10 Terrific Alphabet Books to Treasure With Your Kids

10 Terrific Alphabet Books to Treasure With Your Kids

Teaching the alphabet to toddlers, preschoolers or kindergartners doesn’t ever have to be tedious or boring, or hard work – for you or your child. It can and should be fun and easy for everyone in your family.

alphabet books for childrenAlphabet books are an important part of your family library.They provide exposure to letters and sounds with all the benefits of reading aloud to your child.

Kids who have seen and heard the alphabet through the happy experience of being read aloud to by a loving adult will absorb so much knowledge about letters and sounds. You’ll be amazed at how easily and naturally it happens.

Try to snuggle up together with at least one alphabet book every day. Keep book baskets in convenient places throughout your home, and make sure each basket contains an inviting alphabet book. Stow a couple in the back seat of the car, and send one along on trips to the grandparents’ house.

The great thing about alphabet books is that as soon as your child can recognize a handful of letters, they can “read” an alphabet book by looking for the letters they know.

This list was so hard to narrow down, but here are ten of my favorite alphabet books, in no particular order.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers makes a small commission.

 

A to Z by Sandra Boynton

My husband and I loved reading Sandra Boynton books to our kids. A to Z by Sandra Boynton is filled with her whimsical animal characters, each one representing a letter and performing an activity starting with that same letter.

Most of the activities are likely to be familiar to young children, but some provide more unique opportunities for vocabulary development. My personal favorite is “Aardvark Admiring,” with an illustration of a smiling aardvark adjusting his bowtie.

There’s no particular storyline – just simple, clear illustrations of one animal and one activity representing each letter. It’s a great book for introducing the alphabet to toddlers, and preschoolers can quickly memorize it and “read” it to themselves.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells

Next up is Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells. The “Max” books by Rosemary Wells are subtly hilarious and the sibling relationship between Max and Ruby is so sweet.

I’ve seen kids get so excited when they realize that they already know Max and Ruby from other books and the Nick Jr. television show.

This alphabet book features a silly storyline that gets crazier and crazier as Ruby tries to help Max solve the problems created when his ants escape from their ant farm. I love that each page focuses on just one letter while still maintaining a plot! The rhythm of the story makes it fun for adults to read and easy for kids to chime along with. 

(As an aside, a great thing about the 40+ Max books is that there is one for just about every childhood experience imaginable.) I always enjoyed finding books that matched what was going on in my kids’ lives when they were little.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

No list of alphabet books would be complete without the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.  I included this book in this post, and everything I said over there applies here, too.

I appreciate that this book features lowercase letters in addition to uppercase letters. (One of my pet peeves is that kids need exposure to both uppercase and lowercase letters, right from the start.)  I also love that John Archambault illustrated the letters crisply and clearly so that it’s easy for children to tell them apart and notice the differences in their shapes.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra

How cute is the idea of Alphabet Town? In The Sleepy Little Alphabet, parents (the uppercase or capital letters) are trying to put the children (the lowercase letters) to bed. It is not going smoothly. Excuses and stalling abound, and will be familiar to parents and children alike.

To me, half the fun of the naughtiness and silliness is in the expressions on the letters’ faces. The uppercase parents actually look harassed, and the lowercase kids are gleeful.

The illustrations are simple and clear, but there is plenty of detail to notice. Lowercase “f” is holding flowers, lowercase “j” is jumping, and lowercase “s” is swinging. In a nice satisfying ending, lowercase “y” is yawning, and lowercase “z” is snoring cute little “zzzzzzz’s”.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Click on the video below to watch as I share my new favorite alphabet book.

 

Dr. Seuss’s ABC

Another classic, Dr. Seuss’s ABC is as zany as any of the Dr. Seuss books, and equally as fun to read aloud. Full of nonsense words, awesome rhythm and ridiculous rhymes, it asks “Big B, little b, what begins with B?” and then answers with a tongue-twisting alliteration of a response.

The illustrations are vintage Seuss, colorful and imaginative.

