Preschoolers who love books will soon love learning to read. If they love to read, they will love to learn.
In the preschool years, three types of books are very beneficial (and desirable at this age): wordless, predictable, and visual-puzzle books.
1. Wordless books, like Carl's Snowy Afternoon (and other Carl books), convey a story through pictures alone. Children learn the importance of sequence, as the order of the pictures is very important to the story line. They also learn the art of storytelling as their tale grows and changes as they study the book more.
2. Predictable books, like my favorite Henny Penny, are very helpful in building readers. Because they are so repetitive, the child can easily see what's coming and join in on the reading. Not only are these books fun for children, which increases their love of reading, they allow the child to experience success in "reading".
3. Pop-up books and visual-puzzle books, like the Where's Waldo? series, are enormously successful with young readers and pre-readers. These are the training wheels for future readers. They allow the child to have fun with a book, and that is a good thing!
Visual-puzzle books improve a child's attention span, recall, and visual discrimination-- all essential skills in reading.