Reading Non-Fiction to Preschoolers Part II
SHARED by: Katherine Grier, Librarian at York Avenue Preschool
A couple of weeks ago we discussed tips on how to read non-fiction books to your preschool aged child. I have included some specific titles and series recommendations that I particularly enjoy reading with my students and my own daughters.
Nonfiction recommendations for 18 months to 36 months
1. “Wind,” “Rain,” “Sun” and “Snow” by Carol Thompson
I recently stumbled upon this adorable series of board books by Carol Thompson which introduce weather concepts to children in the 12 to 24 month age range. They are rhythmic, nicely illustrated and very informative, and they won An Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio Best Book Award too.
2. “Delivering Your Mail” by Ann Owen
This is a simple book about being a mail carrier. The text is to the point and perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers learning about mail carriers for the first time. It focuses on not just what the mail carriers do but how it impacts the reader, which is paramount for young children who see the world through their perspective only. It is a cute beginner book.
3. “Float and Sink” by Robin Nelson
Don’t be afraid to make this great book interactive. You can easily demonstrate many of the concepts in the bathtub or other water containers in your home, especially “Bubbles float/soap sinks”
4. “Smelling,” “Tasting,” “Hearing,” “Seeing,” and “Touching”by Martha Rustad
This series of 5 books uses simple text and large bright photographs of preschool children doing everyday things to illustrate the principles of our five senses. It was a big hit with my students this year.
Nonfiction recommendations for Older 3, 4 and 5 year olds
1. Brad Meltzer writes an excellent biography series in picture book format that is perfect for 3, 4 and 5 year olds. There are currently eight books in the series (known as the Ordinary People Change the World Series), including Martin Luther King, Amelia Earhart, Jackie Robinson, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, and more. The subject of each biography tells his/her own story in first person narrative style and begins his/her tale when he/she is a child. Throughout, we learn the motivations, dreams and inspirations for why the subject grew up to be who they did. The emphasis is on the character traits that made these people wonderful role models and determined in their life pursuits. The illustrations are a cross between caricatures and bobble-head toys and add greatly to the appeal of the books. These books are the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, and to inspire them to strive and dream.
2. Geoff Waring has written several Start with Science books that introduce kids to core science concepts, including electricity, light and dark, sound, moving and rolling and growing. Mr. Waring’s engaging stories feature a kitten named Oscar who explores each topic with the aid of other animal friends. For example, in “Oscar and the Bird,” Oscar finds a tractor in a field and accidentally turns on the windshield wipers. This leads him to have many questions about electricity. Luckily, his friend Bird knows the answers! With Bird’s help, Oscar finds out how electricity is made and stored, which machines need electricity to work, and why we always need to be careful around wires, batteries, plugs and sockets. Good illustrations and supplemental activities that are included at the end of each book keep the Oscar books fun and age appropriate.
3. Most preschoolers are familiar with the Magic School Bus videos which feature a quirky and magical teacher who brings her science lessons to life through hands on field trips. There are several different book formats for this series too. My personal favorite is the Scholastic Readers-Level 2 books which have fewer words and side bars than some of the other formats. The series includes “The Magic School Bus: Takes a Moonwalk,” “Flies from the Nest,” “Gets Caught in a Web,” “Arctic Adventure,” “The Wild Leaf Ride,” “The Shark Adventure,” “Gets Crabby,” “Lost in the Snow,” “Has A Heart,” “Rides the Wind,” “Wild Leaf Ride,” and “Flies with Dinosaurs,” all of which tackle nonfiction subject matter that ties to pertinent and popular Pre-K curriculum and interests.