As a parent to a learning little, I’ve read a lot of alphabet and counting books over the past year. While I’ll read anything that strikes my little one’s fancy, let’s face it: not all learning books are created equal. There are a few things that I look for when I’m picking special alphabet or counting books to read to my toddler:
1. Are the numbers/letters easily visible and recognizable? You’d think it would go without saying that letters shouldn’t be written in a fancy script or in cursive when in an alphabet book, but you’d be surprised how often I’ve seen letters that are indecipherable to a little learner.
2. Is the book engaging? It doesn’t matter how great I think a book is, if my toddler isn’t interested, that kind of defeats the purpose of reading it to him in the first place.
3. Can I handle re-reading this book over and over without wanting to pull my hair out? This last one is a bit selfish, but I try really hard to avoid books that irritate me. Of course, if the toddler loves it, I suck it up.
That being said, these are the recent alphabet winners in our house:
An Annoying ABC written by Barbara Bottner illustrated by Michael Emberly
My little one loves the funny pictures and the cute storyline. I love that the letters are highlighted and each sentence flows into the next. It’s super cute and not annoying at all. Double points for using X in a name (Xavier)!
Agent A to Agent Z by Andy Rash
This book is hilarious. It keeps both myself and my toddler giggling. I could easily read this multiple times in a row (and I have) without resorting to trying to sneak in a little variety.
Alphabears by Kathleen and Michael Hague
Admission: this one is more for me than my little, although he also enjoys it. I read this one was I was small, so it’s a very special reading session when he picks this one
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin JR and John Archambault illustrated by Lois Ehlert
It seems there’s a reason this book is such a popular choice. Not only is there a cadence to it, making it easy for little ones to “read” along, this book does something a lot of other alphabet books don’t: it shows lower case letters. I used this book to teach both my kids their lower case letters, and it was easy as…
1,2,3 Books that we love:
The 1, 2, 3s of D&D by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland
Surprise! I’m a huge nerd. My little nerd-in-training loves this fantastic book as much as I do. What makes this one so special? The wonderful illustrations combine to create a mini-adventure in counting. Also- there’s a reference to Raistlin, my favorite fantasy mage, on one of the pages which is awesome. I may have squealed when I saw it.
Star Wars Obi- 1,2,3 by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy illustrated by Katie Cook
This book has a lot going for it: not only are the illustrations adorable, but the rhymes for each number are fantastic. My favorite thing about this book, however, is that it goes up to 20, instead of stopping at 10.
Marvel Mighty Numbers
Like most other youngsters, my little guy is obsessed with super heroes. He loves this book; not only can he identify all the numbers, but he happily names all the superheroes too. I love that the numbers are bright and colorful, very easy to see.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
My little one loves the bright pictures, and the funny noises I make every time a monkey hits its head. I love that the cadence (again with the cadence) makes it easy for him to “read” along, and that it counts backwards.
And there you have it, the current counting and alphabet favorites. What are some of the winners in your home/classroom?