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Friday, August 12, 2016

Tip #2 - A Book a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Picture Book List

We all know it's important to read to our kids but sometimes finding the right titles can be overwhelming.  

Which ones should we read to them and which ones should they read on their own? It's often helpful to start by looking at your school district's summer reading list.  Most publish one and they are sorted by grade level. Here is the one for our district:

Lower Merion School District Summer Reading List

(Don't forget the Five Finger Rule. Even if a book says that it's the same grade/ability level as your child, it's still a good idea to try this rule out with one or two books from the list.  More to come on the Five Finger Rule and Choosing Just Right Books in a future post).

With that said, here are a few books that I've discovered this summer, from the reading list and elsewhere. To read more of my recommendations, check out the following posts on Literacy with Lisa:

A is for Musk Ox and a Few Other Good Books...

Launching a Love of Reading from Day One

Note: It's certainly fine for your child to read these texts on his/her own, as long as they are on a just right level.  (See the Five Finger Rule above for more on that).  But you also might enjoy sharing them together!


Picture Books

President Taft is Stuck in the Bath: A humorous account of President Taft's bathtub escapes. Guaranteed for a few good laughs and a favorite with my students during our end of year summer reading lessons.

Little Red Gliding Hood: A different take on the classic fairy tale that includes ice skates and other nursery rhyme characters


Wolfie the Bunny: In case you're not familiar with this book, it's illustrated by a local illustrator - Zachariah O'Hora.  He lives in the next town over from us, which is pretty cool.  And the story is great as well, with a theme of overcoming fear and helping others.


Frog on a Log: A great rhyming book, with amazing illustrations and a funny punch line on the last page.  Perfect for emerging readers.

Z is for Moose: A wacky alphabet book where the Zebra and Moose have different ideas about how an alphabet book should be arranged!

Rude Cakes: Read this story with cakes as characters.  A great book for discussing manners! Always a good topic to review often in our house.

Mummy Cat: A quick paced rhyming text that also teaches history about ancient Egypt.  A must read for kids who love mummies, queens, cats or all of the above!

Hilo, the Boy Who Crashed to Earth:  I didn't think I would like this book at first as I'm normally not much of a fantasy buff or an avid comic book reader. But since it was on the Summer Reading List, I decided to give it a try.  

Surprise?  I loved reading HiLo with Joey.  It's about a boy who like the title suggests, crashes to earth.  He befriends D.J., an average kid in a family of overachievers.  Along the way, they encounter evil forces from other galaxies, robotic ants and lots of burps.  Pick up this book today to see what happens with Hilo, D.J., Gina and Razorwark.  We devoured both copies in the series and wished that there were more!

The Saddest Toilet in the World: You can probably guess the plot line - it's about a boy who won't use the potty so the toilet gets fed up.  Joey randomly chose this book one day at the library.This isn't your average potty training book though.

This story has great dialogue, a runaway toilet and pictures reminiscent of Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny.  And the really cool thing is that when we read the About the Author, I realized that I actually know him!  How cool is that?  He's the friend of a friend and lives about a mile away.

Small world!

Big Wig : Are you interested in the history of hair?  This book will take you from ancient times to mohawks to the priciest haircut in history (you won't believe the cost!).  Interesting facts and amazing pictures should keep your child engaged throughout.  (Note - this is more appropriate for intermediate readers).

Inventor's Secret: This wasn't on the summer reading list but is a great read aloud, especially for kids that like science and inventions (like my kids).  Very informative and interesting, it chronicles the friendship between Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  Great message of "not giving up" and "keeping at it," whatever your dream may be.  I plan to read this to my students at the beginning of this school year as a way to discuss effort, believing in yourself and hard work. Also connects well to the topic of grit.

I hope that you enjoy the list below and most importantly, that you have fun discovering new books with your child. And don't forget to share your comments.  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading,


P.S.  Future posts will include recommended chapter books, as well as "How to Choose a Just Right Book" and ways to get kids writing at home (with minimal or no arguing!).

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