There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your budding reader finally catch on to reading. As a parent of a kindergartener who recently learned to read, as well as an award-winning children’s book author, I’m a huge proponent of rhyming books.  Besides improving memory and cognitive development, rhyming books promote language development, and just make stories more fun! Here are some of my personal favorite rhyming picture books:

Gorillas’ Night Out, by Faith Goldstein: Do you ever wonder what the animals do when the zoo closes? First-time children’s book author Faith Goldstein gives readers a hilarious glimpse into the world of Pete, Treat, Skeet and Little Marguerite—a gorilla gang who trade in the zoo gates for a night on the town in New York. Through beautiful, detailed illustration and spot-on rhymes, young readers get to see them get into some serious monkey business! But will they make it back to the zoo before the gates open the next morning?

Room on a Broom, by Julia Donaldson: This sweet, funny story tells the magical tale of a good witch who is a little too generous with letting animals ride on her broom. When the witch is threatened by a dragon, young readers see the power of friendship unfold when each of the animals try to save her. This book is so popular, kids can now watch an animated version on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae: Gerald the Giraffe has thin legs, a long neck and crooked knees, the typical qualities of a giraffe. But when it comes time for the Jungle Dance, the other animals make fun of Gerald even before he can dance. With an inspirational message about self-acceptance and friendship in the most unlikely places, Gerald learns to embrace the special qualities that only he has.

Llama, Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney: A wonderful goodnight book for kids who may have anxiety about going to sleep, this book tells the story of a little llama and his bond with his mama. Through a very simple rhyming scheme and a few tantrums thrown by the young llama, he eventually learns that “Mama Llama’s always near, even if she’s not right here.”

Put Me In The Zoo, by Robert Lopshire: My personal favorite book to read (over and over) as a kid, this book follows Spot, a leopard of many talents who believes he belongs in the zoo with the other animals. Through easy rhymes and colorful illustration, he showcases these funny talents, which eventually leads to him finding the perfect place where he belongs.

I Am Not Going To Get Up Today, by Dr. Seuss: Another classic, this is a rhyming story sure to ignite some giggles. When a little boy in striped insists he doesn’t want to get out of bed, he comes up with a funny list of things that won’t wake him up. From tickling his feet to shaking his bed, we see just how much this silly boy wants to sleep in. The repetition of words, concepts, and laughs will keep kids turning the pages.

Sidebar: Here are 10 of the wonderful things rhyming books can do:

  • Improve memory
  • Foster positive association with reading
  • Teach the patterns of sounds
  • Encourage wordplay
  • Promote listening skills
  • Prepares kids to make predictions
  • Improve oral language skills
  • Stimulate language development
  • Expands a child’s imagination
  • Captivate a child’s attention for longer periods of time