Celebrate National Literacy Month with These Favorite Picture Books

We love our library! It’s close to us, cool in the summer, warm and dry on a rainy day, and full of books. FREE books, and a super-easy return policy if you don’t like what you picked. Books you can read a dozen times in a week because your child loves them, and then take back because you find yourself reciting the rhymes in your sleep. September is both National Literacy Month and National Library Card Sign-Up Month, and September 6th is National Read a Book Day. So this month, spend some time reading with your kids! Truly, reading aloud with babies and kids of all ages is the best thing you can do to help their literacy development. (And while you’re at it, consider donating a children’s book for a child who may not have access to one!)

Here are my favorite tips for reading with kids:

  • Read with emotion. Not only will you build excitement around reading, but you’ll help develop your child’s reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar.
  • Think aloud while you read. Make comments, observations, predictions, and ask questions about what is happening in the story. Your child doesn’t have to answer the questions–just hearing how you react to the story is helpful!
  • Pause to talk about new words to build vocabulary.
  • Let your child turn the pages. Give them time to look at all of the pictures and talk about what they see. Often details in the illustrations can help them make inferences about what is happening or what will happen next.
  • Return to favorite pages or parts of the story. Asking your child about their favorite pages in the book is a great way to practice reading comprehension and to continue conversations about what they’ve read.

Now here’s my confession:

I have one problem with the library. It’s full of books. When I take my toddler, it’s usually a race to see if I can find several books that are appropriate for him before he can make a stack twice as high of random books he chose just because he likes to pull them off of the shelf. In my haste, I usually just grab whatever books I can find about something my son might be interested in and that have fewer than 30 words on each page. In a stack of 10 books, we usually end up with a few that he really enjoys.

So, if you’ve already been through Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear and its sequels, and most of the Sandra Boynton books, here’s a list of some of our favorite picture books that we’ve brought home from the library.

  • Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by James Dean & Eric Litwin
  • Groovy Joe Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld
  • I Stink (and the rest of the series) by Kate and Jim McMullan
  • Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse by Rick Walton and Jim Bradshaw
  • Diggersaurs by Michael Whaite
  • The Bridge is Up! by Babs Bell and Rob Hefferan
  • I Love Cats! by Sue Stainton and Bob Staake (We’ve liked a lot of Bob Staake’s books.)
  • Cat Skidoo by Bethany Roberts and R. W. Alley
  • Ten Apples Up On Top by Theo. LeSieg
  • It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny by Marilyn Sadler
  • Twas the Night Before Christmas on Sesame Street by Lillian Jaine
  • Summer Supper by Rubin Pfeffer and Mike Austin

It’s your turn! What are your favorite books to read with your kids?