Friday, March 12, 2010

Recommended Books for K-3

Many of the books that I have listed are classics and books that I also enjoyed as a child.  The first time I realized that I could read a book in one sitting by myself was in first grade.  I am not talking about a picture book but an actual book with over twenty-five pages. 

In first grade, our teacher had encouraged us to read a set number of books in a set amount of time.  We got a star for every book we finished.  Me and another little girl were almost done reaching our goal.  My last book was a Dick and Jane book. Remember them?  "See Spot.  See Spot run." Do they still read Dick and Jane books in elementary school? 

I raced home and curled up on the couch and read and read and read.  I remember that the sun was out and I could hear my mother making meal preparations for our dinner.  The afghan beneath me that had been crocheted by my grandmother was scratchy against my legs and arms.  I burrowed into the couch trying to block everything out so that I could concentrate on reading.   I finished the book that night, without any help.

I was exhilarated. I was going to get my last star.  I was going to be the first one in my class to finish all of her books. Even then I was competitive.

When I went into school the next morning, I took my book and went to my teachers desk. I told her I was finished.  She didn't believe me.  She sent the book home with me again and the request that my mom sign off when I finished the book.  I was crestfallen.  That other little girl, finished reading her books that day.  I came in second.  I would like to say that it was enough to know that I had finished first, but what can I say, I was six years old.

I ran into my former first grade teacher, who saw my mother periodically.  I was in college and shopping with my mother. I had an armful of undergarments and was standing in line waiting to check out.  Yes, I still felt a twinge at the slight she had inflicted on my six year old self but nary a word came out of my mouth about the incident.  In all honesty, I still think of her fondly.  She was one of my favorite and most memorable elementary school teachers from my youth.  I have lots of wonderful memories of her classroom.

Books for 4-8 Year Olds

Alexander and the Terible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
Arthur series by Marc Brown
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg
Green Eggs and Ham and any other book by Dr. Seuss
Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
Tawny, Scrawny Lion by Kathryn Jackson
The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer
Tess's Tree by Jess M. Brailler
Eloise series by Kay Thompson
Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
The Berenstain Bears series by Stan and Jan Berenstain
A Treasury of Dick and Jane and Friends by  William S. Gray
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans
Junie B. Jones  series by Barbara Park
What Do People Do All Day and Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Click here, to read the recommended books for preschoolers.

I am working on compiling the lists for older children.  Stay tuned!


Lourie said...

I love the Poky Little Puppy!! We have that one. A lot of these, we have or have borrowed.

blueviolet said...

There is only one book on your list I hadn't heard of. You picked great ones!

Anonymous said...

How many of us carry an imprint from a teacher long ago that she probably has no awareness of?

I adore your list...actually I think we have most of the books! Lil Bits is 4 and loving Eloise and Seuss. Mercer Mayer was definitely one of my favorites (and still is)...and too good to miss. Great great list! Reading's important in our house, too.

erica said...

Stopping from SITS to give you an official- Welcome!

Love this post because I am always wondering what are appropriate books for each age...

Thanks for sharing!

CoconutPalmDesigns said...

It's funny how things from early school days stay with us into adulthood. I remember the principal of my school ragging on my drawing when I was in the first grade. You're better than me though, if I ran into her now I'd give her a piece of my mind.

Stopping by from SITS. Welcome!

Cheers :-)
- CoconutPalmDesigns

Aging Mommy said...

Hi - thanks for the sweet comment on my latest blog post. I try not to think about my daughter being a teenager ten years from now, I just can't begin to imagine that yet!

Great list of books here - recently Parenting magazine had an excellent article about reading skills and recommended the National Education Association (NAE) list of teachers' top 100 books which you can find at It is well worth checking out (my only gripe is they do not state on it the recommended reading age for each book).

TMB said...

My baby is too small for these still but thank you anyways I can always stock up! hehe

Ms Bibi said...

Great list. I 7 year old owns lots of these.

J. L. W. said...

Aging Mommy-The NEA's list is a great list that has some of my favorite classics!

Coconut Palm Designs-Isn't is funny the things we remember as children, especially the slights?

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