Best Books for 5 Year Olds: Books for Early Readers

A guide to choosing the best books for 5 year olds

Comprehensive guide to choosing the best books for 5 year olds. Learn the benefits of reading together and find the best books for your child.

Choose the best books for your early reader.

Looking for the perfect books for your 5 year old? You are not alone! As a parent, you want to find books that are not only engaging but also age-appropriate. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. Fear not! We have compiled a list of our best books for 5 year olds that are sure to captivate your little ones.

Table of Contents

Your Little Reader Will Approve

These books have been tried and tested by 5-year-olds, so you can rest assured that they are both entertaining and educational. From classic books, to fairy tales, to picture books, we’ve got you covered. So, get ready to dive into the wonderful world of books with your child and discover our top books for 5 year olds.

The Importance of Reading for Early Readers

Reading is crucial for 5 year olds because it helps to build the foundation of their education. It is through reading that children learn to recognize letters, sight words, and sentences.

Brain Development

Reading also helps to develop their cognitive abilities, such as memory, attention, and their critical thinking skills. Additionally, reading improves a child’s language skills, including their vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.

Life Skills

Moreover, reading is an essential life skill that opens up a world of opportunities for children. It helps them to acquire knowledge, explore new ideas, and develop empathy for others. Reading also gives children the tools they need to succeed in school and beyond.

What Makes The Best Books for 5 Year Olds?

What makes the best books for 5 year olds?

When it comes to finding the best books for 5 year olds, there are a few key features to look for.

Age Appropriate Books

First, the best books for 5 year olds should be age-appropriate and easy to read. They should have simple sentences, large fonts, and fun illustrations to help young readers stay engaged.

Fun and Engaging

The best books 5 year olds are engaging and fun for little kids to read. They should have interesting characters, a compelling plot, and a clear message. The best books for 5 year olds are interactive, encouraging children to participate in the story.


Finally, the picture book itself should be educational, teaching children about the world around them. It should introduce new concepts, ideas, and vocabulary words in a way that is easy for young readers to understand.

Our Top Picks for Early Reader Books

1. “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss

The Cat In The Hat is a classic book.

“The Cat in the Hat” is a classic children’s book that has been delighting younger readers for generations. This charming book is perfect for younger readers because it uses simple words, easy-to-read rhyming text, and colorful illustrations.

The story follows the mischievous Cat in the Hat as he visits two bored children and creates chaos in their house. It is both fun and educational, teaching children about rhyming words, opposites, and cause and effect.

2. “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham is a fan favorite.

Another great book for 5 year olds by the same author, “Green Eggs and Ham,” because it is a funny book. The adorable illustrations and engaging story that teaches children about trying new things.

The book follows Sam-I-Am as he tries to convince his friend to try green eggs and ham. The sweet story itself also uses rhyming text and funny characters, making it perfect for 5 year olds learning to read.

“Green Eggs and Ham,” teaches children about the importance of being open-minded and trying new things, a valuable lesson to learn at an early age.

3. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar gives kids great exposure to life cycles.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” is one of the most iconic and best books for 5 year olds. The picture book tells a delightful story about the life cycle of a butterfly. The story follows a caterpillar as he eats his way through various foods before transforming into a butterfly.

The heartwarming story uses simple sentences, easy-to-read words, and plenty of pictures, making it perfect for 5 year olds.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” introduces children to counting, days of the week, and healthy eating habits. It is a lovely story and a great way to begin conversations about life and change.

4. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are is a great Christmas tale!

One of the most delightful best books for 5 years olds is, “Where the Wild Things Are“, a book that tells the story of a young boy named Max who travels to a world of wild creatures, where he makes new friends.

The book has a compelling plot, interesting characters, and bright illustrations that will capture the imagination of 5 year olds. The book and hilarious story also has a great message about the importance of imagination and creativity.

5. “Curious George” by H. A. and Margret Rey

Curious George allows kids to explore their curiosity through George.

“Curious George” is one of the best books for 5 year olds because it introduces the adventures of a mischievous monkey named George. Curious children will love watching George navigate through various problems.

It is a great book for early readers because they have simple sentences, easy-to-read words, and fun illustrations. The stories are engaging and fun, teaching 5 year olds about important life lessons such as responsibility, curiosity, and problem-solving.

Classics vs. New Releases: Which is Better for Early Readers?

Classic Books for 5 Year Olds

When it comes to choosing the best books for 5 year olds, both classic and new releases can be great options. The Golden Book series are timeless and have been enjoyed by generations of children. Even reluctant readers will enjoy the easy-to-follow plot lines. Berenstain Bears teach kids age appropriate life lessons and encourage kids to do the right thing.

