barklem
- Flotsam by David Wiesner (or others by this author)
- The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett (or others by this author)
- Who’s Hiding? by Satoru Onishi
- Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young
- What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
- Who is Driving? by Leo Timmers
- I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
- Press Here by Herve Tullet
Non-Fiction/Based on a True Story
- Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell
- My Apron by Eric Carle (be sure to read the author note at the end)
- One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh
- Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery
- Emily by Michael Bedard
For a Laugh
- Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones by Gene Barretta
- Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin (or others by this author)
- A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
- Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Other Picture Book Authors I Like
- Mem Fox
- Patricia Polacco
- David Shannon
- Mo Willems
- Chris Van Allsburg
I use picture books in a quarter-long mini course with 7th graders. Our year theme is heroes and the picture books built around multi-cultural tales are beautiful and relavant (“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” from Africa, “Momotaro The Peach Boy” from Japan). After we have read some picture books, they spend the rest of the quarter writing and illustrating their own original books (7th graders love this, especially when they are given glitter glue.) We are a pre-8 public school, so if there is time (standardized testing too often gets in the way), I try to arrange for the 7th graders to visit the younger kids with their books.
On a more personal level, I see my daughter and son-in-law doing just what you advocate with their baby and she loves “reading” alone as well as with all of us.
I know “Mufaro” but not the other– I am going to find it! Love the idea of publishing books with students. My 4th grade students read then write tall tales at the end of the year and create pop-up books. The kids love it. Your glitter glue comment makes me laugh. As always, thanks for reading. Caitlin
I used picture books with high school age at-risk readers. Their assignment was to practice a book and then read it aloud to preschool and elementary age students. This project created confidence in unwilling readers.
Love that idea!
Another unlikely picture book author that we love is Madonna. If you collect picture book illustrators, Madonna’s books are excellent. She has selected unique up-and-comer illustrators (a different one for each of her 5 books). We loved them all, but especially “The English Roses”.
That surprises me. Good to know!
Thank you- I’m trying to reign in the focus before school pummels our family! Looking for interesting, recommended by people who know a lot more than I, appropriate books for both Wilson and Alexandria. I agree with the Pinkalicious comment, (as well as Purplicious and Goldilicious!)
Hope there is something new that works for you! Miss seeing you at the pool. Caitlin
I never tire of Fancy Nancy or the original Olivia books. I also love Peggy Ratham’s 10 Minutes to Bedtime. Everytime we read it, we discover something new in the pictures. Anything by Richard Scarry or Arnold Lobel or Jan Brett or David Shannon. A Bad Case of Stripes is a favorite of mine. And when I’m looking for a quick bedtime, the No David series gets it done! Oh, and a shout out to the Mrs. Bindergarten series. Love the illustrations (actually met the illustrator, who is lovely), the animals, their names, and the rhymes! Will be reading it a lot this week as we get ready for kindergarten!
Great suggestions, Jenn! I am going to copy your Mrs. Bindergarten idea since we start kindergarten next week too.
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