The list author says: "Selecting great books is a key part of creating a *prepared environment* at home that fosters a love of reading! At LePort Schools (www.leportschools.com), we like to help our parents get started: this list contains some favorites I've loved to read over and over again with my two children--books for the younger students, which will help them get addicted to reading with you, and which will certainly give them a great start on literacy."
"One of our all time favorites! In well-written, short sentences, this book captures the values of family, of being out in the world together, and of welcoming a new sibling. The illustrations are so beautiful, I've been tempted to cut them out of the book and frame them! Fiction | Family life and values | America in the early 1900's"
"A must-read book before a trip to the sea! A young girl visits the ocean, and explores it with her five senses. The language is simple, yet beautiful and poetic, and the artwork is delightful. Non-fiction | Ocean setting | Anatomy/human senses"
"We are adding these books to many of our Montessori classrooms: in simple sentences, and with beautiful, realistic illustrations, these books introduce different classes of animals, describe their key characteristics, and introduce a number of species in that class. A great introduction to zoology for toddlers and younger preschoolers! Non-fiction | Zoology"
"How to introduce the instruments of a classical orchestra to young children? This book does this challenging task very well: whimsical but realistic illustrations combine with rhymes that flow from the tongue to teach children the names of instruments. Non-fiction | Music"
"Here is a great story of shared values between a mother and her daughter. Throughout the seasons, this mother takes her daughter outside, making up dances to suit the mood of the day. Her love of dance is contagious; her passion shapes her daughter's life and becomes her legacy. A must-read! Fiction | Dance | Careers"
"A young girl loves winter. She builds and rebuilds a snowman, again and again, until the spring sun finally melts him. Reluctant to say good-bye, she thinks up an ingenious way to keep him "alive" to the next winter. A great story about not giving up, and using your mind to solve problems! Fiction | Winter time"
"The "My First Little House" series of picture books is a great introduction to the classical series of chapter books. While the language is shortened and simplified, it is supported by great illustrations, which bring the life of the Wilder family to life. Historical fiction | Mid-1800's in the Mid-West"
"Jack Prelutsky's silly poems are a great first introduction to poetry for toddlers. The rhymes are simple, about everyday things and faraway places, and so catchy that our children memorized many of them. Poetry"
"Another great collection of poetry! This one takes classical poems, and converts them into silly, fun, goofy rhymes about messy rooms, strange food preferences and the inevitable sunburn after not wearing a hat. Poetry"
"A wonderful, rhyming story about bats who head out at night to celebrate at the beach. It contains anthropomorphized, talking animals, but it's just too good not to add to this list! Rhyming fiction/fantasy | Beach setting"
"A night watchman in a rail yard long during the time of the huge steam engines imagines the engines talk to him. He sings them lullabies--which not only help the engines fall asleep, but become a lifeline to the harried parents in the town. Fiction/fantasy | Early 1900's"
"How do animals live in the desert? This book makes them come to live with fold-up, pop-art features. Pull a tab, and a scorpion strikes, or a bird flies across the page. Great book to talk about with younger children (just make sure they handle it gently!) and still interesting for 5- or 6-year olds. Non-fiction | Desert habitats"
"Aimed at older preschoolers, Jerry Pallotta's books are also wonderful for toddlers. Don't read all the text, just look at the beautiful illustrations of the creatures, and talk about them with your young child. You'll be amazed how much he'll love to look at these pictures over and over again - and how much he'll learn! Non-fiction | The ocean | Alphabet books"
"A board-book treasury of simple poetry! When our children were toddlers, this was one of the most often requested book. The quality of the poems selected, along with the very cute illustrations, made this fun for the adults to read, too. Poetry"
"What if you are a frog, and you want to jog? A great way for a child to discover the values of differences, told in jaunty rhyme: "Oh Ruby, now I see | that everyone has special things to do and say and be | We all can hop or jog or fly or crawl or leap or run | and get to where we want- there's room for every one!" Rhyming fiction/fantasy"
"A very simple, rhyming story about the joys of letting your toddler explore the kitchen. One of the first books our children demanded to read over and over again. We gladly complies with this one! Fiction | Kitchen"
"A classic story collection. Our favorite is the story of Mike and his steam engine, who with persistence manage to find a useful place, even after diesel engines take over the world. Fiction | America in the early 1900's"
"A great introduction to life long ago: simple sentences and realistic illustrations make life of yesteryear in the Appalachian mountains real for younger preschoolers. Historical fiction | Rural mountains | Late 1800's"
"The entier "Read and Wonder" series is a great introduction to animals. Each book tells the story of one animal, not just as dry descriptions, but in a way that brings the animal's experiences to life. Choose your favorite animals, and buy a few of these! Non-fiction | Zoology"
"A great story for cat-lovers--and especially for those little people who have a voracious appetite! Sid, the cat, manages to have six owners, who feed him six meals. But what happens when he gets sick, and all six of his owners take him to the same vet? Fiction | Cats"
"It's hard to find truck books that are fun to read, and not just dry lists of facts. This one literally brings the diggers, dump trucks and cranes to life, all in fun-to-read rhymes, with adorable illustrations. Fiction | Construction equipment"
"Madeline, a young girl who attends boarding school in Paris, is always up to some adventure. A silly, rhyming book that will delight children! The first in a series of books - all worth reading. Fiction | Paris | Mid 1900's"