This alphabetical list of all the Early Childhood Bookshelf sets offers a quick way to find the best group of books for your needs within the vast library of early childhood bookshelf sets. Scroll down the page or click on the beginning letter of the set you are seeking. When you click on the title of that set, you will be taken to the specific toddler age band page of that bookshelf. On that page you can access any of the age band pages, read the informative book summaries for each book, and find the Literary Links that offer ideas for ways to use the book.
Books as Bridges to Many Cultures
Everyday experiences of everyday life are the memories of childhood. Young boys and girls learn about themselves as they interact with family and friends and then as they move beyond their time at home to activities in play groups and preschool. They become aware of others who are alike and different from them in many ways. Quality literature provides images and words that connect youngsters to children who may live in other parts of the world or belong to different cultures or races. In this column, you’ll find the story of an Alaskan Inuit mother and daughter who share a guessing game about love, a book about a typical morning in a park in China, a story that explains what it’s like to celebrate a Korean New Year, and a beautifully illustrated picture biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.The Milestones Project, Celebrating Childhood Around the World
(Dr. Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel; Tricycle Press, 2004) is a wonderful resource for teachers as they support children in their understanding of other cultures. It is filled with photographs of boys and girls from around the globe and includes small stories about the milestones in every child’s life, no matter where they livebirthdays, playtime, lost teeth, friends, haircuts, school, and pets. The authors of the text describe their vision in this way: "We aim to create a more peaceful world by encouraging the recognition that, beneath our beliefs or skin color, we are all the same; we are a single people, striving for joy and meaning in an unpredictable world."Books Count!
Books count, and books that include counting as a central theme of the story are an easy and inviting way to introduce young children to numbers and beginning mathematical processes. The books in this column are filled with numbers to recognize, objects to count, number words, number riddles, number rhymes, numbers to count backwards, and some simple addition exercises that are based on counting. The selections have few words but many colorful images that encourage boys and girls to use their minds as they encounter numbers and the corresponding objects that define them. So get ready to count, and count on these books to create an interest and enthusiasm for numbers.Celebrate the Story!A house without books is like a room without windows.
What educational experience could be more satisfying for a young child than to have a classroom filled with books and a teacher willing to read them. Research tells us that there is a direct relationship between having books available, being read to, and learning to read. The Ohio Early Learning Standards ask that preschool children identify characters in a favorite book, retell or reenact events from a story, predict what might happen next in a book, understand the sequence of events in a story, and make connections between a story and personal experiences. The special books in this REC Bookshelf are all beautifully crafted stories, filled with lovely language and accompanied by quality illustrations. They will make you laugh, make you think, and make you say for certain that you’ll read each one again. These books provide windows to literacy for boys and girls, and teachers, too.A Child's WorldGrowing Every Day
Childhood is a growing time, filled with learning about self and others and the world. The books in this column celebrate children, honor family, and rejoice in the routines that are part of a typical day in a young child's life. Bath time and bedtime, play and exploration, the first day of school, and cuddling time at the end of a busy, busy daythese simple activities are repeated time and again in many houses, in every country, all around our world. So gather all the boys and girls you know, and share these stories. It's time to celebrate a child's world.Comprehension
Early readers are just beginning to learn about the reading process
and the strategies
that help them make sense of written language. Beginners develop a basic understanding of print, know how books work, self-monitor their own comprehension by asking and answering questions, and make connections with literary and informational texts. So ask the boys and girls to join you as you read aloud to them, model comprehension strategies, and talk together about what you all learn and enjoy inside the covers of a favorite book.Creatures All Around
Creatures of all kinds make our world a more interesting place to livebig creatures, small creatures, creatures that live on the land, or those that make their home in the water. Boys and girls are fascinated by these animals and insects and are eager to learn more about them. A study of creatures is certain to engage children but also addresses indicators outlined in the Ohio Early Learning Standards, including learning about life processes of living things and becoming acquainted with features of nonfiction texts. The following books are filled with stories, facts, information, photographs, illustrations, and many novel features that will make children wide-eyed with wonder as they contemplate the world of creatures all around.Early Concepts
Colors, letters, wordsall are early concepts
that lead to later learning. A variety of experiences familiarizes boys and girls with such information and helps them understand how these concepts fit with other ideas and skills.Experiencing the Winter Season
