Kindergarten Book List

Picking books for a Kindergartner can be hard. Because not all of them read. Or, if you have one like my 5yr old. She can read, she just doesn’t want to. So, what do you do to inspire reading? Here’s a few suggestions.

And I would love for you to comment below with a book your Kindergartner (or past Kindergartner) has just loved. Because I’m always looking for new books!

Just One More by Jennifer Hansen Rolli – While not exactly at a Kindergarten reading level. My 5yr old just loves this fun book about a little girl who wants “just one more” of everything until she runs into trouble.

According to my 5yr old she can read it all by herself – which mean’s she’s memorized it. Any time a Kindergartner reads, even if it’s memorized, is good, because she’s still looking at the words as she goes.

This book basically lives on her bedside table so she can read it every night before she goes to bed.

This is another book that sits in a stack by her bed.  She just loves Shopkins. While she still can’t completely read this alone, I’m always happy to read it to her and her older sister will often read it to her as well.

Both of my girls are crazy about Shopkins so this is actually a very popular book with both of them.

While not something she can completely read alone yet, it’s so important still to be reading to your Kindergartner. So find something that she loves and it’ll help a lot with her reading skills.

My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza is a favorite book with not just my Kindergartner but with all of my kids as well. It is a hilarious story about a little pig that “accidentally” shows up at wolf’s front door.

Wolf thinks that it’s his “lucky day” but is it?

We have re-read this story so many times that I have lost count.

If you’re looking for a book to read to your child that you won’t mind reading over and over, My Lucky Day is perfect. It’s cute, funny, and entertaining.

A Mud Pie for Mother by Scott Beck is another super cute book about a little pig.

It’s Momma pig’s birthday and little pig just wants to make her a mud pie. But when he sets out to do this all sorts of problems ensue.

In the end, little pig find the perfect gift for Mother pig.

This book actually has plenty of smaller words that your Kindergartner can read. You’ll have to read a few and she can read a few. It’s a fun and cute book to read together and help your Kindergartner work on her budding reading skills.

Barbie’s Cupcake Challenge is a tad bit advance for a beginning Kindergartner. It’s a level 3 Step into Reading, so it’s very likely that my child will be able to read it by the end of the school year.

My 5yr old told me that this one is one of her favorites and I’m happy to help her read things that she enjoys. There’s plenty more Step into Reading Barbie books out there and they’ll make great incentives or rewards for the next couple of years!

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Kindergarten Necessities

So, you want to homeschool? You’re starting with your Kindergartner, and you have no idea what you should do. You start researching curriculum, you even buy a bunch. There’s not a lot of Kindergarten – compared to other grades. But you still manage to get quite a pile.

Your Kindergartner is less than thrilled. Teaching reading is frustrating. And don’t even get me started on math! Your child doesn’t seem to be learning, and is definitely not having fun. Actually, what is a Kindergartner supposed to learn? If you do a google search, you’ll find a huge list of Kindergarten readiness and even more lists of what your child should know by the end of Kindergarten. It’s overwhelming.

So, let’s start at the top. Kindergarten is from German and literally translated means “Children’s Garden”. It’s supposed to be a time of learning, fun, and adventure.

But how do you do this and still teach the necessary academics?

For starters. What exactly is necessary in Kindergarten? When I was a kid, it was reading, writing, and math. And lots of time on the playground. And even then, it was less than is expected of my kids now. It was totally normal for half the class to be reading by the end of Kindergarten and the other class to just not quite be there yet. But, everyone would be reading by the end of first grade. Nowdays people want their kids to read before they start Kindergarten (check out those Kindergarten readiness lists I mentioned) Speaking of reading, what exactly does that look like for a Kindergartner?

I have 3 academic goals in Kindergarten for my kids. Reading, Math, and Writing. We cover other subjects like history and science. But not in a formal book learning manner. My Kindergartner often sits in while I’m working on history with my 3rd grader. She definitely participates in any and all science experiments – because those are always cool. And we do lots of fun field trips like the local symphony orchestra, replicas of Columbus’s ships, the local science museum, zoo, etc.

But as far as formal teaching. I can’t effectively teach anything else until my child can read, have a basic understanding of numbers, and write legibly.

Because Kindergarten shouldn’t be frustrating. And you should be working with your child at their pace. Here’s what I do. It worked well with my now 3rd grader and it’s producing a non-frustrating year for my Kindergartner.

1. Reading – I love, love, love Hooked on Phonics. I tried it out for my first child and I’m just loving it! Did I mention how awesome it is? The preschool level is all about learning your letter names and sounds – my 3yr old loves to get his book out and “do school” with us. He’ll get out crayons, markers, etc. and trace letters for a good 30 minutes and we’ll discuss the sounds and letter names that he’s tracing.

