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Reading Tips & Books

Reading books

A child's success as a reader begins much earlier than the first day of school. Reading, and a love for reading, begins at home!

 

Reading tips

The following tips offer easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers. Although we've divided these tips by age, many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages — we encourage you to choose the ones that work best for your child.

The parent tip sheets above are also available for download in twelve languages! They are from WETA's education project called ColorinColorado.org. More advice for parents and educators about reading is available from WETA's ReadingRockets.org and AdLit.org projects.

 

Book lists 

The books listed below are highly recommended by WETA's Ready To Learn instructors! There are more than 180 of them listed in the following categories:

Additional book recommendations are available from the PBS Book Finder (use the search box on the right); ReadingRockets.org, Colorin Colorado.org, and the American Library Association.

You'll find many of these books at your local public library.

 

Adoption

  • Adoption
    by Fred Rogers
  • The Day We Met You
    by Phoebe Koehler
    Aladdin, 1997
  • Horace
    by Holly Keller
    Mulberry Books, 1995
  • I Love You Like Crazy Cakes
    by Rose A. Lewis, illustrated by Jane Dyer
    Little, Brown Young Readers, 2000
  • Jin Woo
    by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
    Clarion Books, 2001
  • A Koala for Katie: An Adoption Story
    by Jonathan London, illustrated by Cynthia Jabar
    Albert Whitman and Company, 1997
  • Mommy Far, Mommy Near: An Adoption Story
    by Carol Antoinette Peacock, illustrated by Shawn Costello Brownell
    Albert Whitman and Company, 2000
  • A Mother for Choco
    by Keiko Kasza
    Putnam Juvenile, 1996
  • Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
    by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell
    HarperTrophy, 2000
  • We Wanted You
    by Liz Rosenberg, illustrated by Peter Catalanotto
    Roaring Book Press, 2002
  • The White Swan Express: A Story about Adoption
    by Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki, illustrated by Meilo So
    Clarion books, 2002

Africa & African Folktales

  • Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock
    retold by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Janet Stevens
    Holliday House, 1990
  • Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti
    retold and illustrated by Gerald McDermott
    Henry Holt and Company, 1987
  • Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions
    by Margaret Musgrove, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon
    Dial, 1976
  • Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain
    by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon
    Puffin, 1992
  • Hatseller and the Monkeys
    retold and illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite
    Scholastic Press, 1999
  • Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book
    by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings
    Dial, 1985
  • Moja Means One: A Swahili Counting Book
    by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings
    Puffin, 1992
  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
    by John Steptoe
    Amistad, 1987
  • A Story, A Story
    retold and illustrated by Gail Haley
    Aladdin, 1988
  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale
    By Verna Aardema, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
    Puffin/dial, 2004
  • Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa
    retold and illustrated by Gerald McDermott
    Voyager Books, 1996

Alphabet Books

  • The Alphabet Tree
    by Leo Lionni
    Dragonfly Books, 1990
  • Alphabet Mystery
    By Audrey Wood, illustrated by Bruce Wood
    Blue Sky Press, 2003
  • Alphabet Under Construction
    by Denise Fleming
    Henry Holt and Company BYR Paperbacks, 2006
  • Animal Action ABC
    By Karen Pandell, animal photographs by Art Wolfe, child photographs by Nancy Sheehan
    Dutton Juvenile, 1996
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (series)
    by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
    Aladdin, 2000
  • Eating the Alphabet
    by Lois Ehlert
    Voyager Books, 1993
  • Kindergarten ABC
    by Jacqueline Rogers
    Cartwheel, 2002
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (series)
    by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
    Puffin, 2001
  • Old Black Fly
    by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Steven Gammell
    Henry Holt and Company BYR Paperbacks, 1995
  • Tomorrow's Alphabet
    by George Shannon, illustrated by Donald Crews
    HarperTrophy, 1999
  • 26 Letters and 99 Cents
    by Tana Hoban
    HarperTrophy, 1995

Anger and Conflict

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (series)
    by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz
    Aladdin, 1987
  • Angry Dragon
    by Thierry Robberecht, illustrated by Philippe Goossens
    Clarion Books, 2004
  • How Are You Peeling?
    by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freyman
    Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999
  • If You're Angry and You Know It!
    by Cecily Kaiser, illustrated by Cary Pillo
    Cartwheel Books, 2005
  • Julius, the Baby of the World
    by Kevin Henkes
    HarperTrophy, 1995
  • Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
    by Kevin Henkes
    Greenwillow, 1996
  • Sometimes I am Bombaloo
    by Rachel Vail, illustrated by Yumi Heo
    Scholastic Press, 2002
  • What a Tantrum! ¡Vaya rabieta!
    by Mireille d'Allance
    Scholastic, 2004
  • When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry
    by Molly Bang
    Scholastic Paperbacks, 2004
  • Where the Wild Things Are
    by Maurice Sendak
    HarperTrophy, 1998