The Ohio Early Learning Standards for Science build on children's natural wonder of what they see around them, including the discovery of the earth's patterns and changes over time. The study of patterns and changes is particularly appropriate when investigating the topics of weather and seasons. Winter is a time to practice observational skillsnoticing changes in temperature, observing ice melting, choosing clothes to wear based on how cold it is outside, and describing the clouds on a snowy day. It is a time to make mashed potato snowmen, hang lacy snowflakes from the window shade, and cover boxes with white roll paper to build a snowman right in the classroom. The following books about winter and snow include some old classics that you may have forgotten about as well as some new titles. So gather the children around you as the white flakes fall and read, read, read.Family and FriendsCaring for Ourselves and Others
No one loves you the way family and friends do, and this selection of storybooks reinforces the sense of belonging that is so important to every child. That sense of belonging is noted in the social studies section of the Ohio Early Learning Standards for preschool children. Parents, extended family, teachers, and friends all influence the way children feel about themselves. Reading stories like the ones detailed here provide opportunities for discussion regarding the uniqueness of each person and the special strengths and gifts that the boys and girls bring to their families and the classroom setting. Indeed, there is much to learn from Little Nutbrown Hare, comforting Mrs. Bear, brave Koala Lou, frustrated Llama Llama, and moody Grumpy Bird. So gather the children around you and share these reassuring tales, whose message is, "Yes, you are loved."Family and Me
The Ohio Early Learning Standards for Social Studies include a focus on children
and their families
. Preschool experiences fortify a sense of self
and extend understandings regarding interactions with others
. Stories read aloud can emphasize personal histories, traditional family events, and a sense of belonging to different groups. It's also a time to talk about those important skills of sharing, turn taking, following rules, thinking of others and making good choices. Make your own good choices as you read these special books.Favorite Authors and Illustrators
Learning to love literature includes learning to recognize and appreciate special authors and illustrators. As boys and girls experience several books created by a particular author, they develop a schema for the topics or themes that the writer usually chooses to explore. As they find out more about the techniques an artist uses to design illustrations, they can identify those processes when they spot them in other titles. Exploring the work of a respected author or illustrator (sometimes one and the same person, as you will see below) deepens children’s understanding of what a good book looks like and sounds like, so they can search for other quality books.
The authors of the books in this column also illustrate their own stories. Nancy Tafuri, Eric Carle, and Lois Ehlert are all prolific writers with distinctive styles and many books to their credit. They have all been recognized as exemplary authors and received awards for their talents. And all of them have a strong passion and vision for writing and illustrating books that enrich the lives of young children. So make a “favorite stack” of the books listed below and share them with eager youngsters who want to learn more about those special people who have created their favoritesthe author-illustrators.Focus on Friendships
Preschool serves as a transition between the comfortable circle of family and the expanded community of friends. As boys and girls spend time with peers in a structured setting, they move from mostly independent and parallel play to interactive and collaborative activities. The Ohio Early Learning Standards for Social Studies address the skills necessary to recognize the special qualities of others and to learn to work and play in a group.
The books listed below provide storybook examples about how to find a friend and be a friend. Sometimes the friends are animals, and sometimes they are children. Each of the characters demonstrates caring and loving characteristics that let the reader know what it means to be a friend.Fun on the Farm
The family farm is vanishing as a way of life in many parts of America today; yet farm animals and farm culture are a favorite topic of study in the preschool curriculum. Some children may not know much about farm animals and may never have visited a farmyard, but they are fascinated by cows and pigs and chickens and feel a special kinship to farm babies. The books shared in this column provide information, pictures, maps, charts, photographs, and stories about life on the farm. Invite your children to join you on the hay wagon as you laugh, learn, and have fun on the farm. E-i-e-i-o!Helping Children Understand Disabilities
The joys of an inclusive classroom are many. Everyone benefits. But questions can arise that can be difficult for the adults to explain clearly and simply. What details are important enough to mention? How much is too much? Children’s books can be a helpful resource when they explain a disability in positive ways that children can understand. The stories can spark conversations that will broaden understanding and strengthen social skills. Inclusive Children's Stories
One way children begin to feel as though they are an integral part of a group is by seeing themselves (or children like them) in books, posters, and other materials used in the classroom. The National Association of Educators of Young Children has for many years required accredited programs to provide books showing diversity, and most educators make every effort to reflect diversity in the children’s books used in the classroom.
