Children's Books: Top Books for Kids

Supplemental reading increases fluency and comprehension, which helps your child make the transition from a beginning reader to an independent one. The following books for kids cover a range of reading abilities and genres.

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What Are My Child's Reading Milestones?

Your child generally starts kindergarten with an understanding of rhyming words and how printed words are read. He or she recognizes some words and predicts events in a story. Second and third grade typically mark the beginning of your child's ability to read independently. In upper elementary and middle school, he or she will read longer texts from a wider variety of genres. The following reading list covers top books for beginning and independent readers.

Book List for Beginning Readers

1. Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

Every month during the full moon, a young boy cuts hair in his father's barbershop. His regular customers - who are monsters - sometimes have unusual hair care needs. Ask your child to predict what will happen on the night when a human customer enters the shop.

2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This classic book tells the story of Max, who is sent to bed without supper after dressing up like a wolf and causing mischief around the house. Max imagines that he travels to a land of 'wild things' - scary monsters - where he becomes king and dances around with them. In the end, he returns home to find a hot supper waiting for him.

3. Belinda the Ballerina by Amy Young

Belinda loves ballet, but others make fun of her gigantic feet. She decides to give up on being a dancer; however, a change of heart compels her to put her ballet slippers back on and continue dancing. Use this book to talk with your child about being determined and following your dreams, even when facing criticism.

Books for Independent Readers

1. Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein

Word play is emphasized in these poems about Runny Babbit and his friends Snerry Jake, Skertie Gunk, Dungry Hog and others. Your child can decode the animals' unique language in each poem or practice writing in a similar way.

2. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

This children's classic tells how the Banks family is changed when the mysterious and magical Mary Poppins blows in on the wind to take a job as the nanny. The Banks children have many adventures with Mary Poppins, including a birthday party with zoo animals and a tea party on the ceiling. Share this book with your child and compare it with the movie version.

3. Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Nick and Marta decide to investigate when their detested biology teacher, Mrs. Starch, mysteriously vanishes on a class trip to Black Vine Swamp. They don't believe the principal's excuse for her disappearance, but their own attempt to solve the mystery leads them to some interesting theories and startling conclusions.

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