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Emerging literacy is of paramount importance in young children–we know this. You don’t need a PHd in Early Childhood Education to confirm that exposing kids to literature at an early age is absolutely critical. They begin to connect word with sound, picture with idea, and the overall sense that most stories have a beginning, middle, and end.
We found a group of the best early reader books for boys that completely dazzled our first born. He would often forego a toy dump truck, squirt gun, or TV time for these stories. We read them, and read them, and read them some more. You could look into his eyes and physically see his imagination developing, and his sense of wonderment for the world welling up.
Here are the hands down, best books we found. Clearly, every kid is different, but if you are looking for the most engaging books for boys, this is a good place to start.
Best Early Reader Books for Boys
A Day At The Airport by Richard Scarry
The art, and detail is astounding. Each set of pages–when viewed together–is an adventure. Scarry’s books almost remind me of the “Where’s Waldo” series, in that there is so much going on visually. Many inquisitive questions will be asked–most of which will be the best of all questions: “Why?” It shows the inner workings of airports, from the luggage handling, to the ticket counters, to the flight operations. It’s a kid’s masterpiece.
Busy Workers by Richard Scarry
This book is so EPIC that it became part of our real lives. As drove or walked down the street, any person who was engaged in an occupation became a “busy worker”–and our little guy knew a thing or two about their job! The book, much like all of Scarry’s books, has magnificent artwork. Not computer generated, overly stylized art, but real hand-drawn and painted art. The book takes you inside the machines, plants, and work sites of many different jobs, and causes a great deal of curiosity to well up in the process. I could almost cry remembering my little guy at this stage!
Mr. Brown Can Moo by Dr. Seuss
Just like many Seuss titles, it’s whacky, it’s out there, it has ridiculous words, and it’s fun! Our favorite book by the genius children’s author is by far this title. It takes you through a litany of different sounds you can find in nature, and dear old Mr. Brown attempts to make them himself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most of all you’ll enjoy watching your child explore his/her ability to make goofy noises. It’s a blast, it’s short, and it’s worth every penny.
Maisy’s Pool by Lucy Cousins
This title caught us by surprise. Usually our son was into anything with a motor, or any person with tools. There was something alluring about this book that lead to us reading it until it literally fell apart. The artwork is simple and relatable, there aren’t really any straight lines. It’s looks hand drawn (which, in case you haven’t noticed, is a big plus for me). The story is simple: a mouse named Maisy is playing in a pool when her elephant friend sucks up all the water. Ooops! Then, suddenly the elephant sprays the water back out and everything is fun again!
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
In our desperate attempt to get our child to sleep…which didn’t work… we started delving into bedtime stories. Many of them simply led to more questions, more curiosity, and less sleeping. This one may be in that category as well, but it’s so wonderful that it didn’t matter–it became canon. The story is about each and every piece of heavy equipment you can dream up. One by one they finish the day’s work and head to sleep. It has amazing artwork, that is colored in a soft pallet–perfect for bedtime. There are also surprises on many of the pages, if you look closely enough. It’s a great way to learn some construction terminology, and hopefully wind your child down for bed.
Skippyjon Jones by Judith Schachner
The collection of “Skippyjon” stories is probably among the most popular of our time. They are hilarious, the artwork is unique, and there are no rules in Skippy’s dream world. If you don’t know the story, I’m truly sorry. Make it a point to get one from the library, and prepare to laugh. Skippyjon is an adorable siamese cat, who dreams of being a chihuahua. The book is full of hilarious Spanish-English combinations, written in a phonetic way. “My ears are to beeeeg for my head,” for example. It’s a blast to read, for both the kids and the adults. And the storyline is so nonsensical that it makes the entire experience absurd and fun all at once.
There are clearly a ton of wonderful books not mentioned in this list, but these are very near and dear to our hearts. When I hear someone refer to one of them, I almost instantly tear up. We put great books into our son’s hands at a tender age, and he fell in love with them. And for that, we are grateful.
Preparing your little reader to become a good reader is something that we highly recommend. It is still fun, but just gets the discussion going and gets your little one thinking. Once you do this a few times, your little one will learn to anticipate the questions and start doing it all on his own.
Reading comprehension is really the heart of the reading process. Teaching kids to understand what they are reading is the key to success!
What do you think this book is about?
Who do you think the main character is?
Also point out the title, author, and illustrator and demonstrate the correct way to hold a book.
What do you think will happen next?
How do you think the book will end?
What happened in this story?
What was the problem?
Do you like this book? Why or why not?
What was your favorite part?
What as your least favorite part?
Tell me what happened in the beginning.
What happened after that?
How did it end?
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