However, much of this diversity in children’s books represents cultural, language, and ethnic differences rather than differences in mobility, vision, hearing, and learning. It is important to broaden our idea of diversity as we seek to provide inclusive early educational settings for children with disabilities. Toward that end, this set of books includes stories and images of special needs who are “just one of the crowd.” The books treat the children matter-of-factly, without the goal of educating children about one disability or another. Books of this type are not available in huge numbers, so to help teachers, here are a few good stories that include children who have Down syndrome, have vision issues, or use a wheelchair to move about. Informational Text
Learning to read informational texts
requires different skills and strategies from those used when reading narratives. As young readers investigate special topics, they must slow down their reading rate so that they can take in and understand information, gather information from a variety of text features and graphic structures, and organize the information they acquire from a variety of sources. Boys and girls both seem to enjoy their first experiences in reading to learn.It's Fall! It’s Back to School!
Autumn arrives with a crisp morning and a flourish of color. It brings a season of harvest and the urge to put on a warm sweater. Falling leaves are raked and piled and enjoyed. And children have recently returned to school. The books in this column celebrate the signs of the season and invite young children to think about and discuss the changes that occur to plants, animals and people during this time of the year. Especially important to boys and girls is the transition back to the classroom, reuniting with friends and enjoying the opportunities to explore and learn. So, put on jackets for an autumn walk, and clear the tables for leaf collections. Fall is here!Language for LearningBooks That Strengthen Vocabulary
Language is the latch that opens the window to learning. And books, good books, books filled with rich and intriguing words, swing that window open wide. You know the kind of books that fit this description. They are the special ones that make you feel that you’re part of the story as you read it aloud to boys and girls whose eyes remain fixed on every page and whose bodies are still with anticipation.
The Ohio Early Learning Standards identify the following indicators as important for young children who are listening and learning and growing in their ability to enjoy the power of words:
- Understand the meaning of new words from the context of conversations and the use of illustrations in a picture book.
- Recognize environmental print.
- Demonstrate and communicate position and directional words, such as inside, outside, in front of, and behind.
- Determine the meaning of unknown words with assistance from an adult.
The books in this column tell a good story, introduce interesting new vocabulary, toss out a rhyme or two, and make you want to read that word, that phrase, that book again.Literacy Begins with Rhythm, Rhyme, and Song
Picture books that are filled with rhythm, rhyme, and song make story time fun and encourage children’s awareness of language and sounds. The members of the National Research Council, in Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success
, emphasize the importance of phonological awareness in this way: “When children achieve phonological awareness, they are able to think about how words sound, apart from what words mean. For example, they appreciate that the word 'kitchen' has two spoken parts (syllables), that the word 'bed' rhymes with 'bread,' and that the words 'cat' and 'king' begin with the same sound” (p. 9). They also state that children should develop some degree of phonological awareness in the preschool years as a critical step toward understanding the way letters and sounds work and, ultimately, toward learning to read. The books reviewed in this column are chock full of words that encourage the reader to continue the rhyme, language that bounces with rhythm, and songs that you just won't be able to get out of your head.Literacy Play with Predictable Texts
"It's time for a story!" Hopefully, this oft-repeated invitation for children to come to the carpet and listen to a book being read aloud is an activity that boys and girls look forward to and enjoy. This is a time for participation in a literacy community, tuning into the language of a text and then talking about the story with others. It’s an opportunity to learn new vocabulary and understand the thrill of making connections to a character or a setting. This is a time to hear an experienced reader share the printed page and encourage those who listen to try out those first skills and take those initial steps in becoming a literacy learner.
