I think, as parents, we can all agree that reading to our babies and young children is so important for their growth and development. That being said, do you ever get tired of reading the same books night after night? I think repetition is important when it comes to language development and literacy so I do love to read the classics on a regular basis. However, in being a frequent flyer at our local library, I have found some hidden gems that you may never have read. This may help give some variety to your reading. Here is a brief summary of my favourites.
If you like The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle… try Time for a Hug by Phillis Gershator and Mim Green
If you’re anything like me, you love the artwork in The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other titles by Eric Carle. One of the other reasons I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar is because it reinforces the concepts of counting as well as the days of the week. It is for this reason that I recommend trying Time for a Hug. In this adorable board book, you and baby will travel through an entire day from waking up at 8am to going to bed at 8pm. With a simple rhyming pattern and frequent opportunities for stealing hugs, this is a must-read before bedtime.
Link to Book
If you like The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson… try A Squash and a Squeeze by Julie Donaldson
The Gruffalo is a popular book in my circle of friends but I’m not sure how well known it is by other parents. The author illustrator team is from the UK but you’ll find The Gruffalo in most major bookstores in Ontario. I received The Gruffalo as a baby shower gift and fell in love with the characters, language, and story. The vocabulary is different and I can imagine that as my son grows, we will be able to use The Gruffalo to add some new words to his repertoire. All that being said, if you already read The Gruffalo in your house, try some of the other titles from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. We love A Squash and a Squeeze – it’s a really cute story about an old woman who thinks her house is too small. On the advice of an old wise man she invites her hen, goat, pig, and cow to live with her, giving lots of opportunity to repeat new words. Older children will find this silly story especially amusing!
Link to Book
If you like Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman… try Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson
Ok so I really love anything by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler but Monkey Puzzle is especially clever. In this story, a baby monkey and a butterfly search the jungle to find the baby’s mother. I love the repetition as the monkey tells the butterfly “no, no no!” whenever she presents him with another creature as his mother. Older children will enjoy the twist when the butterfly finally explains why she doesn’t know what a mother monkey should look like.
Link to Book
If you like Love You Forever by Robert Munsch… try Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman
You like making yourself cry while reading to your babies? Alright, I can understand that. You may know of On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman. I actually enjoy this lesser known story better. With another pleasant rhyming pattern, this book sends an adorable message to your little ones that no matter where in the world they are, no matter what they are doing, your love will always be there.
Link to Book
If you like Where’s Waldo by Martin Handford… try Animal Fun Search & Find by Stephanie Hinton
This last one is a little bit different. If you have older children who enjoy the challenge of a seek and find book, try Animal Fun for a change. The artwork is really quirky and fun. Each 2-page spread features animals in a different habitat (forest, arctic, etc). Readers are asked to find sequences of animals (1 bear, 2 moles, 3 raccoons, etc). Reinforce counting while searching for and identifying different types of animals. Great for kids who aren’t quite ready for the level of detail present in Where’s Waldo.
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Consistent Reading and Language Development
Reading to your child is crucial to language development. When I read with my son, we point out words he knows, the sounds of animals, and reinforce basic language development. I find that reading not only provides us with great bonding time but also with opportunity to work on speech and language development. It also will help me to identify any concerns I have with early language development or speech disorders. If you are concerned with your child’s speech and language development, you can contact a service such as Anderson Speech Consultants, to learn about the resources available to support families.
I hope that gives you some inspiration to go look for some of these titles. Try your local library, try shopping online, or try borrowing from your social network. Reading to your child should be fun, for both of you!
About the Author:
Tamara Maciel is an anatomy instructor and a mom to 18-month old Noah. She has always been an avid reader and has enjoyed reading with Noah even since he was born. Her favourite type of books are post-apocalyptic dystopians. Noah’s favourites are usually about trucks.