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Reading Recommendations for Early Readers (4-8 year olds)

September 13, 2009
Reading recommendations for 4-8 year olds

Reading recommendations for 4-8 year olds

Years 4 to 8 are crucial to nurture a lifelong love of reading in children. Not only do they learn the craft of reading and graduate to becoming independent readers during this time, but children this age also mature from image-heavy picture and board books, to chapter books that carry a textual narrative across multiple chapters.

Children learn reading from being read to. Some of the most engaging books that capture the imagination are children’s books that many of us enjoy even as adults! So read, read, read – to and with your kids! Make sure there’s plenty of fun and interesting reading material around the house – buy or borrow; and don’t pass up an opportunity to place a good book in your little reader’s hands!

Here are a few more tips to get your kids to enjoy reading –

  • Set aside a special time each day to read together.
  • Read books you like. Your enjoyment will be infectious.
  • Early readers often develop a fondness for certain characters and books, and have favorites they love to read or be read to, over and over again. Encourage this.
  • Capitalize on your child’s interests. If they ask you a question, go together to a book to look for the answer—even if you know the answer already.
  • Stop occasionally and point out an interesting word with your finger.
  • Don’t throw out the picture books and early reader books once your kids have progressed to more advanced reading. Kids love returning to their old favorites every now and then.
  • Have your kids listen to audio books – on tape/CD every now and then.
  • Make reading a bedtime ritual.
  • Be a reader yourself. Pass along your appreciation for books and reading to the little ones around you.

To help you pick great children’s books for the 4-8 year age group, we’ve put together this awesome catalog of award-winning books from the US, UK, Canada, & Australia (look out for the winners in the early reader and picture book categories) and also browse through SmartBean’s picks for 4-8 year olds in our bookstore. Additionally, the lists below are an exhaustive compilation of popular classics, well-loved and well-regarded authors, and book series that have delighted early readers for decades. Also included are fascinating titles that do a great job of providing a kid-friendly window into other cultures. Many of these titles and authors have won awards and accolades. We’d welcome suggestions for additions to this list of recommended classics, book series, authors and multicultural books for 4-8 year olds

Popular Classic and Multicultural Titles


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Caps for Sale
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Green Eggs & Ham
Harold and the Purple Crayon
If you give a Mouse a Cookie
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Little Bunny Follows His Nose
Make Way For Ducklings
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
My Father’s Dragon
Stranger in the Woods
The Cat in the Hat
The Enormous Crocodile
The Giving Tree
The Little Engine That Could
The Little House
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Where The Wild Things Are


Amazing Grace (African American)
Anansi the Spider (& other stories by Gerald McDermott) (Africa & other regions)
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (Africa)
Babushka’s Doll (Russian)
Beatrice’s Goat (Central Africa)
Bringing Rain to Kapiti Plain (Africa)
Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (China)
Chang’s Paper Pony (Chinese American)
Hill of Fire (Mexico)
Honey… Honey… Lion! (Africa)
Listen to the Wind (Pakistan/Afghanistan)
Molly’s Pilgrim (Russian Jewish)
One Grain Of Rice & other books by Demi (India & other regions)
One Green Apple (Middle East)
Rikki Tikki Tavi (India)
Ruby’s Wish (China)
So Far from the Sea (Japanese American)
Stories by Grace Lin (China & Chinese American)
Tikki Tikki Tembo (China)

Popular Classic and Contemporary Authors & Series


Arnold Lobel
Barbara Cooney
Beatrix Potter
Beverly Cleary
Cynthia Rylant
David M Schwartz
David Shannon
David Wiesner
Dr. Seuss
Enid Blyton
Eric Carle
Eve Bunting
Ezra Jack Keats
Helen Lester
Jane Yolen
Jerry Pinkney
Jerry Smath
Joanna Cole
Jon Scieszka
Laura Joffe Numeroff
Marjorie Flack
Maurice Sendak
Munro Leaf
P. D. Eastman
Patricia MacLachlan
Robin Page
Sandra Boynton
Simms Taback
Steve Jenkins
Tomie DePaola
Uri Shulevitz


A to Z Mysteries
Amanda Pig
Amelia Bedelia
(Bedtime for) Frances
Berenstain Bears
Bugville Critters: Buster Bee’s Adventures
Cam Jansen
Curious George
Encyclopedia Brown
Fancy Nancy
Harold & the Purple Crayon
Henry and Mudge
Jigsaw Jones
Little Bear
Little Critter
Magic School Bus
Magic Tree House
Mr Putter & Tabby
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
Nate the Great
Secret Seven
Thomas the Tank Engine
Winnie the Pooh


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