Great Read Alouds: Just the right number of words

mother and 4 year old girl is sitting on her mother's lap. They are sitting on the floorChildren learn to read in the laps of their parents and picture books are the vehicle for preparing children to love reading. The illustrations and text work together to tell the story, which is read by an adult. Hearing the story and seeing the illustrations help the child develop a sense of storytelling, plot and language recognition. The pictures help with the story comprehension and understanding that words have meaning. 

Almost all picture books have 32 pages and a word count of 500-1000. When I read to preschoolers, I stay with a word count of 500-700. As a parent, think about those books you have read at night. How often have you said “Not that one. It’s too long.”? The story needs to be enjoyable for the child and have enough appeal for the adult to make them willing to read it again and again! Read on for a few of my recent favorite  picture books that are just the right number of words.

The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder  

I have always been fond of turtles. When I saw this book cover I knew I would love the story. His adorable pick cheeks made me smile, and crab and raccoon make great friends. Terrance, the turtle, learns through trial and error that there is nothing wrong with being different and just to be himself.  

Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings 

Awww! This one is sweet and charming with great illustrations. Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a soggy box wants to find a home on Butternut Street. He sends letters to prospective owners with his qualifications. He is house broken, has his own squeaky bone and can learn to live with cats. You will never guess who says yes.  

Tiptoe Tiger by Jane Clarke 

Tara the tiger cub is wide awake and wants to play. Can she learn to quietly tiptoe or keep bouncing and pouncing through the jungle? There are some built in conversational bits as part of the story. Your child can remind Tara to tiptoe. 

View complete list

I work in the Kids Library and I love picture books. I'm always looking through the newest books. Ask me for a recommendation! You can find me making book bundles for preschoolers, at storytime or in Building Readers: Wonderful 1s.