Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Dive into the world of early reading with our list of the 10 Most Loved “Read to Me” Books for Emergent Readers. Handpicked by the real experts – kids and families from our Kids Read Now program – these books are more than just stories; they’re the sparks that ignite a lifelong passion for reading. Get ready to be inspired by these captivating favorites that have won the hearts of young readers across districts!
Bonus Below: For each of the books for emergent readers, you get a link to our Discovery Questions, tailored for that title and based in the Science of Reading.
Ready? Let’s dive in to our most-loved “Read to Me” books!
1. Tiny Goes Camping
By: Cari Meister | Illustrated by: Rich Davis | Fiction | 32 pages
Tiny and his friend go camping! They have fun, and then it is time to go to bed. But there is a big problem!
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Tiny Goes Camping.
Tiny Goes Camping is loved for the relatable characters, simple language, captivating illustrations, and exciting outdoor theme. Tiny and Eliot’s friendship appeals to young readers, while the accessible text helps them practice their early reading skills. The story sparks children’s curiosity about nature and camping, encouraging them to explore the outdoors. Overall, Tiny Goes Camping combines relatability, accessibility, and an engaging theme to create one of the most beloved books for emergent readers.
2. Tiger is a Scaredy Cat
By: Joan Phillips | Illustrated by: Norma Gobaty | Fiction | 32 pages
Many things scare Tiger, such as trucks and vacuum cleaners. Will he ever be brave?
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Tiger is a Scaredy Cat.
Kids love the book Tiger is a Scaredy Cat because Tiger faces and overcomes fears. The vibrant illustrations engage our young readers and enhance the storytelling experience. The playful and humorous text keeps them entertained while teaching them about courage. Overall, Tiger is a Scaredy Cat combines relatable characters, captivating illustrations, and an important theme of overcoming fears, making it a favorite among kids.
3. May I Please Have a Cookie?
By: Jennifer E. Morris | Fiction | 32 pages
Alfie loves cookies. He loves looking at them, smelling them, and especially eating them! But getting them can be tricky.
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for May I Please Have a Cookie?
Jennifer Morris’ book, May I Please Have A Cookie? makes this list for several reasons. Firstly, kids adore Alfie, an adorable alligator who politely asks his mom for a cookie. Next, kids can relate to Alfie’s desire for a treat and learn about the importance of good manners. Finally, simple and repetitive phrases allow children to actively participate in the story, boosting their reading confidence. Overall, May I Please Have A Cookie? combines relatable characters, valuable lessons about politeness, and captivating illustrations, making it a beloved choice for kids.
Get The Independent Reading Program That Boosts Reading Proficiency
👉 Kids Read Now’s independent reading program gets kids reading outside of school time. In fact, independent university research states Kids Read Now is proven to work, and their research study covered the most difficult time to get kids to read – summertime! Now, you can accelerate your students’ reading practice and progress year-round!
4. Big Dog and Little Dog Making a Mistake / Perrazo Y Perrito Se Equivocan
By: Dav Pilkey | Fiction | 32 pages
Big Dog and Little Dog love chasing kitties! At least that is what they thought it was!
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Big Dog and Little Dog Making a Mistake / Perrazo Y Perrito Se Equivocan
Children are captivated by Dav Pilkey’s Big Dog and Little Dog Making a Mistake / Perrazo Y Perrito Se Equivocan chiefly because of the humor. Though Big Dog and Little Dog make a mistake, they gain valuable insights from it. The straightforward language and vibrant illustrations are delightful. Additionally, children see examples of important lessons about friendship and forgiveness.
5. Tooth Fairy’s Night
By: Candace Ransom | Fiction | 32 pages
Has the tooth fairy visited you yet? Find out what her nights are like!
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Tooth Fairy’s Night
Kids love Tooth Fairy’s Night because it offers a magical glimpse into the Tooth Fairy’s world, sparking their imagination. The story, with its charming illustrations and gentle rhymes, proves a comforting bedtime read. It not only addresses curiosity about what the Tooth Fairy does with the teeth, but also encourages good dental hygiene in a fun way. This enchanting tale blends fantasy with a subtle educational message. Undoubtedly, it’s one of our families’ favorite books for emergent readers.
6. Duck & Cat’s Rainy Day
By: Carin Bramsen | Fiction | 32 pages
It’s raining. Duck likes getting wet, but Cat does not. What will they do?
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Duck & Cat’s Rainy Day
With its playful portrayal of friendship, Duck & Cat’s Rainy Day is top-notch among books for emergent readers. A simple narrative showcases how the two characters find joy and adventure on a rainy day. The book encourages a positive and creative outlook on life’s small moments through the lens of spending time with friends, regardless of the circumstances.
7. Big Shark, Little Shark
By: Anna Membrino | Fiction | 32 pages
Scared of sharks? In this case, there’s no need to be afraid of these two! They’ll soon have you laughing, smiling, and splashing about!
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Big Shark, Little Shark
Big Shark, Little Shark is perfect for emergent readers, with its simple, repetitive text and bold, colorful illustrations. The story teaches basic concepts such as size and difference, contrasting the two shark characters in a way that’s easy to follow. The humorous and predictable storyline, along with the lively illustrations, keep children entertained and encourage them to read along. Consequently, it’s a clear choice for kids just starting to explore the world of books.