Two things I really like about this book: it includes both lowercase and uppercase letters, and it matter-of-factly presents the ideas that letters represent sounds and words begin with specific letters.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

It’s always nice to find a themed alphabet book that can be used in many ways. Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables weaves in nutrition, culture and geography with pictures of fruits and vegetables from all over the world, illustrated in Lois Ehlert’s unique watercolor collage style.

It’s sort of a picture dictionary of fruits and vegetables, with an encyclopedia included at the back in the form of a detailed, illustrated glossary. I bet you’ll come across a fruit or vegetable that you haven’t heard of before!

This one is great for older children as well; you could find the locations on a map or prepare a newly discovered fruit or vegetable for the family to try.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

My First ABC by DK

My First ABC by DK is part of the “My First Books” series and it certainly lives up to that name. This sturdy board book is perfect as a first alphabet book for babies, with just a few clear and colorful photographs for each letter.

This visual style and layout is the easiest for babies to focus on at a very young age. A few months later, it lends itself beautifully to asking a baby or toddler “Can you find the ________?” and watching chubby little fingers proudly point to the item named.

Each photograph is labeled clearly, making it easy for adults to point to the word as we read it. This starts developing print awareness, the understanding that the little black marks on the page have meaning. An early understanding of this concept makes learning to read so much easier later on.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Sesame Street: Elmo’s ABC Lift-the-Flap

Elmo’s ABC Lift the Flap offers a rich experience in so many ways. The pages are busier than some of the other books I’ve mentioned, and a single two-page spread offers plenty to look at, find, discuss, or do.

Each letter is on a large flap that lifts up to reveal a picture and a sentence or two. Many smaller flaps throughout the book lift up to show pictures underneath. Almost everything on each page is clearly labeled.

If you want to keep the flaps intact, you might want to keep this book reserved for reading to and with your child, as opposed to reading by your child.

This is a great choice for toddlers and preschoolers who love Sesame Street and are familiar with the characters.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

A Is for Apple (Smart Kids Trace-And-Flip)

A Is For Apple is a simple book that offers so much. It’s an interactive book that offers a kinesthetic aspect, with grooved letter shapes for kids to trace with an index finger or stylus.

Uppercase and lowercase letters are included, with two simple pictures for each letter. One of the pictures is printed on a flap, and the other is revealed when the flap is lifted.

Perfect for children ages one to three, this book makes a great first birthday gift or gift for any one-year-old.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

Like Sleepy Little Alphabet and Max’s ABC, Z Is for Moose has a definite plot. It elicits giggles and roars of laughter, as Moose impatiently tries to claim his time on stage during Zebra’s ABC production. Be sure to look carefully at the illustrations to catch all the humor.

When Moose isn’t chosen to represent the letter “M,” his tantrum is epic, and readers will wonder how this situation can possibly be resolved. Because Z is NOT for Moose, right? Turns out that it can be, when friendship saves the day.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet
I hope you’ll use this list as a starting point for a baby’s or toddler’s alphabet book collection, or as inspiration for expanding the library of a preschooler or kindergartner.

Include alphabet books like these in your read alouds on a regular basis, and I promise you’ll be delighted with your child’s easy, natural progress.

Want to save this post for later?

Pin “10 Terrific Alphabet Books to Treasure With Your Kids” to your favorite Pinterest board.

 

alphabet books for children

alphabet books for kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draw and Write Journals for Kids from A Family of Readers

Draw and Write Journals for Kids from A Family of Readers

Although the name of this blog is A Family of Readers, and I have plans for tons of upcoming posts about kids and reading, in today’s post I’m sidetracking a little bit into writing.

Reading and writing go hand in hand, and supporting kids’ writing will support their reading. For some kids, writing is more motivating and more fun than reading.

