While you might not be including your preschooler in any formal instruction just yet, you’re still likely reading beautiful and delightful books with them. Here is some help in your quest to find the best living books for preschool.
Love of Reading
A love of reading is just one quality we hope to cultivate in our children. Indeed, a life-long love of learning is possible by engaging your kids in quality literature, real-life experiences, and encouraging unstructured play. So, as you grow a culture of learning in your home, one of the key foundations involves finding the best books.
Exploring the World Through Living Books
Sonlight’s Preschool curriculum will give you everything you need to help your children explore the wonder of the world through great living books. You can find lesson plans and book lists to help homeschool your preschooler.
A love of reading is best nurtured in a natural way, with family time and a delightful book. Your children can learn about the natural world, but also inspire their imaginations with fairy tales. The world is their classroom when you open a book with them.
Creating a Culture of Reading
There are several things to consider when growing a reading culture in your home. Those things include when you fit reading in your day, modeling a love of reading to your kids, finding great books, and storing your books.
So before you jump into the book lists below, consider when you will encourage your preschoolers to read with you or look at picture books themselves. Will you schedule a quiet reading time into your day? Maybe in the early afternoon before lunch this will work. Or does it work best to read books with your child before bed?
Consider some of these ideas so that you make sure that reading happens regularly in your home. Of course, strewing beautiful books around the house is a great way to engage your child with wonderful literature naturally.
Be a Good Role Model
Remember to model the life of a reader to your child. Do they see you making time to read? It’s more important than you think. Of course, we’ll help you find some great books below with recommendations and book lists. But where will you store them all? Homeschool families have a challenge sometimes in this area! Check out these practical solutions for organizing your home library full of living books.
A Charlotte Mason education relies on piles of great living books. As you look for quality literature for your young children, start with classic books like Mother Goose or Fairy Tales. Your preschoolers can listen to you read short stories aloud and follow along, even if they aren’t able to read yet themselves.
Preschoolers (and older children) love picture books. You can explore so many wonderful topics using the beautiful illustrations of a picture book. Consider diving into nature study or biographies of famous people through picture books. Using Charlotte Mason’s methods, such as narration, you can engage your preschoolers in dialoging about the book and the brilliant illustrations.
Reading quality literature is more engaging than teaching from a textbook. Plus, reading living books with your preschoolers is a wonderful way to teach them multiple “subject areas” painlessly. Once you have tried this method of homeschooling, you will see how easy it is to continue into the elementary years naturally learning through books.
As you’re looking for must-have picture books for your preschooler, you can’t go wrong with these titles:
- The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
- Mike Mulligan and More by Virginia Lee Burton
- George and Martha by James Marshall
- Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics includes twelve delightful picture books including Goodnight Moon, From Head to Toe, and Caps for Sale.
Homeschool moms are always looking for book lists! So we won’t disappoint you on that front.
If you’re looking for the absolute best of the best, then you’ll love this extensive list of 163 unique superlatives from the Sonlight catalog of curriculum. You’ll find the top books in every age level and category, including the Preschool Package and the Pre-Kindergarten Package.
Here are some of the books from Sonlight’s Preschool Package:
- Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
- Horton Hatches an Egg
- Mother Goose
- Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day?
- Caps for Sale
- Goodnight Moon
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
- Last Stop on Market Street
Of course, a preschool bookshelf wouldn’t be complete without these other well-loved classics.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
- The Biggest House in the World by Leo Lionni
- Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman
- The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
- Freight Train by Donald Crews
- Hope on Pop by Dr. Seuss
- The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
- Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone
- The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- The Little Engine That Could
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Do you love book lists? Check out this great summer reading book list.
Building Your Preschool Living Book Library
How do you even know where to start when building your home library? Here are some things to keep in mind.
Know what counts as a living book for your family. Every homeschool parent may have a slightly different take on determining whether a book is “twaddle” or not. So once you can figure out your own expectations and standards for your preschool library, you’re ready to start looking for books.
It’s always a great idea to start with your childhood favorites. Parents love to share the books they read as children with their own kids.
Explore Good Book Recommendations
Ask for recommendations. You don’t have to figure this out all by yourself. Some librarians will be helpful with finding living books. Ask other homeschool moms. Plus, there are many book lists online, including Sonlight’s list of books in the Preschool Package.
Give Books as Gifts
Include living books in your gift-giving. Holidays, birthdays and other fun celebrations provide a great opportunity to gift beautiful and enriching books to your children. Some families countdown the days until Christmas with a book each day! That tradition will build your library quickly. Or celebrate the beginning and end of the school year with a great pile of new books. When grandparents ask what they can buy your children for birthdays and holidays, encourage them to purchase living books. An inscription in the front cover of a treasured book makes a beautiful keepsake long into the future.
It’s okay to purchase second-hand books. There’s no need to buy brand new books when you can find them at thrift stores, yard sales and library sales for a fraction of the price.
Storing Your Books
Use the storage you have. While it can be nice to have a dedicated library space or a wall full of bookshelves, it’s not always possible. Even if you live in a tiny space, just use the space you have. If you can organize all your books in one central location, it might work better for your kids and yourself to use the books more regularly. But if you must store them throughout the house, then do it.
Store Books in Tubs or Baskets
Preschool books do well in tubs or baskets, as sometimes they are board books or smaller books that don’t always sit well on a shelf. Be creative in how you store them. Remember that in keeping them within arm’s reach of your preschooler, they are more likely to look through them.
Have a place in your home, maybe the coffee table, where you can put new and interesting titles regularly. This might even be where you lay the new library books each week. Your children are more likely to pick them up when they see them. It’s a great way to keep them interested, curious, and growing their love of reading.
Make reading good picture books and quality literature with your preschooler a priority. Enjoy these moments because the early years go by so quickly! If you are looking for a way to teach your preschooler or early learner using living books as the foundation rather than dry textbooks and endless worksheets, consider checking out Sonlight’s Preschool Program.
Sonlight is a complete, literature-based, Christian homeschool curriculum with every subject for students from Preschool through high school. Our curriculum uses a variety of materials to deliver an engaging and complete education that extends beyond textbooks and memorization: literary fiction and nonfiction, biographies, illustrations, and hands-on experiments. These resources come with thorough lesson plans and notes, so that you can enjoy successful homeschooling. Customers who buy from Sonlight enjoy a liberal arts education that produces critical thinkers who are ambassadors for Christ with a heart for the world. Visit us online and request a FREE catalog today!