A Teacher’s Roundup of the Best Books for Beginning Readers

Many parents would agree that helping their child learn to read is one of the most important developmental milestones in a young child’s life. However, knowing when and how to introduce your child to learn how to read comes with its unique set of challenges. How do I find the best books for beginning readers? How do I know if my child is ready to learn how to read? What books do I choose for them, or do I let them choose? How will I know if a book is too difficult or too easy?

If these questions sound like your inner parent banging their head on a wall, then have no fear! This blog post breaks it all down for you so that you can get your kiddo reading in no time (and impress the heck out of their teachers!)

What does it mean to be a Beginning Reader?

First and foremost, how do you know if your child is a beginning (otherwise known as emergent) reader? Simply put, a beginning reader is a child that is interested in books but cannot read them quite yet. You might be thinking, “Wait a minute, my son is a year and a half and absolutely loves books. He can’t stop asking me to read to him! Is he ready to be an emerging reader?”

No matter the age (usually from birth to age six), beginning readers are those that still need continued support to make meaning from print. So how can you prepare and help your child to be a beginning reader? Well, it actually looks a little different when you are comparing age levels.

A 2-year-old certainly isn’t going to be reading Frog and Toad on their own quite yet, and is probably still in the hard cover stage of books. However, they can definitely start learning the alphabet! This type of reader and age level is on the younger and mostly beginning end of emergent reading. You can still purchase books for beginning readers and have your little one follow along with you as you read. On the other hand, a 5-year-old who is starting (or will start) kindergarten soon and already has a grasp of their letters is considered a beginning reader who can now start to learn their letter sounds (or even words!)

Read more: 5 Practical Tips For Developing Kindergarten Readiness at Home

No matter which stage of reading your child is at, if your child is interested in books, you can help them further their reading skills by setting them up for reading success!

How to Set Your Beginning Reader up for Success

So your little one is geared up to start their reading journey and you might be asking yourself “Is it just as simple as giving my child a book for beginning readers and reading with them?” Well, in some ways, yes! Giving your child tons of exposure to different books is KEY to helping them foster a love for reading and boost their reading skills. However, a few extra steps can help your little one blossom into a fantastic reader.

First, a calm reading environment is a MUST! Imagine trying to check your email or read a report while you are in a busy airport. Are you really hyper-focused on what you are reading, or are you more concerned with watching a frantic family try to catch their flight to Disney World? Creating a calm reading environment is extremely beneficial to your child. Not only will they have an easier time focusing on the text, but they will also be able to form deeper relationships with word and letter meaning.

Read more: Tips to Calm the Chaos in Your Home

If you are reading along with your child, it is also helpful to do a “picture walk” with them before reading any words at all! Flip through the pages of a few books for beginning readers and ask questions like “What do you think this page will be about?” or “I wonder why that bunny is running from the gardener?” These questions will help spark imagination in your child and will help them form meaning from the text when they do start to read the words.

Speaking of pictures, they also can help your child decode those “tricky” words in the text. Perhaps your child does not know how to read the word “elephant”, but when the text is accompanied by a picture of an elephant, it is suddenly much easier to decode that word.

Repetitive books for beginning readers are KEY! Children love reading texts that repeat the same lines over and over again.  They give children confidence in reading because they can predict what the line will say and can practice putting meaning into those words.

Help your child use their “reading fingers” while reading. Simply put, have your child use their pointer finger to trace the words as they read. This helps your child keep their place in the text while also helping them keep their rhythm and tempo while reading.

Finally, offering a wide variety of books for beginning readers is extremely important for your little reader. But you might be thinking, “Well my daughter ONLY likes stories about kittens, and refuses to read anything else!” Start your reader out by offering her a nonfiction book about kittens. Then, move on to a fictional story about kittens (such as Pete the Cat). If your daughter liked that story, suggest another similar fictional story that perhaps has puppies or magical characters instead of kittens. Offering varying texts helps your reader branch out of their comfort zone and learn to read at an even faster pace.

If you’re wondering, “What book is best for beginning readers?”, have no fear! Read below to find a teacher’s list of some of the best books for beginning readers:

Popular Fiction Books for Beginning Readers

Fiction books are great for sparking imagination and creativity in your little reader. They are your best bet in keeping your child engaged in the text so that they want to keep reading! Below is a fictional list of books for beginning readers:

  1. Biscuit book series By Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Illustrated by Pat Schories
  1. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish By Dr. Seuss
  1. Max Finds an Egg By Wiley Blevins
  1. Ice Cream Soup By Ana Ingalls
  1. Monkey See, Monkey Do By Dana Regan
  1. Danny and the Dinosaur By Syd Hoff
  1. The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
  1. Penny and her Sled By Kevin Henkes
  1. Poof! A Bot! By David Milgrim
  1. The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat By Nurit Karlin 

Popular Nonfiction Books for Emerging Readers

Not all books for beginning readers need to be fiction, however. Perhaps your child is interested in puppies, trucks, or bugs! The nonfiction books for beginning readers below offer a great variety of topics that your child is bound to be interested in reading:

  1. Ranger Rick: I Wish I Was a Sea Turtle By Jennifer Bové
  1. Trucks (National Geographic Readers Series) By Wil Mara
  1. I am Water By Jean Marzollo
  1. Playful Puppy (DK Readers) By Charlotte Hicks
  1. Polar Animals By Wade Cooper
  1. I See Bugs by Wiley Blevins
  1. Get the Giggles By Scholastic
  1. Planes (National Geographic Readers Series) By Amy Shields
  1. Where is the Sun? By Eric Carle
  1. Farm Animals (National Geographic Readers Series) by Joanne Mattern

Well, there you have it- books for beginning readers in a nutshell. It’s really not as complex or as complicated as you think. As long as your child has a plethora of books varying from fairy tales to trucks, they should be well on their way to reading in no time at all! Enjoy this special time with your little one- it won’t be long until they are well on their way to independent reading!

Dig deeper into literacy with your child by visiting 26 of the Best Kids Books For Children of All Ages.



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Rachel VanSumeren
Rachel VanSumeren
Mom of Two Girls | Educator | Writer As a dedicated mother, experienced educator, and passionate writer, I bring a wealth of knowledge and creativity to Daily Mom. With over a decade of teaching experience in elementary education, I hold a Master's degree in Education, equipping me with expert insights into effective learning strategies for young minds. I am also a valued team member and writer at Daily Mom, where I have contributed my expertise for the past 1.5 years. My articles resonate with parents and educators alike, offering practical advice and inspiration on parenting, education, and family life. Beyond my professional endeavors, I cherish my role as a mother to two wonderful girls, drawing daily inspiration from the joys and challenges of parenthood. My commitment to nurturing young minds both at home and in the classroom reflect my unwavering dedication to shaping a brighter future through educating children.

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