Books for Children Two to Six

The Road to Reading: Books for Children Two to Six

In the years between two and six, children are ready for stories. They are able to follow a simple narrative with characters, conflict and resolution. The development of language skills is rapid during these years, and children are gaining confidence about the world around them. It is a time when imagination and curiosity blossom. It is the perfect time for picture books and stories to be read aloud.

When choosing books for this age, you will be looking at slightly more complex texts with good rhythm and word repetition. Illustration plays a central role in a picture book, becoming an integral part of the storytelling process.

Look for these:

  • Books that reflect the everyday world familiar to children, such as playing with friends, visiting family and going to sleep.
  • Books that encourage children to play with words and phrases.
  • Books that both you and your child can enjoy.
  • Books with simple, repetitive text that encourages children to join in during read alouds.
  • Books that present extraordinary as well as ordinary situations.
  • Books that will stretch a child’s attention span and build vocabulary.
  • Books that confirm and expand a child’s view of the world.
  • Books of poetry and verse.
  • Theme-related reading to enhance experiences and events.
  • Large-format books for reading to groups of children.

At this stage, selecting books can be as much fun as reading them. And if you find your child returning to an old favourite again and again at the library, perhaps it’s time for a trip to your local bookstore to make that special book part of your child’s own library.

And remember, you’re not just teaching your child how to read, but nurturing a love of books and reading. Right now your child is looking at the pictures, listening to your voice and enjoying your attention and closeness. A positive experience with books in these formative years will set the stage for strong reading skills in the future.


  • Make regular visits to the library a part of your routine. Get library cards for your children and let them check out their own books. You can help your children choose books, but it is important to respect their choices, too.
  • Combine a favourite book with an activity. After reading My New Shirt by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dušan Petričić, go shopping for new clothes. Visit the park and look for the animals your children find in In My Backyard by Margriet Ruurs and illustrated by Ron Broda. Or make your own optical illusions after you share The Painted Circus: P.T. Vermin Presents a Mesmerizing Menagerie of Trickery and Illusion Guaranteed to Beguile and Bamboozle the Beholder by Wallace Edwards.
  • You can introduce your children to authors and illustrators without ever leaving your home. After you read a book with your children, why not listen to the author read from their book on tape and sometimes even online! For example, listen to Robert Munsch read aloud a bunch of his best stories in the storytime section of his website (!
  • Children love pictures and what better way to introduce your child to an appreciation of art than through the books they love? Why not read a picture book and then have your kids design their own cover for the book