Reading With Your 3 – 6 Year Old


Reading With Your 3 - 6 Year Old | Columbia SC Moms BlogIn June, I wrote about Reading With Your 3 and Under Child. The funny thing about kids is, they tend to grow! As they grow, they start to do really fun things with books and reading … like have an opinion about the stories they hear and even start to read on their own! Here are some tips on ways to keep your pre-readers excited about books and suggestions of books to read at home or at school.


Let Your Kids Pick Their Own Books

I cannot stress enough how important it is to just let kids read and look at books that THEY choose. Go to the library, let your child check out books that look good to them, and go home and read. Sure, they might pick a book in Spanish and maybe you do not speak or read Spanish, but you can look at the pictures together! Make up your own story!

Age Appropriate Books

If you have a child who is reading on their own at the age of 5 or 6, do not push them to read more challenging books all of the time. I know, as parents, we want to do what is best for our kids and sometimes, what we think is best is pushing them to read more challenging books … even at this young age. Just let them read what looks good to them. Try to stay away from saying things like, “that’s too easy for you” or “that’s a book for babies.” They’ll get to the harder books when they’re ready. 

It’s OK If Your Child Cannot Read Yet

Have a child going into kindergarten and are nervous because they cannot read on their own yet? DO NOT BE NERVOUS ABOUT THIS. Your child’s teacher will do everything he or she can to teach your child how to read. Your job is to support the teacher and to READ with your child. Do not try to make it all about the learning of how to read all of the time. Reading is fun and you want it to always remain a pleasant experience – not a frustrating one. If you homeschool, same thing applies – make sure you have a balance of teaching reading and reading for fun. 

Be A Role Model For Your Child

It is important for your child to see you reading. I always have a book of my own nearby (or a magazine or a newspaper). My daughter sees me reading and often will want to read too. She’ll either pick out a book of her own to look at or she’ll want to snatch the best selling novel I’m currently trying to get through. But any print is good to be around! Take time everyday to just read together as a family. 

Read Aloud To Your Child(ren)

Continue reading aloud to your child. Each night before bed, try to sneak in at least one book, poem, and/or prayer. It doesn’t have to be long, but just something to get in the habit of reading each and every day. If you are not home at bedtime, try finding another time during the day to read to your child – at breakfast, before nap, at lunch. 

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Book Suggestions

Here are some of my favorite books for ages 3 – 6. Please note that just because I am suggesting them for this age group, it does not mean that is the only time they will enjoy these books. Younger kids might enjoy them, as well as older kids! Books that I suggested for 0 – 3 are still great for this age group, so feel free to revisit that list as well.

Books by Mo Willems

Mo Willems is my MOST favorite author. Ever. His books are funny, meaningful, and easy for kids to pick up on. It will take no time at all for your pre-reader to start to read these with you. Many of his books come in board book format. The Pigeon books are super fun to read out loud and I love the Elephant & Piggie series for pre-schoolers. 

Books by Mary Sullivan

Two books that I love by this author/illustrator are Ball and Treat. They are excellent for your pre-readers (especially if you have a dog lover). There is one word in these books, so your child will feel very accomplished reading them on their own. I also love the humor in the illustrations. 

Dog and Bear series by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

These books are more simple and do not have too many words on a page. Super cute illustrations with bright colors. Kids will love the characters and might be inspired to make up their own stories about Dog and Bear. This author/illustrator has many other wonderful books worth checking out. 

Books by Eric Carle

You cannot go wrong with Eric Carle. These are surely books YOU grew up reading. Beautiful tissue paper collage illustrations (that are fun and easy to replicate as an extension activity after reading) with lovely stories. 

Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold

These are great for those early readers. There is a fiction series that even grown-ups will find amusing, and a non-fiction series where readers can learn about popular topics like sharks, space, and dinosaurs. 

Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel

Classic. Your early reader will fall in love with Frog and Toad. These are good ones to snuggle up and read together. 

Pete the Cat books by Eric Litwin and James Dean

Pete the Cat has many books. In my opinion, the best ones are the ones written by Litwin and Dean together. Read the books and then search for the songs online. Your little one will never stop singing, dancing and reading Pete the Cat! 

Books by Jan Thomas

These are super fun to read aloud and I just love the bright, funny illustrations. 

What are your favorite books to read with 3 – 6 year olds?

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Valerie Byrd Fort was born in Florida, but when she was four years old, her family moved to the midlands and never looked back. She is mom to Katy (human) and to Lucky, Mozzy, and Penny (rescue dogs). She is married to Marty Fort, owner of the Lexington School of Music, Columbia Arts Academy, and Irmo Music Academy. She is an Instructor for the School of Library & Information Science at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches Children’s Literature to future classroom teachers and librarians. She is also Coordinator for Cocky's Reading Express, the University of South Carolina's literacy outreach program. Valerie is passionate about books, literacy, libraries, and reading aloud with children of ALL ages. She writes about books and other literacy related topics on her blog, Library Goddess. In her free time, Valerie enjoys reading, Barre3, going to Target and endless scrolling of social media  


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