Choosing great books for fours and fives

Books for four and five year olds should appeal to children who are just starting to read for themselves, as well as being suitable to read aloud.

The stories should be more involved and interesting, although engaging pictures are still very important - they capture a child's imagination. Many stories for this age group have happy endings.

This is important if they're being read at bedtime, as a child should go to sleep feeling relaxed and reassured.

Fours and fives like...

Featured books for Fours and Fives

Look for stories that have the 3 Rs - Rhythm, Rhyme and Repetition - because they're great fun to read aloud. 

Words and pictures together tell a story.  These Australian picture books are perfect examples - each has its own distinctive style of illustration.

Stories with rhyming words encourage early readers to join in and feel as if they're reading along.

Many stories for this age group have a definite beginning, gentle action which builds to a climax and a satisfying ending.

Books for this age group often use more complex language. 

Vocabulary can also be more developed for this age group; but children will still enjoy listening to the sound of a word before they know its meaning.

Traditional stories and rhymes are re-invented and re-visited in Isabella's Garden, Clancy and Millie and The Very Fine House and There Was An Old Sailor.



This is a great age to introduce traditional stories and simple folk and fairy tales. 

Families and friends

Fours and Fives are learning about people and relationships.

Use a variety of books and stories introduce them to many kinds of families.


Fours and fives feel things intensely and are beginning to think about and understand the feelings of others.


Finding out

Fours and fives are curious about the world, how it works and their place in it. 

Find books with information that will answer their questions and encourage more! 


First day

Fours and fives are excited about starting school and it helps if they can read about how others cope on their first day.

Books like these can also help to reassure children who are nervous.


Funny stories

Fours and fives love jokes and playing with words and ideas – the sillier the better!

Find books that use words and language creatively to encourage creative thinking and a joy of reading.

Most of these books will be available at your public library.

As a teacher of over 30 years, I have witnessed the Better Beginnings program helping to transform children’s lives and given them greater potential to grow, learn and develop, perform well at school and succeed in later life.
Councillor David Lagan, Deputy Mayor, City of Stirling

…I never thought of reading to my baby.  Better Beginnings has really boosted my confidence.