Gymboree Play & Music School Readiness Recommended Reading List

The books on our booklist are a variety of “ready to read” or “level 1” books which are specifically designed to be read together with an adult or read independently. Eager new readers whether emergent or newly independent will benefit from further expansion on the class themes.

Continuing to explore different themes at home through books reinforces the learnings from class, relating life to learning and learning to life. Providing children with a variety of subjects to explore through literacy will support fostering a love of reading and language. Creating students who are excited to be independent learners! 

THEME – Outer Space ‘S’

The Big Dipper (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley (Author), Molly Coxe (Illustrator)

Are the stars out tonight? If they are, chances are you’ll be able to spot the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper is one of the easiest constellations to recognize, and this book will help young stargazers find it, as well as its companion, the Little Dipper. And once you’ve begun to learn about the constellations, the sky’s the limit!

THEME – Camping ‘C’

Biscuit Goes Camping (My First I Can Read) by Alyssa Satin Capucilli  (Author), Pat Schories (Illustrator)

Woof, woof! This way, Biscuit! It’s time to go camping.

Join Biscuit in the great outdoors. Biscuit can’t wait to go camping! From tents and flashlights to frogs and fireflies, there are so many new things to discover when you’re sleeping outdoors. But are those rain clouds in the sky? How will Biscuit go camping now?

THEME – Farm ‘F’

National Geographic Readers: Farm Animals (Level 1 Co-reader) by Joanne Mattern

Adult and child readers will learn all about adorable farm animals together in this new Co-reader from National Geographic Kids.

THEME – Transportation ‘T’

Everything Goes: Henry on Wheels (My First I Can Read) by Brian Biggs (Author, Illustrator), Simon Abbott (Illustrator)

Henry is going on a bike ride all by himself through the neighborhood. What amazing new vehicles will he find?

THEME – Food ‘A’

Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream (I Can Read Level 1) by Rob Scotton  (Author, Illustrator)

Splat can barely sit still during the bus ride. He’s imagining the mountain of ice cream he thinks he’ll get to eat! But when Splat gets there, that mountain becomes more of an avalanche. It’s up to Splat and his classmates to save the day!

THEME – All About Me ‘M’

Penny and Her Song (I Can Read Level 1) by Kevin Henkes  (Author, Illustrator)

When Penny comes home from school, she is ready to sing her song. But the babies are sleeping, and Mama and Papa are worried that Penny will wake them up. Oh, but it is a good song, a really wonderful song . . . and Penny wants more than anything to sing it. Will it ever be the right time to sing it?

THEME – Ocean/Beach ‘B’

Big Shark, Little Shark (Step into Reading) by Anna Membrino  (Author), Tim Budgen  (Illustrator)

This fun Step 1 book about two sharks is a study in opposites. Big Shark has big teeth; Little Shark has little teeth. Big Shark swims fast; Little Shark swims slow. But they are both hungry! Will they each succeed in finding a tasty snack? Little Shark is hoping that he won’t become fast food for Big Shark!

THEME – Community Helpers ‘H’

DK Readers: Jobs People Do — A Day in a Life of a Firefighter (Level 1: Beginning to Read) (DK Readers Level 1) by Linda Hayward  (Author)

A Level 1 DK Reader that accurately portrays a day in the life of a real firefighter, perfect for young children who are just learning to read.

The fire alarm goes off! Rob Green and the other firefighters go into action. Is there time to save a little girl’s dog? Find out in DK Readers: Jobs People Do — A Day in the Life of a Firefighter

THEME – Dinosaurs ‘D’

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur: Bubble Blast (My First I Can Read) by Kallie George  (Author), Oriol Vidal (Illustrator)

It’s bath time for two little ducklings and one big dinosaur! Spike loves soap, but Feather and Flap don’t want to scrub. What will Spike do to make getting clean fun for everyone? This short, sweet, and very bubbly story will help show kids how much fun bath time can be.

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur: Bubble Blast is a My First I Can Read book, which means it’s perfect for shared reading with a child.

THEME – Colors & Art ‘P’

Pete the Kitty and the Unicorn’s Missing Colors (My First I Can Read)  by James Dean  (Author, Illustrator), Kimberly Dean (Author)

Pete the Kitty’s friend Stevie the unicorn somehow lost all the colors in her rainbow tail. It’s a good thing Pete has his magical paintbrush to help out. Together, they search for the missing colors of the rainbow.

Young unicorn fans will love Pete’s enchanting adventure in this My First I Can Read story, complete with original illustrations from the creator of Pete the Cat, James Dean.

THEME – Bugs “I”

Diary of a Worm: Teacher’s Pet (I Can Read Level 1) by Doreen Cronin (Author), Harry Bliss (Illustrator)

Worm is all about having fun, respecting the earth, and never taking baths. Many children will relate to this funny character!
In Diary of a Worm: Teacher’s Pet, Worm makes a surprising discovery—teachers have birthdays. That means Worm and his friends have to find the perfect present for their teacher, Mrs. Mulch.

THEME – Fall “L”

Little Critter: The Fall Festival (My First I Can Read) by Mercer Mayer  (Author, Illustrator)

Join Mercer Mayer’s classic and beloved character, Little Critter® and his family on their exciting road trip to the Fall Festival! From apple picking to hayrides, discover how fun the harvest season can be.

Fall is an exciting season in Critterville!

Every year, Little Critter® and his family take a trip to one of the most beloved events in Critterville—the Fall Festival. From picking apples and taking hayrides to choosing the perfect pumpkin, no wonder everyone loves this time of year.

