Top children’s books in English according to age
Reading books is a great way to help children learn English and practice their skills whether reading by themselves or being read to by an adult. When reading stories to younger children adults should always remember to ask lots of questions about the book. Questions such as ‘what will happen next?’ or ‘is this a good or bad character’?’, this will get children more engaged and allow them to practice their speaking skills as well as listening skills.
It is also a good idea to do follow up activities such as crafts in order to deepen the child’s understanding of the story. A good follow up activity for older children is to watch film or TV show versions of books, an activity they are sure to love!
Take a look at our favourite books according to age and some of the follow up activities we recommend.
‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle
This is the story of a caterpillar who wakes up very hungry and commences to eat a lot of different foods! He then falls asleep… and when he wakes up he has turned into a beautiful butterfly. This story is great for both younger and older children who are learning English.
When reading the story with younger children the focus could be on learning food vocabulary. When reading the book be sure to point at the different food and ask your child what they can see before you say the name. Try and get your child to say the name before you read it but if they do not know or cannot remember do not push them, instead ask a simpler question for example, what colour is the food? The trick to learning English at home is to keep things fun and interesting. If a child feels pressured they will no longer find it fun and will not want to practice with you at home.
This book is also great for practicing numbers. Count how many items of different food the caterpillar is eating. You can also check out this finger painting activity for practicing counting with a caterpillar theme: https://funhandprintartblog.com/fingerprint-counting-printables-for-spring.html. Children love getting messy so they’ll love painting their fingers to create this art piece!
‘5 Minutes Peace’ by Jill Murphy
In ‘5 Minutes Peace’ a Mummy elephant tries to get 5 minutes peace away from her three energetic children. This book is part of a series called ‘The Large Family’ which contains more great titles for younger children. The book is interesting as it is very relatable for both children and parents! You can also watch a video of the story here.
Whilst reading the story ask lots of questions to try and get your child speaking English. One of the elephant children wants his mum to listen to his recorder practice, point to the instrument and ask your child if they know the name of it before reading that page. When turning to a new page a good idea is to ask your child what they see before reading what’s written.
‘The Paddington Bear’ Series by Michael Bond
The Paddington Bear books are about a bear who is adopted by a British family after moving to London from Peru. Paddington Bear gets into a lot of mischief (by accident!) and has many adventures. The first Paddington book was written in 1958 and since then many more have been published. Some of the books include illustrations for younger children and some are more suitable for children who are learning to read. Children will love finding out what funny situations this little bear gets himself into!
Since 2014 there have also been two films made about Paddington bear which children of all ages are sure to love. Why not read some of the books then watch the films together as a family in English?
On the official Paddington site you can find a list of the paddington books and more information about the character and films. This site also has some Paddington colouring pages here.
‘Where the Wild Things’ Are by Maurice Sendak
This story begins with a young boy being sent to bed without supper after wearing a wolf costume and causing chaos downstairs. His room transforms into a jungle-like place and the little boy discovers the ‘wild things’. This is a very imaginative book which children with a vivid imagination, and who love monsters, will love!
There is also a feature length film from 2011 which could be watched in English as a follow up activity after reading the book. After this you could also do a craft activity and ask your little ones to draw their own ‘wild things’. You could also go one step further and bring them to life by creating sculptures using materials such as empty cereal boxes, cardboard toilet roll papers and paints.
Roald Dahl Series by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is often a staple in British households and when asked many adults will remember many Roald Dahl books they read when they were children or films they’ve seen. One of Roald Dahl’s most famous books is ‘Matilda’ which is about an adopted little girl who has special powers. Another favourite is ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ which is about a young boy who wins a ticket to visit a magical chocolate factory.
All of Roald Dahl’s books are fun and magical and a lot have been made into films. The books could be read to older children by parents or children could even attempt to read them independently.
If you’re fortunate to be able to go on a trip there is also a Roald Dahl museum located in Buckinghamshire, England which could be part of a great English practice holiday! This website: https://www.roalddahl.com has more information about Roald Dahl’s books, online quizzes and games for children and lesson plans which could be used as follow up activities by parents at home.
There you have some of our favourite books for children according to age. Remember that many children will really enjoy the idea of reading together as it means spending quality time with their parents so try to make it as fun as possible!
At Break Into English, we have many children taking online English lessons with us and we always encourage parents to get involved in the homework activities we assign between classes to keep them engaged and make it fun for the whole family!
Autora: Katie Gyurkovits de Break Into English, profesora de inglés online.