Pre-Kindergarten Literacy | 123Read&Write

Pre-Kindergarten literacy is focused on stimulating the child's visual and auditory discrimination, associating ideas found within the text, and building logical sequences of ideas. Pre-K literacy helps strenghten the child's comprehension by activating their prior knowledge, requiring them to recall information from the text, increasing their vocabulary levels, and connecting the story to their own life.

The activities presented with the Pre-Kindergarten 123Read&Write comprehension units utilize different strategies to help promote growth in oral language comprehension, vocabulary building, alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and knowledge of print. Units concentrate on the basic concepts of colors and shape, upper and lowercase letters, and beginning and ending sounds. They also provide creative outlets for children to draw or write about their understanding of the text.

Narrative Text Units

Listed below 123Read&Write present five picture books to use with your Pre-Kindergarten child: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, My Many colored Days, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Corduroy. On each book's link you will find a short comprehension test, five follow up lesson plan activities relating to the important aspects of Pre-Kindergarten literacy, and a video correlating to the book presented.


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Interest Level: K-2

Reading Level: 1.9

The timeless line "A told B, and B told C, I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree" from the children’s book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr., remains in countless parent’s minds to this day. As an alphabet recognition book, there is no better story to intrigue young minds to the wonders of reading!

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My Many Colored Days

Interest Level: K-2

Reading Level: 1.5

As a simplistic book about discovering and understanding one’s feelings, My Many Colored Days is a rare gem that not only children will love; but adults who share in this book will also enjoy it. The book itself is a work of beauty. The vibrant use of color and distinguished shading techniques, by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, work to perfection! I love the vibrant orange days, when “I’m a circus seal!” Or, the neon glow of a flamingo when the day is “happy pink.” The book does such a wonderful job of describing human emotions in a simplistic way; that as an adult, I sometimes correlate my days with the colors represented in this book.


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Interest Level: Pre K - 3

Reading Level: 3.2

The true wonder of the If You Give a Mouse series is its circular structure. Kids love the way the story works; and the way its pattern works its way back to the beginning of the story. Half the fun is guessing how the story will indeed work its way back! If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff (illustrated by Felicia Bond) is the landmark in this series. It’s based on a kind, young boy giving a cookie to a cute, yet hungry mouse. From here, the little boy is in for a busy day keeping up with the mouse’s requests. 


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Interest Level: K-2

Reading Level: 2.6

An all-time favorite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, tells the tale of a caterpillar whose eyes are bigger than his stomache. During his day, he eats way too much food, causing him to not feel very well. In the end, the caterpillar wraps himself in a cocoon and the reader is treated to a surprise at the end.



Interest Level: K-2

Reading Level: 3.2

Everybody's favorite lonely bear, Corduroy, will attempt anything to be adopted by a little girl, whom he sees in the department store. Corduroy is a heartfelt story for young and old, offering a feeling of enduring hope. Don Freeman's classic bear was created over 30 years ago and still is able to evoke imagination in all who read the story of this lovable little bear. 

Best Reads for Pre-K

Pre-K books come in many different forms, and the age of your child will depend on what type of book you select. This age level of books starts off with board books, pop-up books, and interactive books, and transitions on to paperback picture books. Sometimes you will find a book that appears in more than one form; The Very Hungry Caterpillar for example. You'll find a small board book version, but you'll also find the paperback version with caterpillar bites taken out of each page. 

Visit the 123Read&Write Bookstore for these best reads and others by the same authors.

Margaret Wise Brown

Good Night Moon and The Runaway Bunny are classics which stand the test of time. Good Night Moon is the simplest of books where each page shows the little bunny bidding, "Good night" to all the items found within his room. The sing-songy words of the book allow young children to mimic this phrase and read along with their parent. My own children always continued this book's pattern by saying, "Goodnight" to all the things found within their own bedrooms. The Runaway Bunny is one from my own childhood that is still a beautiful book to read. This book shows children the love and support a parent has for their child. No matter how much the little bunny might want to run away, his parent will be right by his side the entire time. The color illustrations intrigue the reader as they search for the "hidden" bunny within the scene.

