Five years old is a very important milestone in the life of a child.
He/she is at the kindergarten age where reading has become an integral part of their development. Therefore, it is important to help foster a love for reading as well as reading stories for them that help with their imagination and teach them life skills and other important lessons.
In this list, I’ll give you 20 titles that are perfect for any 5 year old. They’re perfect for reading during story time, at bedtime or whenever your child wants to just read by themselves.
From time-tested classics like “Goodnight Moon” to more contemporary winners like “It’s Time to Say Goodnight”, you’ll find some great suggestions that may turn out to be a favorite with your little one.
Here are 20 of the best read-aloud books which are perfect for 5 year olds.
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1. Goodnight Moon
This classic and timeless bedtime staple is the perfect read-aloud book for every 5 year old.
Tucked into his bed, a little bunny says goodnight to all the things he could see in his softly lit room.
It’s a soothing rhythmic read of poetry that will engage your child and before long he/she will be saying goodnight to all the objects in the room as well as the moon.
2. One Is a Lot (Except When It’s Not)
Using just three numbers – 0, 1 and 2 – One is a Lot is thought provoking book for young ones that provide parents with the opportunity to teach lessons in appreciation.
With playful illustrations and humor, the book looks at how 1 can either be a lot (like 1 sun), or how 2 can be too much (like two acorns for a tiny squirrel) or how 0 can be perfect (as in rain clouds).
It’s a fun story that will introduce your child to critical thinking, observation and allow discussion.
3. Made For Me
You’ll never find a more perfect book than “Made For Me” to read to your child at bedtime.
“Made For Me” is a touching read – a parent’s ode to his child’s first years of life. Of all the children that ever could be / You are the one made just for me.
Even though the illustrations in the book feature a dad and his baby, the book could easily relate to moms as well as there are no gender specific words to identify the parent or the child. There are words that indicate that it’s especially made to be read at bedtime.
This would make a great Father’s Day gift for a new dad (or just about any dad.)
4. Harry Bear & Friends Count Fish
With just 16 pages, “Harry Bear & Friends Count Fish” is an easy enough read for a 5 year old who is just learning to read.
This book not only promotes reading but also encourages counting from one to ten as the bear goes to the lake and counts all the fish he sees in the water.
He also notices the differences with the fish – there are short fish, long fish, yellow fish, blue fish and so on.
It’s an engaging and educational but most of all fun read for your kindergarten-aged little one.
5. That’s (Not) Mine
The second in a book series called You Are Not Small, “That’s (Not) Mine” features two fuzzy creatures who both want to sit in the same comfy chair.
They can’t decide who the chair belongs to so this turns into a disagreement. Hilarity ensues as both creatures try to claim the chair. Will this end their friendship? Or will they end up sharing.
Kids will love this book for it’s simple fun story and illustrations. It’s also one that teaches valuable lessons in friendship and sharing.
6. Goodnight Underwear
This perfectly silly bedtime story will have your child giggling while tucked in and falling asleep with a smile on his/her face.
In “Goodnight Underwear“, a bear and his friends have a fun sleepover in a forest clearing but things don’t exactly go right. From mosquitos to scary sounds and finally, rain, they end up having to sleep in a cabin. Bear says goodnight to everyone and everything in sight with the final goodnight reserved for his underwear.
If you like the classic “Goodnight Moon” (#1 on this list), you’ll enjoy reading this one to your 5 year old as much as he’ll enjoy the story.
7. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Lyle is the happiest crocodile in his neighborhood. He lives in a house on East 88th Street, New York City and gets along well with everyone.
But there’s one neighbor, Mr. Grumps and his cat, who thinks Lyle belongs in a zoo. Lyle tries to win them over but everything seems to go wrong.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is part of a series of books featuring Lyle the crocodile and is a great read for kids 4-7 years old.
It’s especially fun for kids who love animal characters. If your child enjoys this one, you may eventually want to get the others.
8. Stop and Go!
Mommy and daughter drive through the city and encounter various situations where they stop and go.
Stop signs, red lights, policemen and railroad crossings can all say stop. Green lights, policemen, and when the bridge is not up can all mean go.
It’s a fun ride through the city where your child will learn how stop and go can apply in different settings. It’s also a very easy read for kids.
Stop and Go! was written by Harriet Ziefert who wrote a lot of the books that are on this list.
9. It’s Time To Say Goodnight
A little boy wakes up and goes about his day saying ‘good morning’ to everything in sight – the animals, the sun, the trucks, the trees and more.
He has so much fun saying ‘good morning’ that by the time he’s finished, it’s time to say ‘goodnight’.
It’s an endearing bedtime story with beautiful illustrations that is sure to be a hit with any 5 year old. “It’s Time to Say Goodnight” is in the same vein of classics like “Goodnight Moon” which is at #1 on this list.
10. The Polar Express
“The Polar Express” is about a boy who, on Christmas Eve, gets on a train bound for the North Pole. He gets to meet Santa Clause and gets to pick his present.
This book written in 1986 is now a certified Christmas classic, and has been read in schools or traditionally read by families around Christmas time.