Classic children’s books often have gorgeous illustrations, compelling stories, and important life lessons that are still relevant today. They are timeless and have been enjoyed by many children for generations. The entire family will be able to enjoy classic books.

New Release books for 5 Year Olds

New releases, on the other hand, introduce children to fresh perspectives, new ideas, and modern vibrant illustrations that can capture the attention of young readers. 5 year olds will enjoy, “The Day the Crayons Quit“, a whimsical story about crayons who quit and refuse to color, or “How Full is Your Bucket? The book teaches children how to work through big feelings.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, the choice between classic and new releases comes down to personal preference. It is essential to choose books that your child will enjoy and that are age-appropriate. The most important thing is to encourage your child’s love of reading.

How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Young Children

The Cat In The Hat is a silly story children love.

Encouraging a love of reading in young children is essential for their academic and personal development. Here are some tips to help you foster a love of reading in your child:

1. Read aloud to your child every day

Reading aloud to your child is one of the most effective ways to encourage a love of reading. It helps to build their vocabulary, improve their language skills, and stimulate their imagination. Reading aloud also creates a special bond between parent and child, making it a great way to spend quality time together.

Improve Academic Performance

Not only that, but research has shown that reading regularly can significantly help improve academic performance. It can also help young children to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and storytelling skills. To ensure your child benefits from the benefits of reading, be sure to make it a regular part of your daily routine. Children just starting school will benefit from an early love of reading.

Different kinds of material can be used as reading material, such as stories, poems, fairy tales, and magazines. Even non-fiction work can be used to promote comprehension and knowledge.

Develop Emotional Intelligence

Reading aloud to children can also help to build a sense of understanding and empathy for others as they come across various characters’ experiences throughout the books. Additionally, it helps to create patience and instill discipline when reading complex texts such as plays and non-fiction books.

2. Make reading a fun and enjoyable experience

Additionally, many libraries host reading programs and book clubs designed specifically for kids, creating a fun and interactive way to spark a love of reading. Libraries provide a wealth of knowledge, beyond just books, that can be accessed from its expansive collections of reference materials, including encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, and more.

Reading should be a fun and enjoyable experience for children. The best books for 5 year olds are age-appropriate and engaging, and encourage your child to participate in the story. Use funny voices, make sound effects, and ask questions to keep your child engaged and interested.

Kids Love to Choose

Try to find books that meet your child's preferences.

Additionally, let little kids be a part of the selection process. When they help pick out books, they’ll be more likely to stay involved throughout the entire reading experience. Help your child find the best books, books they are passionate about, from a Golden Book to short stories about their favorite animals. Provide a safe space for them to explore and get excited about reading.

Read as a Family

Another way to make reading an enjoyable experience is to read together as a family. This kind of quality time can be very powerful and encourage your child to read and learn more.

3. Create a reading-friendly environment

Creating a reading-friendly environment can help to encourage your child’s love of reading. Set aside a specific time each day for reading, and create a cozy reading nook with a comfy chair, pillows and blankets.

Have Plenty of Options

Make sure that your child has plenty of books for 5 year olds to choose from, and rotate them regularly to keep things fresh and exciting. Create a place for curious kids to enjoy.

Consider the Lighting

Ideal lighting is important for a comfortable reading experience – install a soft-glow night light, and close curtains to block direct sunlight.

Turn Down the Electronics

Finally, eliminate distractions like TV, computers, and music during reading time. As your child reads, avoid any temptation to interrupt unless it’s absolutely necessary.

4. Lead by example

5 year olds learn by example, so it is essential to lead by example when it comes to reading. Make sure that your child sees you reading regularly, and talk to them about the books that you are reading.

Reading Journals

Consider using a reading journal to help your child reflect.

Encourage your child to share their thoughts and feelings about the books that they are reading, and make reading a family activity. Reading journals can be a great way to teach children how to reflect on the stories they read. Show your child that reading is a part of daily life, and encourage them to spend 15 minutes a day reading. Keep track of the progress that your child makes, and make sure that they have the resources they need to make reading enjoyable.

Make Books Part of Your Life

Show your child how enjoyable books can be by finding age-appropriate books that they will enjoy. Spend time in bookstores, libraries, and online book retailers to discover interesting books.

Tips for Choosing the Best Books for 5 Year Olds

Choosing the best books for 5 year olds can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you choose the best books, age-appropriate and engaging books for your child:

1. Consider your child’s interests

When choosing the best books for 5 year olds, it is essential to consider their interests. Choose books for 5 year olds that are related to their hobbies, favorite characters, or favorite topics. This will help to keep them engaged and interested in the story.

