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Great Read Alouds for Kindergarteners

Kindergarteners — they're growing up, and so is their taste in books. They’re developing relationships with other children, acquiring empathy. Reading aloud to children lets them see how different characters in different situations behave toward others. It also helps children understand the way language works. They hear how sentences are put together, grasping the meaning of words either in context or when talking with the adult. Often these verbal exchanges extend beyond the book as children begin to relate what happens in books connects to their world. Children at this age can often listen to longer stories or hear chapters from longer books.

See also: Great Read Alouds for Kids: Babies to Grade 3.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Ah Ha!

By: Jeff Mack
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The meaning of the frog's relaxed "AAHH!" changes when almost captured by a boy and his dog. As the frog escapes the boy and various predators the same letters are used with different meaning until the frog returns to his relaxed "AAHH!"  Four letters in different order change meaning to create a rollicking and ultimately satisfying story: "AAHH!"

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

By: Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault
Illustrated by: Lois Ehlert
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Naughty lowercase letters climb the coconut tree but when little Z gets to the top, they all go BOOM to the bottom. After a rescue by grown-up letters (all uppercase), it all seems to start again. Humor, crisp illustration and rhythm make this alphabetic adventure a classic.

Daisy Gets Lost

By: Chris Raschka
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The small, slightly frumpy but charming dog named Daisy is separated from her mistress when she chases her blue ball (acquired in A Ball for Daisy). Few words are needed to communicate their concern as they search for one another clearly seen in the expressive wash illustrations.

How Rocket Learned to Read

By: Tad Hills
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A tenacious bird finally inspires Rocket, a small white dog with black spots, to learn to read and spell. Children will empathize with Rocket as they see the expressive illustrations and hear the straightforward telling showing the passage of seasons but Rocket’s gradual ability to read.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

By: Kevin Henkes
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Lily just can’t contain her excitement and simply MUST share her jingly quarters and new purse causing her favorite teacher to put her in the thinking corner. How Lily rethinks her anger with Mr. Slinger is told with gentle humor, lively language, and very expressive illustrations.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

By: John Steptoe
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Mufaro had two beautiful daughters but each had very different personalities. Manyara was as haughty Nyasha was kind — and the behavior of one led to a royal wedding. Lush illustrations set in Zimbabwe and a straightforward telling make this a memorable book sometimes likened to a “Cinderella” story.

Tap the Magic Tree

By: Christie Matheson
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Is the magic in the book or with the reader as they are asked to tap the brown tree? A green leaf appears and then when rubbed, pink blossoms emerge. A rhythmic text encourages participation to see seasonal changes in the sturdy tree from winter's end to spring birds nesting.

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh

By: A.A. Milne
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Milne’s classic books, Winnie-the-Pooh and House at Pooh Corner are brought together in one volume. Short, episodic chapters and playful language punctuated with Ernest Shepard’s line drawings make this an ideal read-aloud that can be read over time.

The Day of Ahmed’s Secret

By: Florence Heide, Judith Gilliland
Illustrated by: Ted Lewin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Ahmed must carry his secret with him as he does his chores throughout the bustling, colorful streets of Cairo. Later in the day with his family all around him, Ahmed shares his wonderful secret: he can write his name in Arabic. Mild tension will keep children guessing what it is that Ahmed carries with him and detailed realistic watercolors are sure to inspire discussion.

The Deep, Deep Puddle

By: Mary Jessie Parker
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

One shaggy dog sniffs at the edge of a rain puddle, and then "glub, glub, glub,,., he sinks out of sight." The same fate happens to 2 cats, 3 squirrels and on to 12; then everyone reappears in reverse order until all's again well … for the time being, that is. Silliness abounds in whimsical language and jaunty illustrations with lots to see and count.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

By: Michael Rosen
Illustrated by: Helen Oxenbury
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A father and his children go over, under, and through while on an exciting bear hunt in this retelling of a traditional chant. Illustrations alternate between black and white and color, enhancing the engaging repetition and the exciting chase — all the way home!

Yoko

By: Rosemary Wells
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In this first book about Yoko, she and her classmates learn to appreciate her Japanese heritage as well as their own backgrounds. This and other Yoko books introduce young readers to familiar issues in colorful illustration and relatable language.

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