15 Books Important for Phonological Awareness and Pre-Reading Skills

What is Phonological Awareness
15 Books Important for Phonological Awareness and Pre-Reading Skills 22

Looking to teach your child phonological awareness and pre-reading skills? 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 to and with your child.

The reading readiness skills I’m going to talk about combine two of the things I love the most: Books and language. This post will have a number of phonological awareness books that are subdivided into different pre-reading skills.

It may seem like a lot but, please email me if you have any questions at all. I am happy to help you develop your child’s phonological awareness skills though books!

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Phonological Awareness and Pre-reading Skills

What Are Pre-reading Skills?

Pre-reading skills are the skills needed before a child can learn to read these include:
1. Oral language skills (spoken language skills)
2. Comprehension skills (understanding language)
3. Letter knowledge
4. Sound knowledge (Phonological awareness)

Pre-reading skills
Pre-reading Skills

What is Phonological Awareness?

Phonological Awareness is the foundation of reading. It is the ability to recognize sounds and manipulate them. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I spent a lot of time learning about language development and reading readiness skills.

What are Some Phonological Awareness skills?

1. Alliteration
2. Rhyming
3. Learning Syllables
4. Sound Manipulation

Books to Develop Phonological Awareness Skills

Phonological Awareness: Alliteration Books

Everyone thinks that the most important thing for reading is learning your ABCs but, you cannot ONLY teach your child to recognize their letters. Children need to understand that letters make sounds, and words are made up of those sounds.

The first skill in reading readiness is identifying the sounds letters make as well as identifying the beginning, middle, and ending sounds of words.

Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of the word and is a wonderful way to help develop an awareness of sounds.

some mug slug

Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards

This is the perfect book to practice alliteration. Not only can you identify the beginning sounds but, you can make up your own alliteration as well. Practice choosing a letter and seeing how long of a sentence you can make with that sound.

Many Marvelous Monster and other Aliteration books for phonological awareness

Many Marvelous Monsters by Ed Heck

So many monsters with so many opportunities to identify the beginning sounds and make up your own. Purple Pete and Squishy Slug are hilarious and the perfect beginning alliteration book.

Fox in Sox and other books that address What Phonological awareness is and why it's important.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

If this book does not tie your tongue in knots, that is beyond impressive but, this book is more than just a hilarious glimpse into the life of tweedle beetles. Each short section in this book is a perfect chance to talk about all the sounds- beginning, middle, and end.

You can ask questions like “What sound is different in the words puddle and paddle?” It is a great way to examine words more in-depth and can be used as a tool for teaching phoneme manipulation in books as well.

Alliteration books

12 Amazing Alliteration Books for Little Learners

If you are looking for more alliteration books to increase phonological awareness skills, this is the perfect list.

Rhyming Books

Children also need to be able to understand the concept of rhyming when developing their phonological awareness. Rhyming is when the ending of the word stays the same and the beginning sound changes.

This concept can be a difficult one to learn at first. Children often have more trouble with the ends of words. These rhyming books will help your child become familiar with rhyming which is an essential pre-reading skill.

Rhyming dust bunnies

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

These dust bunnies love to rhyme and are quite excellent at it- except for Bob. He cannot quite seems to get it right. Your child will love to giggle as Bob tries to rhyme. It will also give them a chance to recognize the odd bunny out. sheep

Sheep in a Jeep and other rhyming books

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw

These sheep are out on an adventure. This read-aloud book with hilarious sheep is perfect for picking out words that rhyme.

Don't be silly and other rhyming books

Don’t Be Silly Mrs. Millie by Judy Cox

Mrs. Millie keeps making mistakes like telling her students to wear their bats and kittens. Not only is this book perfect for identifying rhyming words, but it also incorporates another wordplay that will help in the development of reading skills.

Room on the broom and other books that help with phonological awareness and rhyming

Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson

Will there be room on the broom for the whole gang? This rhyming book is a story about friendship and inclusivity that is sweet and funny to read aloud to the family.