If your child enjoys playing a musical instrument, select some stories about a young musician who follows their dream and succeeds. If they are into sports, pick a book about a young athlete who learns the importance of never giving up.

Additionally, there are countless books about animals, space, fairies, unicorns, and much more. The best books are age-appropriate, and books that your child is excited to read.

2. Pay attention to reading level

Reading levels can be a helpful tool when it comes to choosing the best books for 5 year olds. Make sure that the book is at an appropriate reading level for your child, and that it is not too challenging or too easy.

Find the Sweet Spot

Consider the syntax, length of sentences, and difficulty of vocabulary words used in the book. Check the book’s reading level against books that your child enjoys, and whether your child is able to understand the concepts presented in the text. When looking for a books 5 year olds, it is important to remember that different books will be at varying difficulties and will involve different areas of development.

3. Read reviews and recommendations

Ask your librarian, other parents, and your child for the best books for 5 year olds. You can also look for age-specific reading lists or visit your local bookstore or library. Find a book blogger, like and read book reviews. Look for books that have high ratings, positive reviews, and recommendations from trusted sources.

A Guide to Reading Levels and How to Use Them

This reading level chart explains how to understand young reader levels.

Reading levels can be a helpful tool when it comes to choosing best books for 5 year olds. Here is a guide to reading levels and how to use them:

1. Emergent Reader (Level A)

First Little Reader are a great choice for very early readers.

Reading a great book aloud can also help to develop your child’s empathy by exposing them to different perspectives and experiences. It can even help children deal with their own emotions as they learn to identify and recognize the feelings of characters in the story. Through this connection with characters in the story they can gain a better understanding of their own emotions and feelings.

Emergent Reader books have simple sentences, easy-to-read words, fun story, and plenty of pictures. These books are perfect for children who are just starting to learn to read.

Level A Emergent Reader books are still quite simple, with a strong emphasis on illustrative cues. Like other Emergent Reader titles, these books use repetitive language and text patterns, which help develop children’s confidence and grow their vocabularies.

Finally, most Level A Emergent Reader books are intended to provide children with an introduction to the alphabet, building phonemic awareness.

2. Early Reader (Level B)

Level B readers have slightly longer sentences and fewer pictures.

Early Reader books have slightly longer sentences, more complex words, and fewer pictures. These books are ideal for children who are starting to develop their reading skills. They can build fluency in decoding words and understanding text on the page.

Additionally, they can begin to understand stories with more than the basic plot line; they may start to learn about observances that show character development, hints of foreshadowing, and basic problem-solving skills.

3. Transitional Reader (Level C)

These books are suitable for children who are already comfortable with the basics of reading.

Transitional Reader books have longer sentences, more complex words, and fewer pictures. These books are suitable for children who are becoming more confident in their reading abilities.

With a breadth of interesting topics and stories, Transitional Reader books provide an opportunity for children to explore various subjects that may capture their interest. Reading Transitional Reader books helps children develop important comprehension skills.

As they traverse through the text, they are challenged to focus their attention, deduce meaning from context, and understand figurative language. As they come across difficult words, they might also need to use their decoding skills to decode new words as they go.

4. Fluent Reader (Level D)

These are for confident readers who are looking to challenge themselves to get beyond the basics.

Fluent Reader Level D books have longer sentences, more complex words, and fewer pictures. These books are perfect for children who are confident readers and are looking for more challenging books.

At Fluent Reader Level D, illustrated storybooks are designed for children ages 5-6. They have more sophisticated themes and characters, present a higher number of vocabulary words, and are longer in length than books in preceding levels.

The stories include more complex sentence structures and descriptions of the character’s feelings. These books are excellent for reinforcing reading skills, introducing higher-level phonics clusters, and developing children’s inferential thinking skills.

Reading these books helps to build curious young readers’ enthusiasm for becoming more advanced and capable readers.

The Benefits of Reading Aloud with Your Child

No matter the size of your family, your child will always remember reading with you.

Reading aloud to your child has many benefits, including:

1. Building vocabulary

Reading aloud to your child helps to build their vocabulary by introducing them to new words and concepts. This can be combined with conversations which help to bring words to life and aid in making connections between words. You can even take a proactive approach and teach your child some of the words you come across that are new to them. When you define the new word, help your child to understand it and then offer an example relating to the word.

2. Improving language skills

Reading aloud also helps to improve your child’s language skills by exposing them to correct grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. This allows them to internalize these aspects of language, making them more aware of how language works and more confident when speaking and writing.

Support Language Development

Additionally, reading aloud to your child enables them to pick up more frequent exposure to more complex words. Research has shown that introductions to a more sophisticated vocabulary can better prepare kids for furthering their knowledge of language.