Eric Carle

Eric Carle is an author and illustrator who presents his unique style of colorful painting in his books. Watching a video of Eric Carle creating his artwork is worth the time. It's the most simplistic process to recreate at home with your own children. It is these colorful illustrations that bring life to his books. Some of the favorite works include: The Grouchy Ladybug - The Mixed Up Chameleon - The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?  - A House For Hermit Crab - and Dream Snow

Bill Martin Jr.

Bill Martin Jr. brought us the fun and vibrant Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom! as well as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The Brown Bear series (which includes others such as Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?) are books that are built upon a phrase that is repeated throughout the entire book. Relying on the pattern and using the pictures as cues, even the youngest of children are able to read these books. This is ideal for the child at the pre-emergent level of reading. Toddlers can "read" these books - giving them ownership of the reading process.

Sandra Boynton

Sandra Boynton writes fun rhyming books for the pre-k child. Her books feature cute, pastel colored animals that engage in fun activities that delight the child. The cute factor in these books is high - and the fun storyline makes you giggle along with your child. Moo, Baa, La-La-La - Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! - Not the Hippopotamus are among the best Sandra Boynton books. 

Mercer Mayer

Mercer Mayer's books are all written about a Little Critter who experiences life in his own klutzy way.  The Little Critter series engages children's attention with a cute "critter" who finds himself in a mess no matter where he goes or who he tries to help. Moms and Dads find humor in the relationship between the Little Critter and his parents. Kids find humor in the Little Critter's adventures. Little Critter favorites include: Just Go To Bed - Just For You - I Was So Mad - and Just Me and My Dad.

Rosemary Wells

Rosemary Wells is the creator of the Max and Ruby series. Max and Ruby are bunnies who live near their grandmother and experience life as a family. Ruby is a very particular bunny who wants everything to be perfect. Max, her little brother, is messy and mischievious and usually ruins Ruby's well-thought-out plans. The combination of the two opposing personalities makes you laugh out loud. Bunny Cakes - Bunny Money - Max's Dragon Shirt - Max Cleans Up - Ruby's Beauty Shop - and Max's Bedtime are examples of Rosemary Wells' best reads. 

Karen Katz

Karent Katz's interactive board books are for the younger pre-k child. What I love about her books is that they have a peek-a-boo flap for the child to use on each page. This keeps the child engaged and makes them feel as if they are a part of the story. Even the youngest of children can find the belly button, baby, or pumpkin by simply lifting the flap. Best reads for Karen Katz include: Peek-A-Baby - Where Is Baby's Belly Button? - Counting Kisses - and Where Is Baby's Pumpkin?

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen has many classics, but her dinosaur series is what I personally find exciting. These books include titles such as: How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? - How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? - and How Do Dinosaurs Count To Ten? While these picture books are enjoyed by all pre-k children, the inclusion of dinosaurs reels in the attention of the young boys. Each of the dinosaur books includes many different prehistoric creatures, from a T-Rex to a Brachiosaurus to a Velociraptor, living in a house with a human mom and dad. Each story focuses on a simple lesson in etiquette, teaching all the young readers how to behave.

Mo Willems

Mo Willems writes a number of series that are considered best reads. For the pre-k child, you'll want to select books from the Knuffle Bunny and Pigeon series. Knuffle Bunny is Trixie's best stuffed bunny who goes everywhere with her, except when she leaves him behind… accidentally. Although Knuffle Bunny is a stuffed animal, you can almost read his expressions as he follows Trixie's adventures. The Pigeon is a chatty character who grumps and groans and  carries on in an agitated fashion about whatever predicament he's stumbled upon. The Pigeon is sure to make your child laugh! Best reads on Knuffle Bunny and the Pigeon are: Knuffle Bunny, a Cautionary Tale - Knuffle Bunny Too - The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! - Don't Let the Pigeon Drive a Bus! - The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! - and The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!

Laura Numeroff

Laura Numeroff brings us the Mouse series, which also includes a Moose, a Dog, a Cat, and a Pig. Mouse series favorites include: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - If You Give a Moose a Muffin - If You Give a Dog a Donut - If You Give a Cat a Cupcake - and If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Each of these animal's books are based on cause and effect. One event happens and in turn, causes another event to happen. This second event has yet another effect and the storyline continues until it comes full circle back to the first event that occurred. These stories are enjoyed by all pre-k readers and their parents as they watch animals act much like toddlers with their short attention span and mess making capacity. 

Expository Text Units