Animals

  • And the Cow Said Moo!
    by Mildred Phillips, illustrated by Sonja Lamut
    Greenwillow, 2000
  • Click Clack Moo: Cows that Oink (series)
    by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
    Scholastic, 2005
  • The Cow That Went Oink
    by Bernard Most
    Voyager Books, 2003
  • From Head To Toe
    by Eric Carle
    HarperCollins Childrens Books, 1997
  • Harry the Dirty Dog (series)
    by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
    HarperTrophy, 1976
  • Have You Seen My Duckling?
    by Nancy Tafuri
    HarperTrophy, 1991
  • The Little Red Hen
    by Paul Galdone
    Clarion Books, 1985
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (series)
    by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
    Puffin, 2001
  • Quick as a Cricket
    by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood
    Child's Play International, 1990
  • Rosie's Walk
    by Pat Hutchins
    Puffin Books, 1970
  • The Seals on the Bus
    by Lenny Hort, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
    Owlet Paperbacks, 2003
  • There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
    by Simms Taback
    Scholastic Inc., 1999

Babies and Siblings

  • Angel Baby
    by Pat Cummings
    HarperCollins, 2000
  • Bright Baby Animals
    by Roger Priddy
    Priddy Books, 2004
  • Brothers and Sisters
    by Ellen B. Senisi
    Scholastic, 2001
  • Flip-A-Face: Baby Animals
    by SAMi
    Blue Apple Books, 2005
  • Hannah's Baby Sister
    by Marisabina Russo
    Greenwillow, 1998
  • Happy Birth Day!
    by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberly
    Candlewick, 2002
  • Henry's First-Moon Birthday
    by Lenore Look, illustrated by Yumi Heo
    Athenuem/Anne Schwartz Books, 2001
  • Hi New Baby!
    by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberly
    Candlewick, 2003
  • I'm a Big Brother/ I'm a Big Sister
    by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Maxie Chambliss
    HarperCollins, 1997
  • I Used to Be the Baby
    by Robin Ballard
    Greenwillow, 2002
  • Julius the Baby of the World
    by Kevin Henkes
    HarperTrophy, 1995
  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
    by John Steptoe
    Amistad, 1987
  • Mama, Do You Love Me?
    by Barbara M. Joosse, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
    Story Time Association, 1993
  • My New Baby
    by Annie Kubler
    Child's Play International, 2000
  • The New Baby
    by Mercer Mayer
    Random House Books for Young Readers, 2001
  • The New Baby
    by Fred Rogers
    Putnam Juvenile, 1996
  • On Mother's Lap
    by Ann Herbert Scott and Glo Coalson
    Clarion Books, 1992
  • On The Day I Was Born
    by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate, illustrated by Melodye Benson Rosales
    Cartwheel Books, 1995
  • Our New Baby
    By Wendy Cheyette Lewison
    Grosset & Dunlap, 1996
  • Peter's Chair
    by Ezra Jack Keats
    Puffin, 1998
  • Sophie and the New Baby
    by Laurence Anholt and Catherine Anholt
    Orchard Books, 2004
  • Ten, Nine, Eight
    by Molly Bang
    HarperCollins Publishers-Harper Trophy, 1983
  • Waiting for Baby
    by Annie Kubler
    Child's Play International, 2000
  • Waiting for Baby
    by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Emily Bolam
    Henry Holt and Company, 1998
  • What Shall We Do with the Boo-Hoo Baby?
    by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Ingrid Godon
    Macmillan Children's Publishers, 2001
  • You're the Boss, Baby Duck
    by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jill Barton
    Candlewick, 2001

Bedtime Fears

  • Brave Martha
    by Margot Apple
    Houghton Mifflin, 1999
  • Close Your Eyes
    by Kate Banks, illustrated by Georg Hallensleben
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002
  • Max's Starry Night
    by Ken Wilson-Max
    Belitha Press Ltd, 2003
  • Shadow Night
    by Kay Chorao
    Dutton Juvenile, 2001
  • Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep
    by Joyce Dunbar
    Corgi, 2007
  • There's a Monster Under My Bed
    by James Howe and David S. Rose
    Aladdin, 1990
  • Too Many Monsters
    by Eve Bunting and James Bernardin
    Troll Communications, 2002