Giraffe and a half and other books that help with phonological awareness and rhyming

Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein

Leave it to Shel Silverstein to take rhyming to the next level with this book. The repetition and rhyming is a tongue twister- rhyme extraordinaire! Even 50 years after publication, it is still relevant. Try making up your own rhymes to add to this story of a giraffe and a half

We have 31 Amazing rhyming books for your emerging reader

31 Great Rhyming Books For Your Emerging Reader

If you are looking for more phonological awareness books, these books with rhyme are not only educational but fun as well.

Teaching Syllables with Books

Learning to differentiate syllables in words is an important pre-reading skill. Clapping out syllables is such a fun activity and another way to teach syllables. These books help establish an understanding of syllables in unique and interactive ways.

Tanka Tanka and other books that help with phonological awareness and teaching syllables

Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb

This book is the perfect introduction to syllables and the animals use drums to count the beats in their names. Grab a drum, a shaker, or just use your hands to clap along with elephant and skunk.

The Word Collector and other books that help with phonological awareness and teaching syllables

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Harold loves to collect words and lucky for us, he collects them by syllable. He has one syllable, two-syllable, and even multi-syllable words. Teaching syllables with books is so much easier with a wonderful book like this. When you are done clapping out the words, try talking about the meanings of the words Harold collects as well.

Phoneme Manipulation in Books

What is a phoneme? A phoneme is a unit of sound. Manipulation of sounds in words while still understanding the meaning is one of the hardest phonological awareness skills to master.

For example, C-A-T are three separate sounds that come together to make the word cat. When kids get the hang of this pre-reading skill, their ability to sound out words independently is the next step.

Runny Babbit and other books with phoneme manipulation and phonological awareness

Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is a master or words and so it is no surprise that he has appeared in this list twice. Runny Babbit is a perfect example of phoneme manipulation. Throughout the story, letters are transposed but somehow, the story still shines through. Take your time to read this book to your child. Can you read it without messing up?

The Hungry Thing and other books with phoneme manipulation and phonological awareness

The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian and Ann Seidler

The monster wants shmancakes and none of the grown-ups can figure out what he wants. In addition to the rhyming in this book, the hungry monster cannot seem to get his sounds straight. Your child will be delighted to explain it to you as you read this book.

Horray for Rodney Rat

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

Poor Rodney cannot say his R sound which is a problem if you are a rat. The kids in school make fun of him until he saves the day when he plays a game of Simon Says.

While most of this story is about Rodney overcoming his own obstacles, the inability to say the R sound changes the meaning of words. This concept is such an important one when kids are learning how to read.

Alphabet Books for Phonological Awareness and Pre-reading Skills

Children do not need to know their letters to identify sounds. These two skills are completely different from one another. Alphabet Books are a great way to work on the two skills of identifying letters and the different sounds they can make.


Animalia by Graeme Base

This beautifully illustrated book will keep you searching the pages for hours looking at each illustration. Each page is filled with items that start with the same letter. This is the perfect way to start to introduce beginning sounds and letters to your child.

The Z was Zapped other pre-reading skills

The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg

This 26-act book has wonderful illustrations to help your child learn to identify their letters and the sounds they make. I love that the vocabulary in this book is geared toward older children with words like evaporated. This book will keep kids entertained while they are learning an important pre-reading skill.

Alphabet Books for Learning ABCS

22 Alphabet Books Helpful for Toddlers Learning Their ABCs

If you are looking for more great alphabet books, you can check out our great post

More Books for Pre-Reading Skills: Spoken Language

Children have to be able to understand what they are reading before they can read and developing their language skills can help them develop their love of reading. You can have a look at our reading readiness post to give you great tips.

The Importance of Reading and Helpful Reading Readiness Tips

The Importance of Reading and 7 Helpful Reading Readiness Tips

This post will help you with reading readiness tips and information on the importance of reading.

What Are Other Pre-Reading Skills

In addition to phonological awareness skills, children have to have the ability to understand spoken language. Children have to be able to understand what they are reading before they can read.

Children also need to have the ability to identify their letters and the sounds they make before they can read. This skill is different from identifying sounds they hear in a word. Alphabet Books are a great way to work on the skill of identifying letters and their sounds.

Did we help explain what phonological awareness is? Do you have any more questions?

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