Tag: reading challenge

Best Books for New Readers

Best Books for New Readers

Not too long ago, a friend reached out to me for some new book recommendations. Her oldest daughter is getting ready for Kindergarten, and she wants to be sure that their family library has a variety of books for new readers. As parents, we often hear a lot about books for babies and great books for reading aloud, but finding “just right” readers for our five and six year olds that aren’t boring or dry can be tricky.

Note: I strongly believe we should continue reading to our children long after they become readers themselves. There are lots of beautiful picture books for older children, so don’t be too quick to rush into chapter books exclusively!

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Children who are learning to read have lots of internal motivation…at first. As parents, our goal is to make sure that our children have access to humorous, high-interest books. You know, books that our children actually want to read. Keep in mind that some children will LOVE stories, while others will be drawn to non-fiction or how-to books. (One of my students, a reluctant reader, fell in love with joke books during third grade. He read every humor book the library had on the shelf before moving on to higher-quality literature in his fourth grade year.)

As the mom of a new reader myself, I try to keep a healthy balance between “easy reader” books and higher quality literature for my 1st grader. Honestly, I see it as being similar to checking out a Nicholas Sparks book and a classic by one of the Bronte sisters for myself. Sometimes, it’s nice to kick back with an easy “beach read.” Good readers read a lot, so new readers need lots of books to choose from.

Organizing Books for New Readers

Our home library used to be organized by author’s last name, similar to the public library. Once my youngest became an independent reader, I reorganized the shelves by reading level. It was a lot of work at first, but I’ve seen her confidence grow. It’s nice that she can quickly find a book that she wants to read from a tub of books she knows she can read. Scholastic has a Book Wizard tool that makes leveling most books a cinch!

Best Books for New Readers | best books for kids, reading lists, recommended books, early readers, learning to read, printable list, free download

Best Books for New Readers

This is not an exhaustive list, and your children might find other books they prefer! Hopefully it will give you a good starting place when you go into the library or book store. If you would like a printable copy of the list (with even more book ideas!), just fill out the form below. It will arrive in your inbox immediately.

(Just a reminder that Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.)

Maisy books by Lucy Cousins

We read a LOT of Maisy when our girls were younger. There are lots of titles available, and the text is usually simple and silly.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (and sequels) by Doreen Cronin

 

I believe strongly in the power of humor to keep new readers motivated. If your child doesn’t know the Click Clack series, add these to your library list!

Fairmount Avenue series by Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is incredible. I adore all of his books (and there are LOTS), but this sweet autobiographical series is a must-have for new readers. Tomie’s childhood is laugh-out-loud funny and sweet.

mouse books by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum and Owen are our two favorites, but Lilly’s adventures are fun, too! Kevin Henkes knows how to write for children, so you can’t really go wrong with any of his books.

Pete the Cat books by Eric Litwin

When Pete the Cat first arrived in bookstores and libraries, children and adults alike were smitten. For some reason, James Dean (the creator of Pete) and Eric Litwin (the original author) have split ways and the newer books aren’t as memorable or fun to read. I Love My White Shoes and Four Groovy Buttons are great!

Everything written by Leo Lionni

Lionni is a gifted artist, and most of his books feature animals, a sure kid-pleaser. Little Blue and LIttle Yellow is different from most of his books, which oddly makes it my favorite. A Color of His Own and Swimmy are other beloved books in our house.

Frog and Toad collection by Arnold Lobel

I remember reading these books as a child, and I love sharing them with my own girls.

Anne Rockwell

As I mentioned above, my second daughter much prefers non-fiction books. Anne Rockwell’s stories are a good balance–lots of facts and simple illustrations! These two were big hits in our family.

Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant

Cynthia Rylant is a fantastic author for new readers. Henry and Mudge is one of two series she’s written that I often recommend for young children. What’s better than a series of early reader books featuring a boy and his dog? (P.S. When I Was Young in the Mountains is one of my favorite picture books of all time!)

Mr. Putter and Tabby books by Cynthia Rylant

This is another sweet series of books for new readers. Try the first two books from the library and see if your family enjoys the characters.

Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems

Mo Willems has been a favorite author of mine since Knuffle Bunny came out. The Elephant & Piggie series is laugh out loud funny, while still talking about some of the BIG feelings that our new readers struggle with. Best of all, there are lots of choices to keep your kiddo giggling.

What are your favorite books for new readers?


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8 Simple Fall Family Traditions + Gratitude Journal

8 Simple Fall Family Traditions + Gratitude Journal

Growing up in Texas, cooler weather and changing leaves usually arrived at the same time as Christmas. Now that we have moved to the Midwest, our girls get to experience a TRUE fall: harvest, apple-picking, pumpkin patches, and jumping in HUGE piles of leaves in the yard. We also have been able to start new fall family traditions! 

