Looking for books for 3-year-olds to help with language development and reading readiness? You’ve come to the right place! This post is the next in our series that addresses reading readiness skills by age group.
I am a trained, licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with teaching certification who has been working with children for 15 of my 20 years in the field. Because of this experience, I am in a unique position to offer advice about the importance of reading.
The reading readiness skills I’m going to talk about combine two of the things I love the most: Books and language.
When your child turns three, you will notice that their vocabulary will begin to increase exponentially. They will be using 4-5 word (if not longer) sentences that will be more grammatically correct as they begin to use plurals.
So, how do you get them on the path to learning as you lay the foundations that they need for preschool?
Sequencing Books for 3-year-olds
Throughout this next year, your three-year-old will begin to follow 2-3 step directions and begin to use adjectives like big, slow, wet, or color. This is also the age when your child will start to understand numbers.
They will also start to understand how to sequence. The idea of “first” is such an important one! We have a list of a few sequencing books to get you started.
If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. And so the story continue in a big circle until the mouse is thirsty again. The adorable pictures and silly consequences will help your little one understand sequencing.
This is a hilarious and completely ridiculous story about an old lady who eats whole animals. Crazy? Absolutely but, because it is so ridiculous, the story is so much fun to read and is a perfect sequencing book. This Caldecott Honor book has amazing, die-cut illustrations that make this book interactive as well.
There are so many things about this classic book that I love. Not only can you talk about days of the week, food, and counting, you can follow the caterpillar on his journey to becoming a butterfly.
The adorable photographs in this book are captivating. As you follow squirrel through his day, your little one can practice sequencing too. What is the first thing Squirrel does? This book is the perfect sequencing book for a three-year-old.
Wordless Picture Books for Toddlers
As much as they are talking, their understanding of words is much higher than their ability to use words. This can translate to crying or frustration when they do not have the words to express their thoughts.
I love the idea of providing children with wordless picture books. You can tell your child the story and have them retell the story. You can show your child the pictures and have them tell you the story.
If you are looking for more wordless picture books, click here.
I read this book with my kids over and over and never failed to make them laugh. The wonderful thing about this book is the hilarious gorilla and the antics he gets up to when he is supposed to be going to sleep in the zoo.
My kids loved to “read” the book to me and each time was a little bit different. They can point out the colors of the keys that open the cages and practice animal names.
This wordless picture book is a classic that has me laughing every time I read it. After all, frogs don’t belong in restaurants.
I absolutely love the look on the boy and frog’s faces when they are caught. Work on looking at people’s faces and try to have your child name the emotions.
David Wiesner has so many wonderful wordless picture books it was hard to choose just one. In this book, frogs take flight with their lily pads on Tuesday night at 8:00.
The details in the picture are extraordinary and make reading this one over and over a new experience every time. Let your child name the silly places the frogs end up.
Beginning Pictures Books for 3-year-olds
Your three-year-old will now understand more complex questions such as where, who, and do you. They will begin to ask who? and what? and WARNING- they will begin to ask why?
This is the perfect time to introduce picture books that have more complex plots. When your child asks you a question, you can ask it the question back to them and see if they can answer. They will begin to appreciate silliness and humor within stories as well.
This book was a favorite picture book in our house and we still have it sitting within reach to read. Big Smelly Bear is itchy and refuses to take a bath.
He needs some help and makes a friend as well. This book is a must for a three-year-old bookshelf, especially reluctant bathers.
Bruce is looking for a meal. What he finds instead are three goslings who think Bruce is their mother. Bruce will do anything to be rid of the geese- or will he?
This book is one your three-year-old will want to be read on repeat. You can explore emotions in this book and what it takes to be a good parent.
Poor peanut butter is looking for someone to play with. Does peanut butter go with cupcakes?
Not only is this beginning picture book silly, but it also allows your three-year-old to learn about making friends! It’s a great rhyming book too.
Imagination Books to Inspire Creativity
As vocabulary grows, so does the imagination. Now is the perfect time to introduce books that will spark your child’s imagination.
If you want a more comprehensive list, be sure to check out our post on imagination books.
The bunny in this book can find amazing things to do with a box. When you read this book with your child, not only will inspire creativity but you will allow them to think “outside the box” literally and figuratively.
After you finish reading it, try setting up a creation station with boxes, paper towel rolls, scraps of paper, tin-foil, googly eyes and more.
There is no better book to spark creativity than this book in which a painter is searching for inspiration. He learns that it is all about perspective, which is a lesson for everyone.
Grab the paints and paintbrushes and let your little Monet paint a picture of their own after reading.
When it comes to books for 3-year-olds, this is a must.
This book will spark your child’s imagination as Jack imagines what his dad’s car could do if it were not so boring and bland. Ask your child what their dream car looks like.
A good imagination book inspires creativity, but also teaches a lesson. The lesson in this book? It’s OK to make mistakes.
Beautiful Oops is a 3-D book that shows a mistake, and then how the artist turns it into a masterpiece.
It’s a great book to reference when talking to your children about mistakes and how to fix them.