As children learn to speak and read, we want to make sure we are showing them the right literature. This is to ensure their development is as expected, and to help them improve their reading skills. For this reason, we need to choose carefully. There is a wide selection of appropriate books. The following list is what we believe you may find useful. The list is ordered from books for younger children to books for older children with a bit more advanced vocabulary.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This simple story of a starving bug is an excellent choice for beginners, as it presents numbers, days of the week and foods. The story also comes with a valuable lesson, as we learn in the end. The titular caterpillar is born, and starts looking for food. At first, it eats healthy foods, but soon it gets worse, and the caterpillar eats everything it wants to until its stomach hurts. It can only turn into a butterfly once it goes back to eating healthy food. This is the lesson our kids need to learn.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
This entertaining poem tells the story of a cat named Sam that really likes green eggs and ham. Well, that was kind of to be expected. What’s more exciting is the fact he tries to convince his friend to try them as well. Let your child see for themselves what happens next. It is a poem with a lot of repetition, helpful in both exercising and memorising simple English words.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
This is one of the most popular books by this author. Its excellent use of words in a manner which makes it easy for children to understand is one of the reasons behind its success. The story is, similar to the above, simple, yet concealing some mystery. It tells the story of two children staying alone at home, and a cat in a hat comes round. What happens after that is quite entertaining.
The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Peter Rabbit is a young, mischievous rabbit who tends to disobey his parents’ instructions. This book offers the possibility of teaching a lot of words that are useful in everyday situations. There are also life lessons included, as the youngling is punished or admonished for his actions, and learns to deal with consequences. This book’s timeless message is appropriate for all kids, as we all know they love to get into mischief every now and then.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
This is a story about being different and not fitting in with a crowd. The protagonist is a bull who prefers to smell flowers than to pick fights with other bulls. It is a perfect way to learn words connected to emotions. It may also help children learn how to express emotions related to group interactions.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This children’s book tells the story of a boy who finds his way into a magical forest. This ends up with him embarking on a great adventure before eventually going home. As his escapade follows a punishment of his own misbehaviour, this could be a starting point for a discussion on offences and punishments as well as adult-child interactions.
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
This classic by Mark Twain takes advantage of the fantastic concept of switching social classes. This leads to many surprising situations which can form the basis of a number of discussions on interesting topics. As the story goes on, we can engage with the child in a “what if” conversation, exploring possible scenarios and outcomes.
The Arabian Nights / One Thousand and One Nights, folk tales
Ah, the famed Aladdin! And Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves! Sinbad the Sailor! The Thief of Alexandria! This collection of classic stories is a very popular one. Actually, some of them were not in the original set of folk tales from Middle Eastern authors. Instead, they were added later to the Western European editions. Written with the embedded narrative technique, this collection is meant for older children, as they deal with somewhat more adult topics such as death, violence, magic or mysterious villains. However, its language and composition may be of great use in learning English.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This classic by Charles Dickens, who also wrote David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, introduces themes of repentance and redemption. A frugal businessman in Victorian London by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge is really mean to everyone and only offers little money to his employee. On Christmas Eve, he is haunted by supernatural beings which is a turning point of the story.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll wrote this timeless classic in such a convoluted manner that it is equally an excellent piece of literature for both children and adults. This book is a showcase of intertextuality, but is an interesting choice for kids aged 10 or over. It may help if you read for or with them, as there are some places which may need explanation. Nevertheless, this novel is a fantastic adventure.
Books for children in English are a great way to learn English and improve language skills. If you want your kid to speak better English, schedule a free trial lesson now.