Counting and Number Books

  • Click Clack Splish Splash: A Counting Adventure (series)
    by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
    Athenuem, 2006
  • The Doorbell Rang
    by Pat Hutchins
    HarperTrophy, 1989
  • Eating Fractions
    by Bruce McMillan
    Scholastic Paperbacks, 1992
  • Farm Life
    by Elizabeth Spurr, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman
    Holiday House, 2003
  • Feast for Ten
    by Cathryn Falwell
    Scholastic, 1993
  • Five Little Dinosaurs
    by Will Grace, illustrated by Ed Vere
    Cartwheel, 2004
  • How Much is a Million?
    by David Schwartz, illustrated by Steven Kellogg
    HarperTrophy, 2004
  • Inch by Inch
    by Leo Lionni
    HarperTrophy, 1995
  • Math Curse
    by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
    Viking Juvenile, 1997
  • More than One
    by Miriam Schlein, illustrated by Donald Crews
    Greenwillow, 1996
  • One Duck Stuck
    by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Jane Chapman
    Candlewick, 2003
  • One Naked Baby: Counting to Ten and Back Again
    by Maggie Smith
  • Over in the Meadow
    by Olive A. Wadsworth, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Ten Black Dots
    by Donald Crews
  • Ten, Nine Eight
    by Molly Bang
    HarperCollins Publishers-Harper Trophy, 1983

Death

  • Goodbye Mousie
    by Robie Harris, illustrated by Jan Ormerod
    Aladdin, 2004
  • When a Pet Dies
    by Fred Rogers
    Putnam Juvenile, 1998
  • Badger's Parting Gifts
    by Susan Varley
    HarperCollins, 1984
  • The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
    by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Erik Blegvad
    Aladdin, 1987
  • When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death
    by Laurie Kransy Brown, illustrated by Marc Brown
    Little, Brown Young Readers, 1998
  • The Dead Bird
    by Margaret Wise Brown
    William Morrow & Co (P), 2008
  • Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs
    by Tomie dePaola
    Putnam Juvenile, 2000
  • My Grandson Lew
    by Charlotte Zolotow
    HarperCollins, 2009

Health and Nutrition

  • Animal Action ABC
    by Karen Pandell, animal photographs by Art Wolfe, child photographs by Nancy Sheehan
    Dutton Juvenile, 1996
  • Bearobics: A Hip-Hop Counting Story
    by Vic Parker, illustrated by Emily Bolam
    Puffin, 1999
  • Bread, Bread, Bread (Around the World Series)
    by Ann Morris, illustrated by Ken Heyman
    HarperTrophy, 1993
  • Clap Your Hands
    by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
    Putnam Juvenile, 1997
  • Eating the Alphabet
    by Lois Ehlert
    Voyager Books, 1993
  • Feast for 10
    by Cathryn Fallwell
    Scholastic, 1993
  • Gregory the Terrible Eater
    by Mitchell Sharmat, illustrated by Jose Aruego
    Checkerboard Press, 1987
  • Growing Vegetable Soup
    by Lois Ehlert
    Voyager Books, 1990
  • How Are You Peeling?
    by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freyman
    Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999
  • Let's Eat!
    by Ana Zamorano, illustrated by Julie Vivas
    Scholastic, 1999
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
    by Eric Carle
    Scholastic, 2007

Learning Disabilities

  • If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi?
    by Barbara Esham, illustrated by Mike and Carl Gordon
    Mainstream Connections, 2007
  • Last to the Finish: A Story about the Smartest Boy in Math Class
    by Barbara Esham, illustrated by Mike and Carl Gordon
    Mainstream Connections, 2007
  • Marvin One Too Many
    by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Jane Clark Brown
    HarperTrophy, 2003
  • Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets
    by Barbara Esham, illustrated by Mike and Carl Gordon
    Mainstream Connections, 2007
  • My Travelin' Eye
    by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
    Henry Holt and Company, 2008
  • Once Upon a Time
    by Niki Daly
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003
  • Stacey Coolidge's Fancy-Smancy Cursive Handwriting
    by Barbara Esham, illustrated by Mike and Carl Gordon
    Mainstream Connections, 2007
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker
    by Patricia Polacco
    Philomel, 1998

