top of page

What Should a 3-Year-Old Read? Spark a Lifelong Love of Learning

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. I recommend only books I think kids will love.

How Do I Choose a Book For My 3 Year Old? (Read This!)

What Should a 3-Year-Old Read? We have the answers to that question! Have you ever curled up with your 3-year-old and watched their eyes light up with wonder? They giggle at silly sounds, point at colorful pictures, and maybe even try to copy the letters on the page. That's the magic of reading together! But with so many books out there, where do you even begin? Don't worry, grown-ups, this guide is here to help! We'll explore the exciting world of books for 3-year-olds and help you find the perfect stories to set your little one on a lifelong adventure with reading.

a book recommendation that showcases the top books for 3 year old kids to read, and books for parents to read to their toddlers 3 years old and up
See What Books Are Recommended For 3 Year Olds To Read

Why Reading Matters for Super-Awesome 3-Year-Olds

Reading time with your little superhero isn't just about snuggles (although those are pretty awesome too!). It's like a secret superpower that helps their brains grow in all sorts of cool ways:

  • Brainpower Boost: Just like muscles get stronger with exercise, brains get stronger by learning new things! Reading exposes 3-year-olds to new words and ideas, making their brains super smart.

  • Language Littles: Reading is like a fun practice session for talking! With all those rhymes and silly sounds, your little one is learning the building blocks they need to become a reading champion.

  • Social-Emotional Smarts: Books can be like magic mirrors, showing all kinds of feelings – happy, sad, angry, you name it! This helps 3-year-olds understand their own emotions and those of others, making them super empathetic superheroes.

  • Bonding & Connection: Snuggle time with a book is the perfect way to connect with your little one. It creates a warm, loving space where you can share special moments and make memories that will last a lifetime.

So next time you grab a book, remember – you're not just reading a story, you're helping your child grow in amazing ways!

Choosing the Perfect Books for 3-Year-Olds

Every 3-year-old is unique, just like their favorite superhero! Some might love animals, while others prefer zooming around in trucks. That's why there are so many different kinds of books to choose from. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Interactive Lift-the-Flap Books

These books are like little treasure troves! With flaps to peek under and surprises to discover, they're perfect for curious little hands.

Examples of Lift-the-Flap Books for 3-Year-Olds

a promotion for Highly Recommended Lift-the-Flap Books for 3-Year-Olds, with 4 great books on the promotion image
Highly Recommended Lift-the-Flap Books for 3-Year-Olds

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. (This book takes your little one on a vibrant alphabet adventure with flaps to lift and explore!)

  • Where’s Spot?” by Eric Hill (Can you help find Spot the playful puppy? Lift the flaps and see!)

  • "The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Forest Hide & Seek" by Eric Carle (Join the Very Hungry Caterpillar on a lift-the-flap adventure through the forest! Peek under colorful leaves to find hidden woodland friends in this delightful finger-trail board book.)

  • "P is for Potty! (Sesame Street)" by Naomi Kleinberg (Sesame Street's Elmo teaches toddlers about using the potty in this fun and colorful lift-the-flap board book! With over 30 flaps to explore, potty training becomes a playful adventure.)

Durable Board Books

These sturdy, colorful books are perfect for little explorers who are still learning to control their mighty grasp. They can handle some chewing and grabbing, so your 3-year-old can read worry-free.

Examples of Board Books for 3-Year-Olds

A collage featuring the cover art of several children's board books with lift-the-flaps. These books are some of the top picks for curious 3-year-olds in 2024.
Highly Recommended Board Books for 3-Year-Olds

  • Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown (This soothing classic with beautiful illustrations is the perfect way to wind down for bedtime.)

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr. (This repetitive and rhythmic story with engaging animal illustrations is a favorite for many 3-year-olds!)

  • "My First Library: Boxset of 10 Board Books for Kids" by Wonder House Books (Spark a love of learning with this engaging box set! Ten colorful board books cover the ABCs, numbers, shapes, animals, and more, all designed to introduce toddlers to the world around them.)

  • "Giraffes Can't Dance" by Giles Andreae (Giraffes Can't Dance is a story about a giraffe who dreams of dancing but feels too clumsy. With a little help from a friend, Gerald finds his rhythm and learns that anyone can dance!)

Sing-Along Story Books

These books combine the joy of reading with the magic of music! With buttons you can push or songs you can sing along to, they make story time even more exciting.

Examples of Sing-Along Story Books for 3-Year-Olds

A collage of colorful children's book covers featuring highly recommended sing-along story books for 3-year-olds. Some of the titles include: Old MacDonald Had a Farm, The Wheels on the Bus, Bedtime Songs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Fairy Tales.
Highly Recommended Sing-Along Story Books for 3-Year-Olds

  • Old MacDonald Had a Farm” by Yu-hsuan Huang (Sing along to the familiar farmyard animals with this classic rhyme and sound effects!)

  • Wheels on the Bus” by Editors of Phoenix International Publications (Wheels on the Bus… with a twist! Sing and wiggle along with a lively crew of animal friends as they explore town on a fun-filled ride!)