The magical story has also been made into a movie. However, the book is a must have for anyone who is a believer in Santa Clause and the spirit of Christmas.
11. Everyone Is Someone
Some adults can learn a thing or two from this book entitled “Everyone is Someone“.
Written for kids 2-6 years old, this book while simple in it’s writing, teaches children that no matter how much people may look different to you, we are more alike than we are different.
With simple rhymes like “no matter how big, no matter how small, everyone is someone we need to love all” this book teaches a very big lesson children should be learning.
12. Fancy Nancy
From wearing fancy clothes to playing with fancy toys and using fancy words, Nancy knows how to be fancy.
Her family is exactly the opposite and Nancy is determined to teach them a thing or two about being fancy.
“Fancy Nancy” is part of a series of 19 books featuring Nancy being fancy. It’s a great, fun book that can help build your child’s vocabulary at an early stage. For example, a fancy word for ‘great’ is ‘stupendous’ and a fancy word for driver is “chauffeur”.
The illustrations in the book also help tell Nancy’s story and show how fancy she really is.
13. But First, We Nap
Bunny wants to play. Sloth wants to nap. Bunny’s tricks to try to convince Sloth to play instead of napping are met with responses of ”But first, we nap”.
Many children this age do not care too much for napping. “But First, We Nap” is a hilarious book that can help you conquer the nap time struggle.
In the end the bunny, after tiring himself out with his antics to get sloth to play, ends up taking a nap himself. Funny illustrations make this book the perfect story to read before nap-time.
14. We Are (Not) Friends
Book 4 in the series You Are Not Small is “We Are (Not) Friends“. It features two fuzzy creatures who are having a play date when another fuzzy creature decides to join them.
The problem is that as the day goes by each friend feels left out at times to the point where they try to sabotage each other and even their new friend.
It’s a humorous and playful look at the dynamics of friendships and an opportunity to teach an important lesson in social skills – that they can all be friends and have fun playing together.
15. Monster, Be Good!
Filled with cute and not so scary monsters, “Monster, Be Good!” puts your child in the drivers seat. When the monsters act up by being scary, wild and noisy, it’s up to your little one to tell them what they should do instead.
This book does a great job of showing kids how to control and correct common behavioral issues without being preachy.
The fun illustrations and interactive dialogue make this a great book for kids of a very young age (as soon as they can hold a book and grasp the concept of reading).
16. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
In this light-hearted story of cause and effect, a little boy gives a mouse a cookie which makes the mouse want even more. For example, he wants some milk to wash down the cookie and when he gets the milk, he wants a straw to drink it with.
It goes on and on until the usually energetic boy is tired.
“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” is a favorite among children who have heard the story and many adults consider it a classic from their childhood. It’s a great book for beginner readers and for reading at story time.
17. At The Stroke of Goodnight
This calming lullaby is the perfect bedtime story for your little one to wind down the day.
“At The Stroke of Goodnight” takes place on a busy farmhouse as night falls. The writer paints the scene with beautiful illustrations washed in blue, the perfect calming color for bedtime as well as short detailed rhymes.
A dreaming dog. A purring cat. A bird on a limb. A mouse on a mat. The evening glows in the twilight. And all falls quiet at the stroke of goodnight.
Dim the night-light, pull the covers up and watch your child drift off into dreamland with this comforting bedtime story.
18. Dream Big
We all want our children to pursue their dreams no matter how big and impossible they may seem. “Dream Big” is a story for all ages set in the heart of the African savanna.
It follows a baboon who is about to discover a powerful secret. His friends, a caterpillar, a tadpole and a baby flamingo all serve as inspiration when they gaze up at the night sky and wish upon a star for their wildest dreams to come through.
Baboon doesn’t believe but one by one his friends turn into a butterfly, a frog and a beautiful pink bird before his eyes. Will the baboon’s dream be realized?
Beautiful illustrations will make up for the relatively longer story than the others mentioned in this list.
19. I Am (Not) Scared
This is the third book on this list from the You Are Not Small book series. “I Am (Not) Scared” feature the two fuzzy friends from the series who, this time, go to an amusement park.
They’re definitely not scared of a roller coaster, right? After all, there are scarier things like snakes, spiders, hot lava and aliens.
With hilarious illustrations and simple, giggle-inducing dialogue, this story like all the others in the series has a fun but important lesson – about being brave.
20. Interrupting Chicken
“Interrupting Chicken” on the surface might seem like an opportunity to teach a lesson about not interrupting others. However, it is just a cute story about a chicken who can’t help but to chime in when her father reads her classic fairy tales like Red Riding Hood and Hansel & Gretel.
The lessons to be learned here are more about caring, compassion and even creativity.
This is an adorable funny addition to any child’s book collection that you will find yourself reading over and over again as it will entertain both child and parent alike.
While it’s great to own the physical book, many of the titles here are also available on Vooks, a streaming service carrying read-aloud books for kids.
Vooks offers a full 30 day free trial so that you can access their entire streaming library before deciding if it’s something your child will benefit from. Check out how the free trial works and try Vooks out for 30 days.