Predictable texts are those that have recurring language patterns, include the repetition of words or language elements, and exhibit a close alignment between pictures and text. The books reviewed in this column are filled with rhythm and rhyme as well as patterned and predictable language. Each story has a voice that makes children believe that learning to read is an exciting task.Literary Text
Children learn how to read by reading and being read to. They learn to love books by reading quality literature that engages their minds, excites their imaginations, and transports them to people and places around the world. Through interactions with literary texts
and conversations with adults and peers, boys and girls become familiar with the elements of literature (characters, setting, and plot), begin to compare and contrast stories, and learn to respond to text in critical and creative ways.Math Books That Can Bring It Home
Mathematics is not just something you “do” in school. Mathematics is everywhere, and the earlier that children can connect math to the world around them, the more easily they will understand how important math is. The picture books presented here are ones that include mathematics as an integral part of the story and that can be used to bridge the gap between home and school. They are filled with noisy clocks, countable objects, and basic shapes. Some have rhymes, some are funny, and all are entertaining! More About Math
Picture books are an appropriate and inviting way to scaffold the mathematical understanding of young boys and girls. The titles listed below reinforce several indicators identified in the Ohio Early Learning Standards for Mathematics: developing a sense of numbers (counting objects); comparing the attributes of objects (bigger, smaller, lighter, heavier, taller, shorter); ordering a set of objects by size, weight, and length; and describing the relative position of objects in the environment (top, bottom, inside, outside, in front of, behind, between, next to). Best of all, the stories are exciting ones to read aloud. Count the times that little ones ask for these books to be read again!Numbers and CountingCounting
both counting objects and counting orallyis an important early math concept. Researchers have found that oral counting skills may begin to develop as early as two years of age.* Other initial mathematical ideas include counting in sequence, matching one to one, and counting by tens. The following counting books connect boys and girls with the world of numbers
* K. Fuson, Young Children's Counting and Concepts of Numbers (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1988).
Oral and Visual Communication
The preschool setting offers an initial opportunity for children to interact with adults outside of the home as well as with a diverse group of peers. It provides a vital space where young boys and girls practice speaking, present ideas and thoughts to others, and take turns in conversation. In preschool, children listen activelyto stories, to the talk of others, and to simple classroom directions. They participate in the recitation of poems and rhymes. The following books reinforce oral communication through rhythm, rhyme, and the use of repetitive phrasing throughout the text.
Rhyme, rhythm, and song provide lyrical ways for children to listen to sounds and learn phonemic awareness skills. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds in words, and it is important in both reading and writing. So get your fingers ready to snap and your feet ready to tap. Boys and girls are going to love these books!
Picture Books That Support Early Investigations
Informational picture books provide information through more than just the words. For young children and prereaders or nonreaders, the pictures in the books are a primary avenue for learning. So teachers who include books in, for example, a science center or project area know that the children can use the illustrations to reinforce or expand basic knowledge or to find answers to their questions about a topic. Of course, the text is useful when an adult or other reader can share the printed information one-on-one or when the book is read aloud to a group.
When you depend on the illustrations to do the teaching, it is important to find books that present accurate representations of the topic by using interesting photographs or accurate artwork. These days, teachers and families who want to encourage children to engage in independent research are fortunate, because useful books are bountiful.
Playing with Words; Poetry in Preschool
Playing with words is natural for young children. Their minds and mouths enjoy the sounds and rhythms of poetry and rhyme. What better way to establish prereading skills than to listen to the musical lyrics of a familiar poem, repeat the words of a jump rope chant, or giggle through a silly rhyme. The following indicators are identified in the language arts section of the Ohio Early Learning Standards as important learnings for preschool children:
- Recognize familiar rhymes
- Hear sounds in words
- Differentiate between sounds that are the same and different
- Attend to speakers, stories, poems, and songs
- Participate in the recitation of books, poems, chants, songs, and nursery rhymes
So get your mouth ready to read, your fingers ready to snap, your body ready to wiggle, and your feet ready to stamp. It's always a party with poetry in preschool!Polar AnimalsPolar Bears, Penguins, and Seals, Oh My! In Celebration of the International Polar Year
The International Polar Year is a worldwide celebration of all things polar, including the animals that inhabit the snowy regions of the Arctic and Antarctic. Organized through the International Council for Science and the World Meteorological Organization, this large scientific program will cover two annual cycles from March 2007 to March 2009. Thousands of scientists from 60 nations will participate in over 200 projects, investigating a wide range of topics.