THEME – Winter “W”

Snowball Soup (Little Critter, My First I Can Read) by Mercer Mayer  (Author, Illustrator)

Join Mercer Mayer’s classic and beloved character, Little Critter®, on a snowy day full of fun in this My First I Can Read book! 

When Little Critter, Little Sister, and Dog go out play in the snow, they decide to build a big snowman. But when it’s time to go inside for lunch, the Critters decide to feed their new snowy friends, too! And what does a snowman like to eat? 

THEME – Fairy Tales “Q”

Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Read It Yourself with Ladybird: Level 1

Based on the classic fairy tale. While the three bears are out for a walk, naughty little Goldilocks comes calling and tries out their porridge, chairs and beds to see which are just right. But then the three bears come home…

THEME – Construction “N”

Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail (I Can Read Level 1) by James Horvath  (Author, Illustrator)

Beginning readers will love this I Can Read adventure starring a doggy construction crew, gently adapted from James Horvath’s popular picture book of the same title.

Top dog Duke and his crew of construction-worker dogs are hard at work building a new park. They need lots of cool equipment to help them dig, haul, push, and plow—like a backhoe, dump truck, bulldozer, and grader. But what happens when the crew finds something unexpected buried deep in the ground?

THEME – Garden “G”

Garden Day! (Step into Reading) Paperback – March 12, 2019 by Candice Ransom (Author), Erika Meza (Illustrator)

It’s springtime, and the perfect day to plant a garden! The brother and sister from Pumpkin Day!, Apple Picking Day!, and Snow Day! return and plant peas in their backyard. Read along as they dig holes, water the plants, and build a scarecrow with their parents! Easy-to-follow rhyme ensures a successful reading experience, and bright, fun art enhances the story.

THEME – The 5 Senses “E”

My Five Senses (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Aliki  (Author, Illustrator)

Read and find out about your five senses in this colorfully illustrated nonfiction picture book.

Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch—our five senses teach us about our world. Beloved author-illustrator Aliki’s simple, engaging text and colorful artwork show young readers how they use their senses to smell a rose or play with a puppy. 

This is a clear and appealing book for early elementary age kids, both at home and in the classroom.

THEME – Inside My Home “K”

Pip Squeak (I Can Read Level 1) Kindle Edition by Sarah Weeks  (Author), Jane Manning (Illustrator) 

New in paperback! In this I Can Read book, Pip Squeak, the little mouse who had such trouble with the rain and his leaky roof in DRIP, DROP!, has some new troubles. His friend Max comes over, but is so messy the he turns Pip′s clean house into a disaster area. Max tries his best to clean up his mess, but in the end they decide the next time Pip should go visit Max′s house instead.

THEME -The World Outside “V”

Where Is the Sun?/Ready-to-Read Ready-to-Go! (The World of Eric Carle) by Eric Carle  (Author, Illustrator)

Where is the sun? Follow it as it moves across the sky in this poetic Ready-to-Go! Ready-to-Read filled with Eric Carle’s iconic art style.

Perfect for kids at the beginning of their reading journeys, Where Is the Sun? was written for children who have learned the alphabet and are ready to start reading! And what better way to get kids excited than with a fun story with words they can actually read by the one and only Eric Carle?

THEME – Health Care Workers “X”

Max Goes to the Doctor (Read-It! Readers: The Life of Max) by Adria Fay Klein (Author), Mernie Elizabeth Gallagher-Cole (Illustrator)

At his yearly checkup, Max gets weighed and measured. What else happens at the doctor?

THEME – Opposites “O”

Big Dog . . . Little Dog (Bright & Early Board Books(TM) by P.D. Eastman  (Author)

A condensed, board-book version of the P. D. Eastman canine classic Big Dog . . . Little Dog, staring Fred and Ted—mutts who are opposite in every way, but best friends nevertheless.

THEME – The Zoo “Z”

Fantastic Fiona: Level 1 (I Can Read! / A Fiona the Hippo Book by Zondervan  (Author), Richard Cowdrey (Illustrator)

Join your favorite hippo, Fiona, the adorable internet sensation from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, as she visits her zoo friends, finding out what makes each one special. Is it their speedy running? Their lovely singing? And what makes Fiona so special to all of her friends?

Young readers will enjoy learning more about Fiona and her friends in this Level One I Can Read about the little hippo that has captured hearts around the world with her inspiring story and plucky personality.

THEME – You & Me: Let’s Get Social “Y”
Monkey See, Monkey Do (Penguin Young Readers, Level 1) by Dana Regan  (Author, Illustrator)

Children will laugh out loud as they watch the young simian stars of this book swing through one very busy day. From cheering one another on at baseball games, to dancing the conga at a lively party, these monkeys know how to have a great time-all in rhyme!

THEME – Weather “U”

National Geographic Readers: Weather

What causes thunder and lightning? How do different clouds form? What makes a tornado twist? Kids will discover the answers to these questions and more in this colorful, photo-packed book. In this inviting and entertaining format, kids will discover what causes the weather they experience every day. This level 1 reader is written in an easy-to-grasp style to encourage the meteorologists of tomorrow!

THEME – Rainforest “R”

Jungle Animals: Discover the Secrets of the Jungle! 

Look up, look down, and look out for the colorful birds, the gentle giants, and the big cats in the jungles of the world. See how orangutans swing through the jungle and how tigers leap out of the grass after their prey. Filled with stunning photography of the jungle’s most amazing creatures, Jungle Animals takes readers inside the wild to see animals in their natural habitats.

THEME – Let’s Move “J”

Scoccer Time
GOOOOOOOOAL!! This Step 1 introduction to practically every child’s first team sport is a win for emergent readers.

GOOOOOOOOAL!! This Step 1 introduction to practically every child’s first team sport is a win for emergent readers.