  • "Bedtime Songs" by Scarlett Wing & Cottage Door Press (Sweet dreams start here! This charming songbook features classic lullabies and a sturdy, vintage-inspired design, making bedtime snuggles a melodic delight for little ones and grown-ups alike.)

  • "Fairy Tales Take Along Storyteller" by Cottage Door Press (Fairy tales on the go! Sing and read along to classic stories and songs with this portable player and 10 hardcover books. Perfect for car rides, bedtime snuggles, and sparking a love for reading!)

Touch-and-Feel Books

These books add another layer of fun to story time with all sorts of different textures! Your little one can explore furry animals, bumpy surfaces, and more with their fingertips.

Examples of Touch-and-Feel Books for 3-Year-Olds

A collage featuring the cover art of several children's board books with textured elements. These books are highly recommended touch-and-feel books for curious 3-year-olds in 2024. Little ones will love exploring the various textures that bring these stories to life.
Highly Recommended Touch-and-Feel Books for 3-Year-Olds

  • Pat the Cat” by Edith Kunhardt Davis (This classic touch-and-feel book has a simple story and adorable illustrations with different textures to explore.)

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Touch and Feel Playbook” by Eric Carle (This timeless story with captivating illustrations incorporates a touch-and-feel element on the last page, making it extra special for little ones!)

  • "Ocean Friends - Touch and Feel" by Little Hippo Books (Dive into squishy fun! "Ocean Friends" is a touch-and-feel board book filled with real ocean creatures and amazing textures, perfect for curious little explorers.)

  • "Bright Baby Touch & Feel Boxed Set" by Roger Priddy (Tiny hands, big adventures! This adorable touch-and-feel box set lets babies explore the farm, zoo, and more with playful rhymes, bright illustrations, and exciting textures.)

More Book Fun! Ways to Make Reading Magical for Your Little One

This is just a starting point! There's a whole world of wonderful children's books waiting to be discovered. Visit Our Blog for recommendations, explore different genres at the bookstore, and most importantly, have fun reading together!

What Makes a Great Book for a 3-Year-Old?

Now that we've explored the benefits of reading and shared some fun book ideas, let's delve into what truly makes a book captivating for a 3-year-old:

  • Eye-Catching Illustrations: Bright, colorful pictures with clear and simple visuals are key. Look for books with illustrations that tell a story on their own, allowing your child to point out objects and actively participate in the reading experience.

  • Simple, Engaging Text: Short, rhyming sentences with repetition are easy for toddlers to follow along with. They'll love to chime in on familiar phrases and predictable patterns, making story time even more enjoyable.

  • Interactive Elements:  Books with flaps to lift, textures to touch, or sounds to make can add a whole new dimension to storytelling and keep your child actively engaged.

  • Relatable Themes: Stories that explore familiar experiences like bath time, mealtime, bedtime, or playing with friends resonate with 3-year-olds and spark their curiosity about the world around them.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can select books that will hold your child's attention, nurture their development, and become treasured favorites.

A New Read Aloud Book To Read To 3+ Year Olds

Is Santa ready for some spooky tricks? Buckle up for a hilarious spooky (not-so-spooky) holiday mashup in "When Halloween Took Over Christmas"! This wacky rhyming adventure is perfect for a read aloud story time with your little ones (ages 3-5), or for the older kids 5-12 to read on their own. Join mischievous monsters and rapping llamas as they turn Santa's workshop into a whirlwind of spooky cheer. It's a guaranteed giggle-fest for the entire family, all year round! Click here to see why "When Halloween Took Over Christmas" will be your new favorite read-aloud!

Building a Love of Reading: Tips for Long-Term Engagement

Here are some tips to cultivate a love of reading in your 3-year-old and keep those story times magical:

  • Create a Cozy Reading Routine: Set aside dedicated time each day for snuggle time with a book. Make it a special time free from distractions, like phones or TVs.

  • Let Your Child Choose:  Empower your little one by letting them pick out a book (or two!) from their bookshelf whenever they want to read. This fosters a sense of ownership and encourages exploration.

  • Be Animated and Expressive!: Use different voices for characters, make funny sound effects, and point to the pictures as you read. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and make story time even more fun!

  • Ask Questions and Encourage Interaction: Talk about the story, ask your child questions about the pictures, and let them participate in the narrative. This will keep them engaged and help them understand the story better.

  • Lead by Example: Let your child see you reading for pleasure. This shows them that reading is a valuable and enjoyable activity that they can grow into.

By following these tips and creating a positive reading environment, you'll be well on your way to raising a little bookworm! So, now that you're armed with this guide, get ready to enjoy a wonderful journey of discovery with your 3-year-old! Happy reading!

Bonus Tip: Make story time even more special by incorporating it into your daily routine. Can't find a book about brushing teeth? Create your own! Grab some construction paper, crayons, and maybe a few stickers, and let your child help you draw and write a simple story about brushing away the sugar bugs.

Remember, reading should be a fun and joyful experience for both you and your child. So relax, have fun, and get ready to create lasting memories together!

Read Our Other Great Blogs About Children's Books

1 Comment

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
May 22
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

My 3 year old loves some of these books, and the other books look great as well. Looking forward to reading them. - Michelle

bottom of page