As many of us are winding down the school year, it is encouraged to continue reading stories and picture books to our children throughout the summer season. This is especially important for the preschool and kindergarten aged students, so the Oak Meadow teachers teamed up and shared some of their favorite books for this age level:
Michelle Menegaz: Our family loved the very repetitive but very soothing Milly Molly Mandy stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley. There really is something magical about this story of a little girl and her family doing very normal things in an old English village from somewhat long ago.
Another one with plenty of adventure that starts off seeming to be in the most nothing-ever-happens-here kind of place is Twig, written by Elizabeth Orton Jones.
If you want a rollicking very high adventure, very high language read aloud, and the child can sustain through long complex storylines, then The Borrowers, written by Mary Norton, is a treat and a half, but no easy ride for sure.
Another long-time favorite of ours forever and ever is Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm… very understated humor and delightful drawings accompanying tales of real animals living with a real family in a real and imperfect old farmhouse. This is just one of many that Alice and Martin Provensen wrote.
Regarding the letter activities, the book LMNOP and All the Letters A to Z looks at the poetic nature of letters with beautiful block/beeswax crayon drawings.
Your children may delight in a deeper approach to the alphabet. Maybe they can come up with their own ways to blend the letters into a picture, or make them from pretzel dough, or act them out with their body.
And have you ever read On Beyond Zebra? It is about the letters AFTER Z, written by classic, hilarious Dr. Seuss.
Claudine Kaplan: For animal stories with valuable morals, Thornton Burgess’s Old Mother West Wind books are great stories that were first published in 1910.
Sarah Antel: Tasha Tudor wrote some sweet animal stories.
What about Robert McClosky’s Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine?
I have memories of my parents reading me The Wind in the Willows no matter how old I was; it was my favorite story growing up.
Shannon Miller: My boys and the kindergarten group I just worked with loved the whole series by Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo, A Gold Star for Zog, etc.) They feature great rhyme schemes so younger kids who aren’t quite reading can “read” along. The author does an excellent job featuring female characters in different roles. (For example, one character refuses to be a princess because she really wants to be a dragon doctor.) They are fun and usually cheap to obtain!
Leslie Daniels: One of my favorites for a kindergarten student is Adrienne Keith’s book, Fairies From A to Z. The drawings are colorful and delightful, and the book is formatted in poetry style. This book also includes special “fairy words” for each letter that are found along the borders of the pages. In addition, there is a fairy box (home) to construct at the back of the book. My own children at this age level loved this book – and they also loved making their own fairy boxes.
Also, we can’t forget the wonderful books written by Margaret Wise Brown, Elsa Beskow, and Barbara Berger. They are perfect for kindergarten students!
Meg Minehan: In addition to some already mentioned, here are a few of my kids’ kindergarten favorites: My Father’s Dragon series, Jenny Linsky series, Pierre The Truffle Pig, and for a newer book – the Tumtum and Nutmeg series, which are contemporary but with that charm and adventure of The Wind in the Willows, etc. They are fabulous to read aloud.
Andy Kilroy: My kindergarten-aged granddaughter is already reading pretty easily, so I have been spending my time with her on Explode the Code books. I have also been doing poetry with her, as she loves to make up rhymes. We are both rhyming straight up and she is writing songs, which she loves to do. When we do read, we do books in the “easy reader” genre, so they vary. I have not hit upon any that she likes as much as she likes the rhyming books. I have been trying to do some longer stories with her; she likes Mo Willems books that are written in the non-rhyming format, and she loved Angela and Her Alligator, which is a “chapter book”. She also liked the Berenstain Bears series, which includes great morals and values. My granddaughter also loves Gruffalo and Where the Wild Things Are.
Michelle Menegaz: Choosing which books to share with your kindergartener is where the home teacher can use intuition and knowledge of the child to branch out and get creative!