The Best Books For 5 Year Olds Every Little Bookworm Needs!

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 10/26/22 •  4 min read  •  Preschool » Preschooler Development

Choosing the best books for 5 year olds to read can be such fun, but with literally millions of books to choose from… how can you possibly choose?

Over the years, I have found some classics that never lose their appeal and in my recent research have discovered more wonderful books that I can’t wait to hand on to the next generation!

So here’s my comprehensive list of the best books for 5 year olds that every little library should include.

The Best Books For 5 Year Olds

Giraffes Can't Dance By Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees
This is an absolute all-time favourite book of mine. I remember picking this book up many years ago and thinking how perfect it was for young children to express that it's OK to feel awkward and different but to have a go anyway as you might be surprised by the outcome!
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The Rainbow Fish By Marcus Pfister

This beautiful book has a timeless story to tell and is the perfect book for 5 year olds as it teaches the importance of sharing and how this skill can cement friendships. Loved by parents around the globe, this book is certainly one to add to your little one's library.

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Kindness Is My Superpower By Alicia Ortego

Teaching children to be kind and caring has always been at the top of my list of priorities when parenting. This book is the perfect way to teach such values in a way that young children can understand. Learning how to say sorry, accept that it's ok to make mistakes and understand the importance of good manners and kindness are all written in the pages of this charming and stunning book.

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Stage 1: My Phonics Activity Book - Julia Donaldson's Songbirds

Written by the same author who wrote The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson has produced a wonderful range of phonics books for early readers. Designed to be read to your little one and later for them to read alone these books are a perfect start to your little ones reading development journey.

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There's A Bear On My Chair By Ross Collins

This book is the perfect rhyming story for reading out loud with your 5 year old. It is packed full of fun language and laughable moments that will keep your little one returning to it time after time.

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Never Let a Unicorn Wear a Tutu! By Diane Alber

Sure to capture your 5 year old's imagination with cute illustrations and a fabulously fun story... This wonderful book from Diane Alber will never age as read it to them and for them to one day read it back to you.



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100 Words Kids Need to Read by 1st Grade - Scholastic

This book is the perfect way to introduce educational reading to young children. Easy to use and ideal for early sight word practice this simple book is the perfect place to start when helping your little one to recognise words and start learning to read in an uncomplicated way.

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Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! By Emma Chichester Clark

This is the perfect book for 5 year olds who are just about to start school. The story takes you through the different emotions of what children naturally feel when they are starting school. The beautiful illustrations make this a gorgeous and easy-to-read story too.

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The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook By Shirley Hughes

I have always loved Shirley Hughes' ‘Alfie’ books and would recommend all of them to everyone. She has the incredible ability to look at life from the point of view of very young children and get it just right. This is the perfect book for early readers to enjoy again and again.

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books for 5 year olds

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Books For 5 Year Olds

Looking for more information about the best books for 5 year olds? Find answers to the most common questions here.

Should A Child Be Reading By Age 5?

Yes and no…

While it is true that some children will be able to read at 4… Most children do not manage to read fully until they’re between the ages of 6-7 years.

The most important thing to remember is that all children learn to read at their own pace and that exposure to all types of books for 5 year olds is the most valuable thing you can do to help your little one on their reading journey.

TOP TIP: Encourage and nurture a love of books by reading to your little one daily and letting them see you enjoy books too.

How Many Sight Words Should A 5 Year Old Know?

Experts say that recognition of between 20 and 40 sight words is what can be expected of the average 5 year old reading at a kindergarten level… but for many children, it is a lot less.

This is because all children learn to read at different rates. 

Some 5 year olds are eager to grasp the concept of reading while others are not so interested… So do not be concerned if your child does not recognise 40 sight words just yet.

How Long Should A 5 Year Old Read For?

Your 5 year old will be able to concentrate on a book for up to 15 minutes at a time. 

However, when your child is reading, you should always let them take the lead. 

If they are keen to read for longer then let them do so…

But forcing a reluctant reader to spend more time looking at books for 5 year olds will only put them off and potentially trigger a 5 year old tantrum.

REMEMBER: All children learn to read eventually and no amount of pushing or pressurising them to do so before they are ready is going to help.

Can 5 Year Olds Read Chapter Books?

Most children will begin to read chapter books around the ages of 7 and 8. 

However, most 5 year olds will enjoy short stories with rhymes, short sentences and bright pictures.

How High Can A 5 Year Old Count?

At 5 years old, children can often count up to twenty and beyond. 

This age is the perfect time to offer simple opportunities to extend your child’s understanding of numbers and counting in everyday activities, fun books and simple math games too.

How Long Should You Read To A 5 Year Old Each Day?

I personally believe that you cannot read too much with your children.

However, you should never push a child who does not enjoy reading to stick around. 

Therefore, I would suggest setting aside at least 15 minutes a day to read books to your 5 year old.

Bedtime is an ideal opportunity to incorporate reading into your daily routine.

Need More Parenting Help?

Paula McLaren

Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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