The K level is all about short vowel words. It’s divided in segments that are easy for a young child to handle. My 5yr old who insists she can’t read, is reading these books just fine. And since each lesson builds on the past one, your child will be reading more and more without realizing how much they actually can read. – Seems to be a common problem in my house. “I can’t read that!” declares the child. Who then reads it, and is shocked that it was way easier than expected.

We barely made it into the 2nd grade level when my oldest decided that she didn’t need them any more. She reads to herself every night when she goes to bed plus other reading for school and such throughout the day. She really didn’t need any more teaching on how to read by this stage, so we dropped it. I do have the books through 4th grade in case I need them though.

One awesome things about hooked on phonics, if you’re on a tight budget, these books can usually be found at your local library and you can just keep borrowing them over and over as you need them.

One other thing that has really helped our reading is these blend ladders from Abeka. We work on a sheet a day – sometimes the same sheet for a couple of days. And it’s great at helping kids get comfortable putting two sounds together. It’s always amazing to me how my children’s reading makes a huge leap forward at the exact same time that reading blends becomes easy.

Education2. Math – My favorite math is Abeka. It’s possible that this is because this is the math I grew up with. However, it also seems to work well for my girls. The pages are colorful. And everything is in short segments. There’s one clock, 5 addition problems, 5 number order problems, a color by number, etc.

Here’s the thing about math. I know Abeka is this way, and I assume a lot of other math curriculum is this way as well. They repeat the same thing every year. So, if your child doesn’t get it completely the first year. Don’t stress, they’ll get it next year or the year after. If you’re child is way behind, I would be concerned. But if your Kindergartner is basically on par with their peers and can generally do their math with assistance from you. They’re just fine.

For my oldest, I spent the entire Kindergarten year explaining what addition and subtraction are. She figured it out just fine by 1st grade. For my current Kindergartner, she already knew this somehow. I think my oldest must have taught her. Teaching her math is so easy! Addition, subtraction, number sequence, telling time, and patterns are all Kindergarten skills.

For you parents with a struggling Kindergartner, the key is just perseverance. Keep teaching them and they will get it. How do I know? you ask. Well, I would classify my current 3rd grader as struggling in math until this year. K through 2nd grade was just hard. She’s very literal and just struggled if you changed anything (like 5+2 and 2+5 being the same thing was hard for her to grasp). This year, in 3rd grade – which is WAY harder than previous grades – things seem to have finally clicked. Math isn’t her favorite subject, but she’s no longer struggling with it – and we’re already doing long division 1/4 of the way through the year. (actually, spelling somehow tops the list as “most hated 3rd grade subject”).

So, if your child is struggling, just keep patiently explaining it to them over and over. Sometimes it’s just a matter of their ability to analyze things catching up with what you’re trying to teach them. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a great motto for math.

3. Handwriting – First things first, don’t stress if you can’t read your kindergartner’s handwriting. It’ll be a few years before most kids can really hold a pencil perfectly. The key at this age is that they’re at least trying to form the letters and numbers properly. Writing some numbers and letters backwards is perfectly normal. Just keep modeling the right way to write and they’ll get it eventually.

I did get a writing curriculum – just the worksheets – because I like having a curriculum. But, to be honest, my Kindergartner’s best writing practice is done on this dry erase book. It’s $4 on Amazon and has free shipping if you have prime. Well worth the money, in my opinion. She’ll spend a good deal of time each week tracing, erasing, and re-tracing her letters. I’m perfectly happy to let her do this instead of her handwriting curriculum. The goal is that she learn how to write her letters and any method that she likes is good with me.

K is for Kinder

Did you know that our word Kindergarten is from German? Literally translated it means Children Garden. The original Kindergartens were designed as a place for pre-school children to play and grow. The word itself pictures the natural growth of childhood in a nurturing environment.

I remember my year in Kindergarten as being so much fun. I did learn to read, and I’m pretty sure I learned to count, and I definitely remember all the cool toys we got to play with, the playground, and the fun performance we got to put on for our parents at the end. Oh, and I loved my teacher, she was so sweet, and learning was so much fun.

And that’s what I think of Kindergarten and all the pre-school years. They should be years of fun, wonder, and nuture. Years where my children grow without the pressures of growing up. Like little flowers in a garden. To be carefully tended, loved, taught, and encouraged to bloom. You can’t make a flower bloom any faster by opening it up yourself, you have to wait. And just like flowers, each child will bloom when they’re ready. And not all will bloom at the same time.

I’m reminded of this line from Mulan – My, my, what beautiful blossoms we have this year. But look, this one’s late! I bet when it blooms, it will be most beautiful of all” by Fa Zhou – I provide all the nuture, care, attention, training, teaching, etc. and my children will bloom when they’re ready.