If kids are fired up about the reading books and writing supplies that we provide, they will be much more engaged in learning to read and write. Nothing makes me happier than giving a child a book, or a notebook, or a set of pens or pencils that I know they will love!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

I’m thrilled to introduce our new line of Draw and Write Journals for Kids on Amazon. I’ve designed them for younger children (Pre K to 2nd grade) who are ready to write on lines, but still need the support of a larger space to write in, with the dotted midline to guide them. Each page also has space for a title, and a framed space for an illustration.

Click the video below to learn about our Draw and Write Journals for Kids

 

These Draw and Write notebooks have been designed especially for younger children who are early writers still learning how to print their letters. Perfect for home or school. Add a few stickers and fancy pencils or pens to create a special gift for a young writer in your life! #ad #affiliateThe cover designs feature themes that are popular right now – sharks, dinosaurs, unicorns, mermaids and superheroes. I have found that kids become so excited about writing when we provide materials that match their passions.

Click through and scroll to browse the collection and choose the perfect Draw and Write Journal for your young writer.

Please comment with your ideas for other cover designs – we have big plans for expanding the collection!

 

 

 

Want to save this post for later?

Pin “Draw and Write Journals for Kids” to your favorite Pinterest Board.

 

how to teach writingjournal writing for kids



 

10 Classic Books to Read to Preschoolers

10 Classic Books to Read to Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, A Family of Readers earns a small commission. 

I’ve written a post about the importance of reading aloud, and I’ve written a post about how to read to preschoolers, so I decided it was time to publish a post recommending my choices for the best books for preschoolers.

Remember, when choosing books for preschoolers, look for

  • Books that highlight basic concepts, such as colors, shapes, letters and numbers.
  • Rhyme, rhythm and repetition.
  • Photographs and illustrations that are clear, colorful and engaging.
  • Simple, fun plots with action that moves quickly.
  • Stories about everyday life and familiar events in a child’s day-to-day life.
  • Main characters (human or animal) who are your child’s age or just a little bit older.

Here is a list of my ten favorite classic books for preschoolers. These are books that have been around for a generation or more, and are tried and true. They are books I’ve read over and over again in my classroom over the years, and books I read so often to my own kids that the whole family had them practically memorized. When I need a baby shower gift or a gift for a new baby, I nearly always choose a few of these titles and wrap them in a sturdy, attractive basket.

In almost all cases, the authors of these books have also written other, equally wonderful books. If you find that your child falls in love with a particular book on the list, explore other titles by that author and see what other favorites you discover.

 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear takes a simple two-sentence rhyme and repeats it throughout the story, creating a lilting rhythm that I love to read out loud. It’s a question and answer format, which is a natural language pattern that preschoolers are drawn to.

Because it’s a short rhyme and the clear, simple pictures support the words so directly, kids memorize this book quickly and are able to join in as you read. It effortlessly provides exposure to the basic preschool concepts of colors and animals. 

If I had to pick the single most absolutely perfect book for toddlers and preschoolers, this would be it.This book has something of value to offer every preschooler and their family. In Kindergarten and first grade, it’s a book that early readers love to revisit, delighted that they can truly read it themselves. Include this one in baby shower gifts for sure. Click here to browse other books by Bill Martin, Jr.

books to read to preschoolers

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is another book that is just about perfect. It’s a simple story plot that manages to incorporate days of the week, colors, and numbers without feeling contrived at all. Carle is describing an event in nature that is simple to understand, yet universal in concept – growth and change over time.

There’s no rhyme, but the repetition is tons of fun, and invites enthusiastic participation – “But he was still hungry!” The die cut holes left in the fruit by the caterpillar are perfectly sized for little fingers to poke through – again, an irresistible invitation to participate. Click here to check out other stories by Eric Carle. He is amazingly prolific.

picture books for toddlers

 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

Remember in this post, when I suggested reading through a book to find the rhyming parts ahead of time?  It’s a good idea to do that with this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Although I love it dearly and it does have great rhymes, the rhythm and cadence is unusual and it takes a little bit of practice to read this book out loud smoothly. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is an alphabet book with lots of action and a fast, exciting pace.

The letters themselves are the characters, and the phrase “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” repeats often enough that kids can jump right in and read it with you. Click here for more “Chicka Chicka” books.