Reading aloud to your child will also provide them with a better understanding of the structure of narrative and story writing which in turn further enhances their ability to effectively communicate. This is essential in teaching kids to switch between language registers.

3. Stimulating imagination

Keep your kids engaged with picture books with beautiful illustrations.

Reading aloud stimulates your child’s imagination, helping them to visualize the story and create mental images. Ideas are brought to life, aiding in the understanding of story actions and characters. Reading aloud can also add context; parental inflection, facial expressions, and hand gestures give the story nuances that inspire deeper thinking and creativity.

Model Real-Life for Kids

Reading aloud also provides excellent modeling of conversation, language, and social skills. Your child can learn to modulate their own speaking voice, recognize emotions, and understand social cues.

Every child loves spending time listening to their loved ones read stories to them.

4. Developing empathy

5. Encouraging a love of reading

Finally, reading aloud with your child encourages a love of reading by making it a fun and enjoyable experience. It offers the perfect opportunity to have fun together, and to spend quality time together as a family. Not only does reading together nurture your bond, it gives your child the chance to become familiar with story structures and the flow of language.

Children can also learn to develop their own imagination and creativity, as well as sharpen their cognitive skills. Through reading aloud, your child will be exposed to a wide range of words, ideas, and topics that will help them develop their understanding of the world around them – which is the greatest gift of all.

Not only does reading aloud boost their literacy skills and confidence, it can open their mind to endless possibilities. Reading aloud creates strong connections that can stay with your children for the rest of their lives, and promotes a genuine appreciation of literature.

Resources for Finding More Great Books for Early Readers

There are many resources available for finding the best books for 5 year olds. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Scholastic Book Clubs

Look into Scholastic Book Clubs for early readers.

Scholastic Book Clubs offer a wide selection of books for early readers, with age-appropriate recommendations and reading levels. The clubs provide access to beloved characters, captivating series, and award-winning titles to keep children engaged in new stories.

The selection also features a wide range of languages, including Spanish, Chinese, and French, allowing readers to explore different cultures and traditions. Scholastic Book Clubs are perfect for parents and teachers looking to give young readers a library of exciting stories and access to the world of books.

They also feature book collections that coincide with current events, reading-themed activities, and exclusive member-only offers, allowing children to learn through their love of stories.

In addition to all of these benefits, Scholastic Book Clubs also offer quizzes, reading rewards, and reading resources, providing parents and teachers with the tools they need to support young readers.

2. Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a digital resource for parents looking for early readers.

Reading Rockets is a website that offers resources and recommendations for parents and educators looking for the best books for 5 year olds. It includes book lists for each grade level from pre-K through high school.

Within every grade level, there are different categories with books that fit the interests of the reader. There are even books to help young readers build the skills they need when it comes to learning the fundamental aspects of reading.

Moreover, Reading Rockets provides helpful advice on reading activities, anecdotes, and even real stories from families on how to start and continue the promotion of literacy within their own home. It provides tips on how to select and assess high-quality material that parents can share with their children.

Lastly, there are even blog posts, interviews, and videos, all with the aim of inspiring and motivating kids to read and love reading.

3. Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media offers current book, movie, and tv recommendations.

Common Sense Media offers reviews and recommendations for books, movies, and TV shows for children of all ages. The organization provides independent reviews to help parents and others understand what is in a particular entertainment product, and make informed decisions about whether it is suitable for children. They also offer resources about media use for people of all ages, including information on internet safety and digital citizenship.

Additionally, Common Sense Media offers age-based media reviews, a Best of Lists of kid-friendly books, movies, and TV shows, and more. They also collaborate with parents, educators, and policy makers to promote safe and responsible media use.

Their mission is to empower parents, teachers, and other adults to become knowledgeable and engaged digital citizens who can make quality media choices.

4. Your Local Library

Finally, your local library is a great resource for finding the best books for 5 year olds. Librarians can offer recommendations based on your child’s interests and reading level, and you can borrow books for free.

Furthermore, the library provides more than just educational resources; Art classes, music programs, and career focused events are some of the other activities that are often offered.

Whether your child is a struggling reader or an avid reader, visiting the library is a great way to provide them with an array of books and learning opportunities in one place.


Reading aloud helps children develop their vocabulary.

Encouraging a love of reading in young children is essential for their academic and personal development. By choosing age-appropriate and engaging books, reading aloud, and creating a reading-friendly environment, you can help your child develop a lifelong love of reading.

Whether you choose classic or new releases, the most important thing is to make reading a fun and enjoyable experience for your child.

I am an educator with almost 15 years of experience teaching in Japan, Hawaii, and in Los Angeles. My goal is to change education and the way we view literacy instruction in America.

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