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).
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
A few author/illustrators to add to your reading list: Kadir Nelson, Lane Smith, Erin Stead.
I love to hear that you use picture books in your fourth grade class! My daughter came home with an assignment on picture books, and she’s in grade seven. This is a good trend.