Image of fall foliage with text: 8 Simple Fall Family Traditions

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

8 Simple Fall Family Traditions:

  • Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard.
  • Rake up leaves from the yard and jump in them. (Bonus points for raking a neighbor’s yard, too!)
  • Go on a nature hike and gather items for a homemade wreath craft.
  • Complete a family puzzle or LEGO set over a few weeks’ time.
  • Listen to an audiobook on the couch while doing a project.
  • Invite a family over for a meal.
    This can be for Thanksgiving (think of someone who doesn’t have extended family nearby) or another meal during the month of November. Have your children help plan the menu, go shopping, set the table, and prepare the meal together. Teach your children about serving others and being hospitable.
  • Do a family service project.
    Gather items for the local food pantry or women’s shelter. Snuggle dogs or cats at the animal shelter. Write letters for veterans. Create small care packages for the homeless (warm socks, toiletry items, snacks). Participate in Operation Christmas Child or Angel Tree.   
  • Bake (or buy) cookies and talk about what each family member is grateful for. You can make a gratitude jar, banner, or start a gratitude journal to add to each year.

Make a Gratitude Journal:

When your children are old enough to understand what “thankful” means, go out and buy a family journal. I would recommend one with unlined pages and a spiral binding.

 

Decorate the cover together with fabric or scrapbook paper. Trace each child’s hand on a page in the journal and allow them to fill it in with markers, stickers, colored paper, magazine scraps, etc. Write down what they are thankful for (or let them write in the journal) and date the entries. Each year, bring the journal out and reminisce about previous years.

Start a new family tradition: create a gratitude journal!


What are your family’s favorite fall traditions? Leave a comment below or join the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Fall Family Traditions | family activity ideas, teaching kids to be grateful, helping others, gratitude journal for families, making a difference

 

 

Join our Fall Reading Challenge:

Reading aloud with your children for 15 minutes a day can have significant impact on your:

  • family bond
  • child’s love for learning
  • child’s emotional and academic success
  • and MORE!

You can grab our FREE printable reading log and get details about our November book giveaway below.

Grab our free printable reading log at rollingprairiereaders.com!

Best Fall Books for Readers of All Ages

Best Fall Books for Readers of All Ages

Cooler temperatures are arriving all across the country! (If you’re still suffering from “fall heat” in Texas or California, I sympathize.) It won’t be long before we’ll all curled up on couches under cozy blankets, and if you’re anything like me–you’ll want a good book with you. Here’s my list of the best fall books; be sure to leave a comment with YOUR favorites.

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)


Scroll down to the bottom for information about our fall reading challenge!


Best Fall Books for Babies and Toddlers

My toddler loved every book written by Liesbet Slegers. Check to see if your library carries them!

I’ve read the entire “Mouse and Minka” series too many times to count! These are definitely worth adding to the family library.

Little Blue Truck just feels like a fall book, doesn’t it? (See our Little Blue Truck sensory bin here.)

Best Fall Books for Preschool and Kindergarten

While Fletcher learns about fall, he teaches us about kindness and being a good friend.

My girls love this book, and I do too! Frog and Toad is a classic; it sure reminds me of my childhood.

Kevin Henkes is most well-known for his sweet books about mice (Owen and Chrysanthemum are two of our favorites!), but In the Middle of Fall is also a wonderful book to read aloud! (Especially if you live in a part of the country that gets snow.)

Lois Ehlert might be one of my very favorite author-illustrators. Not only does she use interesting materials to create fascinating images in her books, but she also includes little details about how she came up with the idea of her story/illustrations, which is fascinating for adults and aspiring authors and artists.

12 incredible fall themed books for kids

Best Fall Books for Kids

Best Non-Fiction Fall Books

Now that we live in the Midwest, my girls are learning a lot about farming. This book is a great introduction for children who might not have experienced farm life for themselves.

One of my girls LOVES non-fiction text, and she loves this book. Full of photographs and information about identifying trees by their leaves makes this a great read for science-lovers and novices alike.

Best Fall Books for Bigger Kids

If you live in a climate without snow, this book is a great one to read by the Christmas tree with your iced tea. 😉

You may know Mo Willems for Knuffle Bunny and Elephant & Piggie. This sweet story has a different feeling, but it’s a lovely book to read with your young writers to teach cyclical storytelling.

I found Wonderfall on a display at my local library. It’s full of clever puns and fun word choice. It’s a great example of a picture book that is just right for older readers. 😉

Best Fall Books for Tweens and Teens

I read this book in one afternoon and then immediately put it into the hands of my 9-year-old. It’s a beautiful story!

Kate DiCamillo is a gifted writer. Her stories are so worth reading aloud with your children. I would recommend starting with this one.

My own girls aren’t ready for the Wingfeather Saga just yet, but I loved all four books. This series is on par with Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. (How often can you say that?!)

I love Anne of Green Gables (as any reader alive in the 1980s probably does), but Emily and all the folks at New Moon hold a special place in my heart. This is a great series to binge read under a blanket.

I love this book. <3

Best Fall Books | fall books for kids, fall books to read, fall read aloud, fall books for adults, read aloud activities, free printable

Best Fall Books for Adults

Nothing helps your children fall in love with books like seeing you read a book! These are four I have loved.

Beautiful story.

Katherine Reay writes really engaging fiction. This is her first book, and it remains my favorite!

If you like non-fiction books, I highly recommend this one. Engaging story made even more amazing by the fact that it’s true.

I never expected to love this book, but I did. Fantastic story, but note: there is a lot of language sprinkled throughout.


Does your family love to read?

Reading aloud with your children for 15 minutes a day can have significant impact on your:

  • family bond
  • child’s love for learning
  • child’s emotional and academic success
  • and MORE!

Join our fall reading challenge by clicking on the image!

Fall in Love with Reading Challenge from Rolling Prairie Readers | free reading log printable