8. Pete the Cat: Pete At the Beach
By: James Dean and Kimberly Dean | Fiction | 32 pages
Pete and his family go to the beach, but Pete is afraid of the water. Will Pete have a good time anyway?
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Pete the Cat: Pete At the Beach
Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach is a hit with kids because Pete is a cool, laid-back cat, who brings a sense of adventure to familiar settings. The story’s simple narrative, plus its whimsical illustrations, capture the essence of a joyful beach outing. Most important, it subtly teaches children to try new things and overcome fears. The rhythmic phrasing makes it easy for early readers to follow along. As books for emergent readers go, the Pete the Cat series is undeniably a classic!
9 Tiny Goes to the Library
By: Cari Meister | Illustrated by: Rich Davis | Fiction | 32 pages
Tiny and his best friend go everywhere and do everything together. This time, they are going to the library. But Tiny is not allowed inside. Oh no!
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Tiny Goes to the Library
Kids love this engaging story about Tiny, a dog who embarks on an adventure to the library. Tiny is eager to explore this new place, however he encounters a new problem. Tiny Goes to the Library combines colorful illustrations by Rich Davis, relatable characters, and a storyline that sparks curiosity. It introduces kids to the wonder of books and libraries, and, significantly, the joy of reading in a fun and accessible way.
10. Gomer the Gassy Goat
By: Hayley Rose | Illustrated by: Bright Jungle Studios | Fiction | 32 pages
Gomer has a problem. He toots a lot! He feels silly about it, but he has friends who don’t mind. In any case, it makes them laugh!
👉 Get our Science of Reading Discovery Questions for Gomer the Gassy Goat
Children are drawn to Gomer the Gassy Goat for its humorous approach to a universal topic. Gomer, with his funny problem of being gassy, gets kids giggling with amusing scenarios and playful language. The story’s lighthearted take on bodily functions makes it highly engaging. This book not only entertains, it shows children examples of acceptance and embracing individual quirks, making it a favorite for its humor and heartwarming message.
Next Chapters Await: More Exciting “Read to Me” Books for Emergent Readers
As we close this chapter on our families’ top 10 books to read together, remember that the journey of literacy continues to unfold. Stay tuned for our upcoming series of book lists. Specifically, we’ll explore the must-reads for grades 1 through 5. Each list will be tailored based on the ratings of actual Kids Read Now students and families, as shown above. We are committed to nurturing a love of reading that continues to grow and flourish through the elementary years. Keep an eye on our blog, Latest in Literacy, for these exciting updates. Together, let’s keep turning the pages to discover new learning through imagination.
Frequently Asked Questions About Books for Emergent Readers
Answer: The books featured in this list were compiled based on the review ratings and feedback from kids and families participating in the Kids Read Now program. These titles have been consistently favored for their engaging content, relatable themes, and ability to motivate young readers as they share them with their families.
Answer: Yes, most of these books are widely available at libraries and bookstores. You can also find them through various online retailers. We encourage checking with your local library for availability, as they often have a great selection of children’s books.
Answer: Absolutely! For each book on the list, we provide Science of Reading-based Discovery Questions. These resources are designed to enhance the reading experience and support literacy development. As a result, they’re perfect for classroom activities and discussions. Some of the book titles also have additional resources we call Discover More, like videos, games, and other books, all related to the topic.
Answer: Early literacy lays the foundation for future learning and academic success. In detail, it helps develop language skills, cognitive abilities, and fosters a lifelong love of reading. Books for emergent readers are specifically designed to engage young minds, making learning to read an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Answer: Yes, we plan to release more curated book lists for grades 1 through 5. These lists will be based on the ratings and preferences of students and families, ensuring that the selections continue to resonate with young readers as they progress through their elementary years. Stay tuned to our blog for this purpose!
Answer: Kids Read Now is a non-profit organization that helps schools overcome and reverse learning loss with their in-home, independent reading program for K-5 students. Their summer reading program is proven to eradicate the summer slide. We focus on helping schools maintain and improve their students’ reading skills during out-of-school time by mailing books to students’ doorsteps every 7 to 10 days and enlisting the assistance of families and caregivers to encourage reading time and actively participating with engaging follow-up Discovery Questions.
Here’s what you can expect from Kids Read Now:
Book Distribution: Your students receive books to keep and read over and over the time frame of your choosing. Our summer program is where it all started and remains a top choice by school district partners. Book selections include a diverse range of titles to cater to your students’ different interests and reading levels.
Family Engagement: The program involves your parents and guardians by providing them with tools and resources to support their child’s reading. This includes reading guides, tips for encouraging reading at home, and ways to engage with the books.
Tracking and Reporting: Kids Read Now tracks which books your students have read. Simultaneously, they provide feedback and reports on progress.
Accessibility and Inclusivity: The program aims to be accessible to all children, especially those in underserved communities or schools with limited resources.
Educational Focus: Kids Read Now’s approach is informed by educational research, including the Science of Reading. Correspondingly, Kids Read Now focuses on methods and practices that effectively promote reading and literacy.