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Best Read-Aloud Books for Kids in Kindergarten & Preschool

Oct. 21, 2019

It’s no secret that reading aloud to children is encouraged starting as early as birth. During the infant stages, it’s critical to hear a variety of words from caregivers to support early language development and to encourage the littlest of learners to understand and use words to communicate. 

But at what age should the read alouds stop? A parent might feel frustrated when the books start getting longer, and kids begin to learn to read themselves. Teachers may feel the pressure to spend the time they ordinarily use to read to work on drilling math problems or preparing for that first standardized test. 

But the research is clear: as children get older, listening to caregivers and teachers read aloud continues to strengthen early literacy skills, even after kids begin to read independently. From preschool through elementary school, kids benefit in a myriad of ways, just by listening to adults read. 

Below we’ll discuss why every household and classroom needs routine reading, how to do it right, and we’ll reveal our favorite read aloud books for kids!

Why Kids Need Daily Read Alouds

Reading to children benefits them in different ways depending on their age and developmental stage. In both preschool and kindergarten, reading aloud at home or in the classroom can: 

  • Help kids develop a solid vocabulary that includes words, phrases, and grammatical structures that they can’t yet read for themselves.
  • Expose children to different styles of sentence structure than they ordinarily hear from parents or teachers.
  • Work to increase their naturally limited attention span. 
  • Strengthen cognition and early reading comprehension skills. 
  • Promote parent/child bonding to support emotional growth.
  • Allow learners to connect spoken words with the written form. 
  • Provide entertainment and enjoyment, making it more likely kids will enjoy reading as they grow older. Include entertaining learning videos into your child's daily routine. 

In between read-aloud sessions, kids need practice to gain vocabulary and fluency. Kids Academy has you covered with highest quality learning videos, worksheets and games! Download the Talented and Gifted app for free to give it a try!

Obviously, the benefits of routine readings are huge, and encompass a variety of aspects from literacy to emotional development! Now that you’re sold on why it’s important, how can parents and teachers ensure that the delivery is effective? 

How to Conduct a Read Aloud: The Best Environment for Engagement

It’s important for children to connect reading with only positive vibes, so parents and educators should focus on providing kids with an enjoyable and memorable experience. This means setting up the environment for reading in a way that feels comfortable and safe all learners! 

If at school, a teacher can create a game plan for reading that involves a set routine. Just like adults, kids are creatures of habit, and benefit from a predictable schedule. Make time for reading aloud in class, penciling it into your daily lessons at a time conducive to listening. For instance, don’t make reading time when students are hungry and antsy, ready for lunch or recess. 

Additionally, set the mood by getting the kids up and out of their desks! Use flexible seating and allow children to pick their spot. For instance, some kids may prefer sitting on soft carpet squares, but fidgety students might prefer to sit on a big exercise ball. Differentiate for your learners and choose books you know they’ll love! 

At home, the same concepts above apply! Pick a comforting room with a soft space to sit. Be sure that the TV is off, and turn your phone to silent to minimize outside distractions. Change up the environment to fit the season. For instance, in the winter, reading by a lighted fireplace might be cozy, as would be sitting by the light of the Christmas tree! 

Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, one crucial consideration is picking the right books to read! Let’s dive in and discover some of our favorite titles; below you’ll find a non-exhaustive list of the best kindergarten books to read aloud with your children! 

Best Children's Books to Read Aloud

So, you might be wondering what you should look for when selecting the perfect book for your budding readers. Of course, it’s important to take into consideration age and interests when picking the right texts. For most kids, though, the following list of titles will delight and engage: 

It’s Christmas, David!

by David Shannon 

The No, David! series is a favorite of kids everywhere, as a mischievous little boy wreaks havoc and gets in trouble everywhere he goes! In It’s Christmas, David! the beloved character of David who is a little too excited for the holiday and hilariously misbehaves by doing all the things kids aren’t supposed to do before Christmas!

All children and adults alike can relate with David as he peeks at presents and worries about Santa bringing a lump of coal instead of real presents. List this title as one of the many funny children’s books to read aloud this holiday season! 

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes!

by Eric Litwin

Kids can’t get enough of this zany blue cat that knows how to play the guitar! Pete the Cat is a favorite children’s book character, and the stories—particularly those by author Eric Litwin—usually have a positive message, to boot!

This title follows Pete who goes about his school day in his new shoes, documenting all the places they take him. The overall purpose of this read aloud is to make kids feel good about going to school, and to familiarize them with the different aspects of being there. 


by Kevin Henkes

It’s difficult to choose just one Kevin Henkes book for this list, but Chrysanthemum has a heartwarming and relatable theme! Being teased and feeling self-conscious is inevitable as a child, but this cute book helps kids to appreciate their own uniqueness.

Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who has a very long name that she loved until a girl in her class teased her for it. But an empathetic teacher helped Chrysanthemum cherish her name again, and the teacher even ended up naming her own infant with this long, but beautiful name! 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

by Mo Willems

Recognized as one of the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” by the National Education Association in 2007, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is a favorite of both educators and students for its adorably funny premise.

A bus driver must leave the bus in the hands of the readers, and he has only one request: don’t let that pushy pigeon drive the bus! This bus hilariously lets little learners decide between right and wrong as the pigeon starts out polite, and ends up begging to drive the bus. Laugh along with the kids, as you read this book aloud! 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Of all the read aloud picture books to choose from, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is probably one of the most loved and memorable for its catchy rhythm and rhymes as it follows the lowercase letters up the coconut tree, only to fall out and be rescued by the capital letters!

Near the end of the book, after letter “a” climbs back up the tree and dares all the others to follow it up once again. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, read it again and again! 

Fall Leaves Fall

by Zoe Hall

What kid doesn’t love to jump in the leaves in autumn? Here’s a title to read aloud in the fall as the leaves change before Halloween and Thanksgiving! In this book, two brothers have a blast jumping, kicking, and stomping in piles of leaves.

While reading, little learners will learn how tree leaves change throughout the year! Afterwards, go outside to rake the leaves and jump in a few piles with your kids to bring the lesson to life! 

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims

by B.G. Hennessy and Lynne Cravath

If you’re looking for a festive read aloud to celebrate Thanksgiving, pick up One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims! This title uses simple rhythmic language and includes information about pilgrims, sharing, and Wampanoag life.

Short and simple, this read aloud can spur further discussion and study revolving Thanksgiving, and how the holiday came to be. 

Of course, many more books are well-worthy of your classroom or home library, and we can’t simply list them all here! When previewing new books, it’s important to look for engaging illustrations, easy-to-understand plotlines and language, and sometimes a catchy rhythm! So head to the library or to your nearest local book store to stock up on titles, since reading aloud can prime your budding reader for literacy success! 

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