 

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

We all relate to Where the Wild Things Are because Max represents the naughty child in all of us, who sits in time out and thinks resentful thoughts about the parent who busted them, fantasizing about letting loose and creating a wild rumpus with a bunch of wild things. Or am I the only one who thinks that?

Really though, this book takes us on a boundary-stretching imaginary journey with Max. He bosses the wild things around and goes a little crazy before waking up in a more relaxed mood, happy to see that his mother has relented and placed his supper on the table.

Where the Wild Things Are has a clear plot about a familiar situation (getting in trouble), simple illustrations, and a relatable main character of preschool age. Other books by Maurice Sendak are here.

picture books for preschoolers

 

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

Is Your Mama A Llama? manages to be poignant while lighthearted. The theme of being separated from a parent is one that kids relate to, even if it hasn’t happened to them. I’ve seen my students really empathize with Lloyd the baby llama, seeming to really feel his mounting concern as he asks each young animal, “Is your Mama a llama?”

The rhyme is more complex in this book, creating a smooth rhythm that makes it easy to read aloud. Children quickly begin to chime in with the last word of each rhyming interaction between Lloyd and his friends. Although this is a well-written story, I think that the illustrations by the more prolific and better known Steven Kellogg make this book really stand out.

picture books for kids

 

The Mitten by Jan Brett

The illustrations in The Mitten make it age-appropriately suspenseful, much more so than the words on the page. When my daughter was a preschooler, she would become giddy with anticipation as each animal crowded into the mitten, and we got closer and closer to the end of the story. When the satisfying end of the story arrived, she would be so relieved that it was over.

Jan Brett’s artwork is clear and directly supports the story, but it is definitely not simple. As the years go on and your child matures, together you will notice more and more subtle detail in the illustrations of this book. Don’t miss Jan Brett’s other gorgeously illustrated books.

books for toddlers and preschoolers

 

If You Give A Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Felicia Bond. After a young boy gives a mouse a cookie, the mouse places more and more demands on the boy, who complies willingly enough. Each of the requests the mouse makes are activities that are common in a preschooler’s life, such as coloring a picture to tape up on the refrigerator.

Together the mouse and the boy work their way through these demands/activities, working their way back around to giving the mouse a cookie. I especially love the illustrations, which are relatable and subtly humorous in the facial expressions and body language of the boy and the mouse. This book lends itself well to casually talking about sequence. Check out the whole series here.

best picture books for preschoolers

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear is fun because the point of view is new and different. The main character carries on a conversation with the reader, which children seem to just love. This book is suspenseful, as the mouse tries to convince us that his red ripe strawberry is in terrible danger of being eaten by the big hungry bear. Kids get a kick out of the solution to this problem, too! Don and Audrey Wood have written and illustrated other classic books, which you can find here.

 

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

You’ve really got to include Love You Forever in baby shower gifts, too. Years ago whenever I read this book to my first graders, they would say, “Oh no, she’s going to cry!” and I always did.

Throughout their lives, a mother sings to her son, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.” At first she is holding him and rocking him, and eventually she is gray-haired and sneaking into her son’s house to sing to him. Right after this is the part where the story flips and I cry, so I’ll just stop here.

Trust me, don’t miss this one. It’s a book for you as much as it is a book for your child. Robert Munsch has written lots of other great books, but they are not all such tearjerkers.

books for preschoolers

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Theodore Geisel is the king of silly rhyme, making Dr. Seuss books must-have classics in a preschooler’s book collection. Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite, because in addition to the rhyme, it has repetition. Some of the Seuss books do not, although they are full of rollicking rhyme and have fantastic rhythm. This repetition makes it easy for children to start to memorize this book and join in with gusto – “I do not like them, Sam I am!” Plus, the story line and concept of refusing to eat something one has not even tried, is so familiar to preschoolers. Explore all the other fabulous Dr. Seuss titles here.

 

Let me know in the comments which books you would put on your family’s top ten list!

 

 

 

Harry Potter Baby Gifts

This post contains affiliate links, which are unmarked ads for products I love. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I make a small commission.

We are HUGE Harry Potter fans here at A Family of Readers.

I can’t wait for someone to have a new little one so we can give one of these fabulous items as part of a Harry Potter themed baby shower or new baby gift, along with a boxed set of the series to add to the family library. What a great idea for a Christmas or birthday gift, too!

Isn’t this outfit adorable?

Harry Potter Baby Gift

 

This one is pretty nifty, also.

harry potter christmas gifts for babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another adorable onesie.

Harry Potter Gifts for Babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any of these items combined with this gorgeous boxed set would make a marvelously thoughtful gift for any Harry Potter fans in your life who are expecting a new little witch or wizard.

Harry Potter Books Boxed Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Choose Great Books for Kids

How to Choose Great Books for Kids

This post contains affiliate links, which are unmarked ads for products I love. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission.

What is a Great Book?

A great book pulls kids in, and then holds their attention.  It has clear, engaging illustrations, or uses language that makes it easy to visualize the story. A good book might be comforting and familiar, or new and exciting. It might be an award winner that comes up in your Amazon recommendations or on Pinterest, or a simple board book you pick up in the checkout line at the grocery store. The bottom line is, a great book is any book that your family enjoys.

How to Choose Great Books

Take look at current favorites. Do your kids love silly rhyming books with whimsical illustrations? Or do they gravitate towards non-fiction books with realistic photography? Is there a chapter book series they enjoy? Consider current interests.  Has your child recently become obsessed with buses or garbage trucks?  Or do your kids settle right down when you reach for a book that depicts warm cozy family or school situations? Ask your kids for input – what would they like to learn more about?  What is their teacher reading out loud right now? What books do they see their friends reading? Involving your children in this process will skyrocket their buy-in and excitement for reading.

Books for Infants and Toddlers

Look for:How to Choose Books for Babies and Toddlers

  • Books with big, bold, colorful pictures of familiar or everyday objects or activities.
  • Sturdy books made of heavy cardboard, washable cloth, or plastic.
  • Small books that are easy for little hands to hold and turn the pages.
  • Stories told in short, simple sentences with pictures that explain the text.
  • Poems and rhymes that make the book fun to read aloud and fun to listen to.

Books for Preschoolers (Ages 3-5)

Look for:

  • Books that highlight basic concepts, such as colors, shapes, letters and numbers.
  • Rhyme and repetition.
  • Photographs and illustrations that are clear, colorful and engaging.
  • Simple, fun plots with action that moves quickly.
  • Stories about everyday life and familiar events in a child’s day-to-day life.
  • Main characters (human or animal) who are your child’s age or just a little bit older.

Books for Elementary School Kids (Ages 6-11)

Look for:

  • Books that reflect your child’s interests and passions.
  • Other books with your child’s favorite characters, or by favorite authors and illustrators.
  • Illustrations and photos that directly support the text and give clues to the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  • Project, craft, and recipe books with clearly worded instructions and supportive illustrations.
  • Picture books your child enjoyed hearing when they were younger. Most picture books are written at a third or fourth grade level, and are terrific to revisit when your child becomes a more independent reader.
  • Chapter books that your child can read independently, or higher level chapter books for you to read aloud.
  • Fact books, such as world record books, trivia books, and almanacs.

Books for Adolescents (Ages 12 and Up)

Look for:
How to Choose Books for Adolescents

  • New genres – biographies, mysteries, spy thrillers, classics, historical fiction, and mythology.
  • Books about places in the world that interest your child, or that they are studying in school.
  • Novels that depict characters dealing with the daily challenges of growing up.
  • Graphic novels that re-tell classic stories.

 

Involve Your Child

Perhaps most importantly, involve your kids in choosing new books.  Encourage them to join you as you look for new titles, and model your thought process as you consider new books to add to your family library. Learning how to choose great books is a reading skill that your child will use forever.