Moving Away

  • Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move
    by Judith Viorst
    Aladdin, 1998
  • Annie Bananie
    by Leah Komaiko, illustrated by Laura Cornell
    HarperTrophy, 2003
  • Best Friends Together Again
    by Aliki
    Scholastic Inc., 2000
  • I'm Not Moving, Mama
    by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by Thor Wickstrom
    Aladdin, 1999
  • The Leaving Morning
    by Angela Johnson
    Orchard Books, 1996
  • A New Room for William
    by Sally Grindley, illustrated by Carol Thompson
    Candlewick, 2000

Music: Books with a Beat

  • Barn Dance!
    by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand
    Henry Holt and Company, 1988
  • Bearobics: A Hip-Hop Counting Story
    by Vic Parker, illustrated by Emily Bolam
    Puffin, 1999
  • Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
    by Chris Raschka
    Live Oak Media, 2001
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (series)
    by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
    Aladdin, 2000
  • Clap Your Hands
    by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
    Putnam Juvenile, 1997
  • Hush Little Baby
    By Sylvia Long
    Scholastic, 1997
  • If You're Happy and You Know It!
    by Jane Cabrera
    Holiday House, 2005
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
    as told and illustrated by Iza Trapani
    Charlesbridge Publishing, 2004
  • Jamberry
    by Bruce Degen
    HarperTrophy, 1985
  • Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp
    by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Scott Nash
    Candlewick, 2008
  • There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
    by Simms Taback
    Scholastic Inc., 1999
  • The Seals on the Bus
    by Lenny Hort, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
    Owlet Paperbacks, 2003
  • The Wheels on the Bus
    by Paul O. Zelinsky
    Dutton Juvenile, Pop edition, 1990

Rhyming Books

  • Barnyard Banter
    by Denise Fleming
    Henry Holt & Co., 2008
  • Bear Snores On (series)
    by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
    Margaret K. McElderry, 2002
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? (series)
    by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle
    Henry Holt & Co., 2008
  • The Cat in The Hat (series)
    by Dr. Seuss
    Random House Books for Young Readers, 1957
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (series)
    by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
    Simon & Schuster, 1989
  • A Frog in the Bog
    by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Joan Rankin
    Aladdin, 2007
  • In the Small, Small Pond
    by Denise Fleming
    Henry Holt and Co., 1998
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (series)
    by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
    Puffin, 2001
  • Mrs. McNosh Hangs up her Wash (series)
    by Sarah Weeks and Nadine Bernard Westcott
    HarperTrophy, 2002
  • One Duck Stuck
    by Phyllis Root
    Candlewick, 2003
  • The Piggy in the Puddle
    by Charlotte Pomerantz, illustrated by James Marshall
    Aladdin; 1st Aladdin Books Ed Edition, 1989
  • Sheep in a Jeep (series)
    by Nancy Shaw
    Houghton Mifflin, 1997

School

  • Countdown to Kindergarten
    by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Harry Bliss
    Voyager books, 2006
  • First Day, Hooray!
    by Nancy Poydar
    Holiday House, 2000
  • First Day Jitters
    by Julie Danneburg, illustrated by Judith Dufour Love
    Charlesbridge Publishing, 2000
  • Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!
    by Nancy Carlson
    Harcourt, 2002
  • Kindergarten ABC
    by Jacqueline Rogers
    Cartwheel, 2002
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (series)
    by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
    Puffin, 2001
  • My Kindergarten
    by Rosemary Wells
    Hyperion, 2004
  • Off to School, Baby Duck
    by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jill Barton
    Candlewick, 2007
  • Vera's First Day of School
    by Vera Rosenberry
    Owlet Paperbacks, 2003
  • Wemberly Worried
    by Kevin Henkes
    Scholastic Inc., 2000

Shapes and Colors

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (series)
    by Bill Martin, Jr.
    Henry Holt and Company, 2008
  • Freight Train
    by Donald Crews
    Scholastic Inc., 1978
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk
    by Charles Shaw, illustrated by Yes
    HarperCollins, 1947
  • Little Blue & Little Yellow
    by Leo Lionni
    HarperTrophy, 1995
  • Little Cloud
    by Eric Carle
    Putnam Juvenile, 2001
  • Mouse Paint
    by Ellen Stoll Walsh
    Voyager Books, 1995
  • My Very First Book of Shapes
    by Eric Carle
    Puffin Books, 2005
  • Planting a Rainbow
    by Lois Ehlert
    Voyager Books, 1992
  • Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes
    by Roseanne Thong
    Scholastic, 2005
  • Shapes Shapes Shapes
    by Tana Hoban
    Greenwillow, 1986
 

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