12 Highly Recommended Picture Books to Read with your Preschoolers

Reading books with your kids has a positive effect on later language, reading and maths skills; increases sustained attention; and reduces negative behaviours (Baker et al., 2013).

Peer-reviewed evidence shows that preschoolers have better outcomes when they participate actively in reading (Britto et al., 2006). On the other hand, reading books in a non-interactive way does not work as well, especially for children at risk for language delays or reading problems (e.g. Dickinson & Tabors, 2001). Children do not do as well when they just sit on your lap or lie in bed half-asleep being read to or at.

In this 21-page free resource, we reference 12 excellent picture books we use regularly in speech and language therapy for preschoolers, with lots of practical tips to make reading more interactive and fun for you and your child.

Each book has been selected by our speech pathologists to stimulate oral language development and print awareness:

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson
  • The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland
  • The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
  • Alexander’s Outing by Pamela Allen
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
  • Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley by Aaron Blabey
  • Bertie and the Bear by Pamela Allen
  • Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

For each book, we include specific vocabulary suggestions and preschooler-friendly definitions. Here’s an example of the vocabulary ‘power words’ for The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

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We hope you enjoy using this resource with your child!

Note: We do not have commercial relationships with, or earn commissions from, any sellers or distributors of the referenced books. We just like these books. All photographs of the referenced books were taken by Banter Speech & Language.


Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.

Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language

Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.

David Kinnane
Speech-Language Pathologist. Lawyer. Father. Reader. Writer. Speaker.

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