Before Five in a Row (2nd Ed.)

It is no secret that reading engaging stories aloud fosters intimacy between parents and their little ones. And children love to have someone read to them! There are a plethora of children’s books to choose from these days. But have you ever just wanted a list of great classic literature to read to your young ones? In the Before Five in a Row series, the authors have carefully selected classic stories that are rich in content and illustration. Not only is there a list of wonderful stories, but also a range of interesting and simple activities to select from that correlate with the reading book. This series has been available for many years, but has recently been revised to include two books for this age group: Before Five in a Row and More Before Five in a Row. The goal of the first book is to provide children with an introduction to quality books in order to stimulate their natural curiosity to learn. The second book has a new list of books with more connection-building lessons focused on six early literacy skills: vocabulary, narrative, print awareness, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and print motivation. Unlike the original Five in a Row, this series is not structured around a week, but rather follows a more leisurely pace with what works best for you and your child.

Before Five in a Row has much the same content as the original book. In fact, the stories remain the same; however, there are three additional stories included. There are also updated illustrations, Animal Classification Cards that help young minds develop simple classification skills, and StoryDisks and a Storybook Map providing hands-on fun. All of these activities are designed to prepare children for later studies with More Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row. The book is divided into two parts. The first part lists the 24 stories along with the simple and creative activity suggestions such as examining the stars or using colored tissue paper to make a simple collage. The second part is filled with many ideas to help build a foundation of readiness in some area of your child’s life (talking and listening skills, coordination skills, activities in the kitchen and many others). This is such a helpful resource for young parents!

More Before Five in a Row is the new addition to the series and includes 14 new books. It has been specifically written as a preschool curriculum (3-5 year olds) but also serves as an encouragement to parents of young children by providing a simple Bible lesson at the beginning of each lesson. The gentle activities focused on early literacy skills are not meant to teach in depth concepts, but to enhance your child’s awareness of the world around them and create special bonding time between you and your child. Focusing on play and discussion, one of the activities might include a rhyming exercise or an activity talking about one of the five senses. The activities are a bit more detailed than the Before Five in a Row book. StoryDisks, a Storybook Map, and the Animal Classification Game are also included.

With so many distractions in our world today, it is important to be intentional in teaching children to love reading. Not just passive reading, but also interactive reading (asking your child questions as your read) to help your children understand a greater depth of what they are reading in order to enhance their comprehension skills. This series provides a wonderful way for parents or grandparents to nurture their relationship with the little ones that are under their charge and foster a lifelong adventure of learning.

*Note: Jenny’s Surprise Summer in Before Five in a Row is currently out-of-print. It was included as an extra title because it provides an excellent opportunity to introduce decision making skills at a very young level.

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