Younger preschoolers need sturdy books and cloth books that can take rigorous and repeated usage. There is usually no plot or story to these books, but they should be colorful This is a good time to teach them how books work—from the left to the right side, from the front to the back, and how to turn pages without damaging them. Encourage preschoolers to look and identify the pictures.


This is an exciting age for preschoolers, and listening to stories is where reading begins. There is a growing sense of independence and accomplishment at this age. Children love to participate in the telling of a story. They are curious about the world around them and love to hear about their pets, toys, and experiences.

Language is just as important as pictures at this age. Children also want to know the difference between real and make-believe, and they work hard at distinguishing between these concepts.

Chose folktales that lack violence, have simple language, uncomplicated plots, and easy refrains. The characters may be in peril, but children will learn that they emerge unharmed in the end because they are courageous and wise. The rules are strict. In the Three Little Pigs, because of their foolishness, two are eaten. n The Gingerbread Man, running away is fun, but biscuits are made to be eaten.

At bedtime books help children to settle down, if they are soothing and can slide them into sleep. Three year olds also ove lullaby rhymes.


Imagination is always moving for four year olds. They are beginning to see the world from other viewpoints. Some children will listen endlessly, so involved in the story that the real world ceases to exist. Others will listen, if the subject is a favorite one. Old favorites will continue to be enjoyed, while longer more complex stories are interesting to them.

Nursery rhymes will continue to be favored, but stories can now be enjoyed in rhyme.

Fours will develop their own taste in books now, often favoring information books that label and identify their world. They are more sociable and enjoy stories involving other children or animals impersonating children.

Involve them more in the story, and ask them to predict what may happen next. This will stimulate their thinking and observation skills.

Children are also interested in how mechanical things work. They delight in silly and absurd situations. They enjoy pretending and love adventure. They love to hear exaggeration, but are impatient with long descriptions and too much dialogue. This is a wonderful, but exhausting age for children, so enjoy it, savor it, and try to keep up with it.


There is a land not far away,
and only found in books today.
Where classic stories live and breathe,
magic awaits, if you believe.

Frightened chickens and falling skies,
and kings and queens and blackbird pies.
Teddy bears and naughty rabbits,
cabbages and nasty habits.

Wee small bears and missing buttons,
numbers, letters by the dozens.
Pumpkins, mittens, muffins, and toads,
little engines that pull big loads.

In this land all classics wait
just for you, so don't be late,
to read or listen, old or new.
Just one a day, or maybe two.

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