Certainly, young boys and girls enjoy reading and learning about the animals of the polar areas, but they may not realize that polar bears and penguins are inhabitants of opposite ends of the earth. Polar bears live in the Arctic, along with some types of seals, wolves, Arctic hares, and other species. Penguins make their home on the continent of Antarctica, which is colder and less populated than the North Pole. Unfortunately, global warming is affecting both places and changing the lives of the animals that make their homes in these regions.
The books in this column introduce children to the habitats and characteristics of polar animals. Both fiction and nonfiction texts provide information, photographs, graphic features, poems, detailed illustrations, and stories about these intriguing and fascinating creatures. So, gather the children around you and get ready to celebrate the International Polar Year with polar bears, penguins, and seals, oh my!Preschool Poetry: Rhythm, Rhyme, and Song
The genre of poetry, rich with language and rhyme, provides a seamless introduction to phonemic awareness and the recognition and identification of sounds. Young boys and girls are intrigued by the lyrical quality of poems, rhymes, and songsthey enjoy the way the words sound when they say them and the way their bodies seem to move to the beat of the words. The Ohio Early Learning Standards focus on matching sounds and on recognizing rhymes in familiar stories, poems, songs, and words; hearing sounds in words by isolating the syllables using snapping, clapping, or rhythmic movement; and differentiating between sounds that are the same and different. In this column, there are two books featuring haiku, a book based on an English lullaby, four titles that are collections of poems about a specific topic, a story written in verse, and a familiar nursery rhyme. So get your mouth ready for rhyme and your body ready to keep the beat in time. Poetry is perfect for preschool!Reading About Real Things: Nonfiction and Informational Books
During preschool years, boys and girls discover that books contain information about the world around them. From baby animals to fire trucks, children can follow any interest through the pages of a text. Nonfiction and informational books are organized differently and those text structures are important teaching points. As you share nonfiction and informational books, ask children to do the following:
- Use pictures and illustrations to aid comprehension and talk about what they see.
- Retell information from the informational text.
- Tell what the book is about after hearing it read aloud.
- Gain information from pictures, photographs, simple charts, and labels.
- Follow simple directions.
Reading about real things is not only appropriate but truly inviting for ever curious young children.Reading Is Understanding
Reading aloud to young children provides many opportunities to introduce various components of the literacy process.
- Listening to good literature promotes language acquisition and develops vocabulary.
- Boys and girls begin to comprehend text by connecting stories with prior knowledge and personal experiences.
- Taking “book walks” or looking through a text before reading it aloud encourages youngsters to make predictions and think about what might happen next in the story.
- The plot or happenings in a story can lead to dramatic play experiences.
- Retelling or acting out the story after reading increases understanding and builds comprehension.
Creating a literacy community in the classroom includes intentionally selecting good books, reading them with strategies that build understanding, encouraging discussion and exploration, and infusing all literacy experiences with joy and excitement. Loving to listen is a precursor to learning to read.Research
Young children are naturally curious. They want to investigate, to know more, and to find out. The topic might be something individual to a particular child, or perhaps a small group of boys and girls choose to follow an interest together. Sometimes, as part of a curriculum or standard, the entire class will learn more about a specific topic or theme. The research process
for preschool children should include asking questions and then searching for answers, using a variety of resources to gather information, documenting the learning in many waysretelling, acting out, playing, creating artwork, dictating thoughts, discussingand sharing the information with others.Sharing Favorite Stories in Preschool
"Please read that book again!" Teachers, parents and other "designated readers" hear this plea often from little ones who love to listen to their favorite stories over and over again. Reading to boys and girls intensifies their love of good literature, builds a vocabulary of story language, establishes an understanding of story structures, and sets the stage for future literacy learning.
One of the books listed below, Dog
, is a new favorite, sure to become an old favorite. Another text, Goldilocks and the Three Bears
, is a stylized version of the well-known fairytale. The remainder of the books include Caldecott Medal winners and Honor Books. Many have been read by more than one generation of book lovers and are still heralded today as stories that invite the request, "Please read that book again!"Spring, a Time to Grow
Spring is a time for change and growth. Plants burst from the earth. Animals reappear after their winter hibernation. Birds warble their best spring songs. Baby animals are welcomed by the strong rays of the sun. Winter is over. The Ohio Early Childhood Standards for Science focus on changes in the environment over time, changes in the weather, the relationship between adult animals and their young, and common needs of living things. Preschool boys and girls enjoy the world around them, especially during this season of new life. So find a spot in the sun, gather your children around you, and share some books about spring.Summer Stories
Summertime sizzles with lazy days, swimming pools, fireworks, ice cream, hot dogs on the grill, colorful flower gardens, family vacations, and trips to the zoo. The Ohio Early Learning Standards in Science remind us that little ones recognize differences in the seasons through clothing, plants, animals, temperatures, weather, and activities. The books listed below are filled with the signs and sounds of summer—seahorses and beaches, butterflies and watermelon, playtime and celebrations. So find a shady tree, and gather children around you to share these summer stories.A to Z with Alphabet Books
There is an alphabet book for nearly any and every topic or theme. These books provide boys and girls with experiences with letters, sounds, and words that are important in the reading process. The Ohio Early Learning Standards include indicators stating that children should recognize and name some uppercase and lowercase letters, understand that words are made up of letters, and hear sounds in words. Alphabet books in this column introduce children to a variety of fruits and vegetables, share symbols that are significant to the Chinese New Year, explore words associated with gardening tasks and tools, explain simple cultural activities from countries in Asia, and introduce boys and girls to construction equipment for every letter. The books are filled with details that can only be seen if you take a long, careful look, and all are best understood when talked about with friends. So gather this collection of alphabet books, as different as they can be, and enjoy every one of them.Vocabulary
Children learn new vocabulary
through exposure to rich language in books and in conversations with adults and peers. The following lists of titles show examples of texts that provide opportunities for boys and girls to increase their vocabularies. When read these books, children hear positional and directional words, words that can be classified as animal names and noises, words related to the garden, construction equipment words, and words you would hear on a farm. The content of these books also addresses indicators for the Early Childhood Math and Science Standards.We Are Alike and Different, A Look at a Few Cultures
Young children are just beginning to understand that people are alike and different. The Ohio Early Learning Standards emphasize that boys and girls should be aware of and value the diversity of those around them.
Children’s literature provides valuable examples of people from many cultures as well as information regarding similarities and differences in traditions, homes, clothing, and daily life. The books included in this column introduce young readers to a little girl who loves to wrap up in her mother’s sari, a big sister who wishes her little sibling could eat kimchee, and a group of children who use their imaginations to create a dancing dragon. All of the stories feature characters and vocabulary from just a few of the world's cultures. So, open your eyes to the sights and your ears to the sounds as you share these multicultural books with boys and girls.
Word Wonder: Building Vocabulary with Books
Listening to a story with beautiful language read aloud, discussing the story with peers, talking with family and friends, and asking and answering questions are all important ways to develop vocabulary with young children. Quality literature is rich with words and pictures that stimulate imagination and conversation. The books in this column include many stories with vocabulary specific to special topics and themes, books with die-cut pages and interesting visual perspectives which inspire conversation, a story that focuses on the written language of notes and postcards, and books that are filled with language so lovely that boys and girls won't want the story to end. Words have the power to fill young minds with wonder.
Reading and writing are reciprocal processesyou can't have one without the other. This interdependence comprises one principal understanding of early literacy: that what you think can be written down and others can read it. Young children are just beginning to learn about the power of letters and words and how to use writing to communicate. Important thoughts to share with boys and girls at this early stage include the following:
- We can write about anything we want to communicate to others.
- Children can dictate their ideas to you. You can write the ideas down, and together you can read the words.
- Authors have a purpose for why they want to write and an idea of who their audience might be and what they want to say.
- It's worthwhile to play at writing, to make squiggles that resemble letters, and to practice moving the writing implement across the page.