So, let your children be children. Let them enjoy being children. Because childhood is so magical, and so short.



The other day I pulled an old Kindergarten book of mine out of the drawer and added it to my Kindergartner’s stack of schoolwork for the day. Now, we have about 4 lessons left in her Kindergarten Hooked on Phonics so I’m about to order the First Grade set even though we’re only halfway through her first school year. So, I know she can read my old Kindergarten book, it’s 3 and 4 letter words, two to three sentences per page, and a picture to help. She’s read just about every one of these words in her Hooked on Phonics book, and the words she hasn’t read she knows how to sound out.

I hand the book to her and she takes one look at it and announces that she can’t read it. She’s convinced that because it’s a different book than what she’s used to it’s simply not readable (I am aware that this is a problem, she thinks she can only read her hooked on phonics stuff so my goal with this book is to prove to her that she CAN read other books and I waited until I was sure she could read this book pretty easily before handing it to her, I need this to be an easy success so I can get her reading other books). I informed her that she only needed to read the first page, it’s two sentences and about 8 words total. Pretty easy. It takes FOREVER to read that page because she’s convinced she doesn’t know the words, yet she is able to sound each of them out and read the sentences. The next day I have her read the second page, which is again two sentences and about 8 words total, this goes much better since she’s beginning to realize that she can read the book. The third day she reads the third page with practically no help, and then the fourth day she decides that she’s just going to read the last 3 stories in the book in one day because they’re so easy! After we finish the book I point out to her that this is book 1 (it has a big 1 on the front) and that I have book 2 for us to read the next day. She’s so excited because she loves stories and she’s realized that she can read these books that I’m handing her, chances are she’ll try to read all of book 2 in one day.

I knew she could read the books and I know what words she can sound out and which ones she needs help with (we’ve covered long and short vowels but haven’t learned things like “oo” and “st” yet) so I’m not expecting something she can’t do. She just thinks I’m asking her to do something that is impossible.

My oldest child reminds me of myself so much. I was reminded of how I reacted when I found out I was pregnant with her.

My husband and I had been married for almost two years, I had three months left of college and I wasn’t working at the time so really we were in a pretty good situation to have a baby. Only, I wasn’t ready for a baby. My brother-in-law was living with us at the time (was supposed to be 3 months with us in our 2 bedroom apartment and had been almost a year), I was heading into my Law School finals with terrible morning/all day sickness, I was really looking forward to getting a job when I finished school, and I didn’t want kids yet.

I’m the oldest of 8 kids and I had told my husband before we got married that I would probably want a child or two eventually but I did not want kids for quite a while. He would have liked a baby sooner but he was willing to wait for me to be ready. When I got married my youngest sister was 5 – she was my flower girl, so you get the idea. I know babies and young children, I grew up with them. I really wanted a few baby free years.

I was not happy to be pregnant, I was pretty certain the timing was all wrong, and I told God that I really did not think this was funny at all, seriously, I’m enjoying my “Hooked on Phonics” books, let’s just stay here for a while. I’m sure he does things like this to me because it’s funny – not a mean, malicious funny, but like how I felt trying to convince my 5 yr old that she can read a book that’s almost too easy for her. It is funny, why is she resisting so much, if she would just do it she would realize how easy it is…

I finally got over it when my baby girl arrived (by this time we had bought a 3 bedroom house and kicked my brother-in-law out, and I had successfully finished school), and I really felt like my 5 year old did when she realized that the book I handed her was something she could read, I wasn’t lying when I told her she could read it.

I’m the oldest of 8 kids, I grew up with babies. My Pediatrician probably thought I was the craziest first time mom ever. I never had questions, never freaked out over anything, and was very laid back about this whole parenting thing. But, really, what do you expect, the only thing I had to learn how to do was nurse, other than that, I’d done this baby care thing many times. I remember being actually bored with my first because I had so much free time after she arrived – she slept so much and I had no school, no work, and a clean house. I can just see God laughing at me and saying “I told you, you know how to do this”. (really, I think that if our society liked kids more, large families would be more normal, and there would be a lot less of this “freaking out over the first baby because I don’t know what to do with a baby” syndrome, but that’s a different topic for a different day)

Now, I have 3 kids and plan to have a 4th eventually (it’s like the stack of books hidden away in the drawer, once she found out she could read the first one she’s ready for the whole stack). I will admit, the third child threw me for a loop (plus my oldest started kindergarten and we’re homeschooling so imagine an infant and homeschooling for the first time! Scheduling Crisis!!!), I remembered the craziness that comes with multiple young children (I grew up with this, remember) and I’ve accepted it. Seven months in, we’re finally settled in, and my house is never clean. But, I honestly feel like I’ve just graduated from the “easy readers” or “I Can Read” as her books are titled to something a little bit more robust like a good mystery and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds.