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Reading to Understand:
Children's Books to Use with
Comprehension Strategies

Compiled by Megan Schliesman
© 2005 Cooperative Children's Book Center; updated 2010

This bibliography was developed for the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board (ECB) for their Into the Book reading comprehension project. It maps selected children’s books to each of the eight comprehension strategies outlined in the project:

Using prior knowledge: Readers use what they already know (or think they know) before, during and after reading to clarify their understanding (or misunderstanding) of the text.

Making connections: Readers relate the text to personal experiences, to information from other texts, and to information about the world to enhance understanding of self, text and life. (The books have been organized into three categories to suggest thematic text-to-text connections, although several lend themselves to use in multiple categories.)

Questioning: Readers ask questions about the text, and about the author and/or illustrator’s intentions, seeking information to clarify and extend their thinking before, during and after reading.

Visualizing: Readers create images in their mind that reflect or represent the ideas in the text to enhance understanding.

Inferring: Readers think about and search the text and art, and sometimes use personal knowledge, to construct meaning beyond what is literally stated.

Summarizing: Readers identify key elements and condense important information into their own words during and after reading to solidify meaning.

Evaluating: Readers explain their responses to or understandings of a text based on stated criteria (e.g, Would you want a friend to read this? Why or why not?)

Synthesizing: Readers create original insights, perspectives and understandings by reflecting on the text, and by merging elements from the text with their own way of understanding information and the world around them.

A final category, Using Strategies Together, suggests longer or more complex texts that demand readers to integrate various comprehension strategies.

The goal in creating this bibliography was to identify 12-15 titles for each strategy. But most books here will lend themselves to application across the strategies. The focus in choosing books was to find engaging titles that would meet a range of reading and listening abilities, and that would reflect the diversity of classrooms, communities and the world today. The book selections for every strategy include picture book stories and nonfiction for early elementary-age children. Some strategy sections also include poetry, wordless books, and/or chapter books. For more information about ECB’s Into the Book project, go to http://www.ecb.org/reading/

This bibliography was created in consultation with Marta Bechtol and Pegge Garties of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.


Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies


Using Prior Knowledge

    Andrews-Goebel, Nancy. The Pot That Juan Built. Illustrated by David Diaz. Lee & Low, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 10

    Arnosky, Jim. All About Rattlesnakes. Scholastic, 1997. 28 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Brenner, Barbara . Thinking About Ants. Illustrated by Carol Schwartz. Mondo, 1997. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Chrustowski, Rick. Big Brown Bat. Henry Holt, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Floca, Brian. Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11. Atheneum, 2009. 40 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Gibbons, Gail. My Basketball Book. HarperCollins, 2000. Ages 3 - 8

    Gibbons, Gail. My Football Book. HarperCollins, 2000. Ages 3 - 8

    Giovanni, Nikki. Rosa. Illustrated by Bryan Collier. Henry Holt, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

    Hartman, Bob. The Wolf Who Cried Boy. Illustrated by Tim Raglin. Putnam, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Hausherr, Rosmarie. What Instrument Is This?. Scholastic, 1992. 38 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page . What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 6

    Ross, Alice and Kent Ross . The Copper Lady. Illustrated by Leslie Bowman. Carolrhoda, 1997. 48 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Takabayashi, Mari. I Live in Tokyo. Houghton Mifflin, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 9

    Trivizas, Eugene. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1993. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Waldman, Neil. The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story. Millbrook Press, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8


Making Connections: Family

    Amato, Mary . The Chicken of the Family . Illustrated by Delphine Durand. Putnam, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Gregory, Nan . Pink. Illustrated by Luc Melanson. 2007, Groundwood. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Kuklin, Susan. Families. Hyperion, 2005. 36 pages. Ages 7-11

    Lazo Gilmore, Dorina K.. Cora Cooks Pancit. Illustrated by Kristi Valiant. Shen's Books, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7


Making Connections: School

    Choi, Yansook. The Name Jar. Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 6

    Creech, Sharon. A Fine, Fine School. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. HarperCollins, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Edwards, Michelle. Pa Lia's First Day (A Jackson Friends Book). Harcourt, 1999. 50 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Grimes, Nikki. Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Putnam, 2009. 74 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    McNamara, Margaret . How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Schwartz & Wade, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Moss, Peggy. Say Something. Illustrated by Lea Lyon. Tilbury House, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Paterson, Katherine. Marvin One Too Many. Illustrated by Jane Clark Brown. HarperCollins, 2001. 48 pages. Ages 4 - 7


Making Connections: Friendship

    Boelts, Maribeth. Those Shoes. Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. Candlewick Press, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    English, Karen. Hot Day on Abbott Avenue. Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. Clarion, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 9

    Kasza, Keiko. The Rat and the Tiger. Putnam, 1993. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

    Rodman, Mary Ann. My Best Friend. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Viking, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Rogers, Fred. Extraordinary Friends. Illustrated by Jim Judkis. Putnam, 1999. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Zolotow, Charlotte. My Friend John. Illustrated by Amanda Harvey. Random House, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 4


Questioning

    Davies, Nicola. Big Blue Whale. Illustrated by Nick Maland. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 1997. 27 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Geisert, Arthur and Bonnie Geisert . River Town. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. 32 pages. Ages 7 - 10

    Hearne, Betsy. Who's in the Hall? A Mystery in Four Chapters. Illustrated by Christy Hale. Greenwillow, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Johnston, Tony. My Abuelita. Photographed by Tim O'Meara. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Harcourt / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Kimmel, Eric A. . Stormy's Hat: Just Right for a Railroad Man . Illustrated by Andrea U’Ren. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Lehman, Barbara. The Red Book. Houghton Mifflin, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Quigley, Mary. Granddad's Fishing Buddy. Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch. Dial, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

    Reiser, Lynn. Two Mice in Three Fables. Greenwillow, 1995. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 6

    Rumford, James. Silent Music: A Story of Bagdhad. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 7-9

    Wiesner, David. The Three Pigs. Clarion, 2001. 40 pages. Ages 4 and older


Visualizing

    Banks, Kate. And If the Moon Could Talk. Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. U.S. edition: Frances Foster /FSG, 1998. 40 pages. Ages 3 - 6

    Davies, Nicola. One Tiny Turtle. Illustrated by Jane Chapman. U. S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Weather: Poems for All Seasons. Illustrated by Melanie Hall. HarperCollins, 1994. 64 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Karas, G. Brian. Atlantic. Putnam, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 10

    Manushkin, Fran. How Mama Brought the Spring. Illustrated by Holly Berry. Dutton, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Medearis, Angela Shelf. Our People. Illustrated by Michael Bryant. Atheneum, 1994. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Miller, Sara Swan. Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat. Illustrated by True Kelley. Houghton Mifflin, 1997. 48 pages. Ages 5 - 7

    Perkins, Lynne Rae. Snow Music. Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2003. 36 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Perkins, Lynne Rae. Pictures from Our Vacation. Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

    Schertle, Alice. Down the Road. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Browndeer Press, 1995. 40 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Sidman, Joyce. Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors. Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Wetterer, Margaret K. and Charles M. Wetterer . The Snow Walker. Illustrated by Mary O'Keefe Young. Carolrhoda, 1996. 48 pages. Ages 7 - 10


Inferring

    Baek, Matthew J.. Panda & Polar Bear. Dial, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Burningham, John. Edwardo : The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World. Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Frazee, Marla. A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever . Harcourt, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Kasza, Keiko. My Lucky Day. Putnam, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Minshull, Evelyn. Eaglet's World. Illustrated by Andrea Gabriel. Albert Whitman, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Pattison, Darcy. The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman. Illustrated by Joe Cepeda. Harcourt, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Prelutsky, Jack. If Not for the Cat. Illustrated by Ted Rand. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2004. 40 pages. Ages 4 - 10

    Scamell, Ragnhild. Buster's Echo. Illustrated by Genevieve Webster. HarperCollins, 1993. 24 pages. Ages 2 - 4

    Shannon, George. White Is for Blueberry. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 2-7

    Simont, Marc and based on a true story by Reiki Sassa . The Stray Dog. HarperCollins, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Young, Ed. Seven Blind Mice. Philomel, 1992. 40 pages. Ages 3-6


Summarizing

    Bang, Molly. Common Ground: The Water, Earth and Air We Share. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 1997. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Blake, Robert. Togo. Philomel, 2002. 40 pages. Ages 6 - 10

    Cooper, Elisha. Ice Cream. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2002. 40 pages. Ages 6 - 10

    Fleming, Candace. Boxes for Katje. Illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen. Melanie Kroupa Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003. 36 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Fleming, Denise. Buster. Henry Holt, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Goldin, Augusta. Ducks Don't Get Wet. Illustrated by Helen K. Davie. Revised edition: HarperCollins, 1999. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Haas, Jessie. Runaway Radish. Illustrated by Margot Apple. Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2001. 56 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Harjo, Joy. The Good Luck Cat. Illustrated by Paul Lee. Harcourt, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Judge, Lita. One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II. Hyperion, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

    Markle, Sandra. Creepy, Crawly Baby Bugs. Walker, 1996. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    McCully, Emily Arnold. Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

    McKissack, Patricia C.. The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Schwartz & Wade, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Pennypacker, Sara. Pierre in Love. Illustrated by Petra Mathers. Orchard Books / Scholastic, 2007. 40 pages. Age 5-9

    Peterson, Cris. Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More. Photographed by David R. Lundquist. Boyds Mills Press, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

    Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter and Tabby Stir the Soup. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. Harcourt, 2003. 48 pages. Ages 5 - 7

    Winter, Jeanette. My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait. Silver Whistle/Harcourt Brace, 1998. 48 pages. Ages 5 - 8


Evaluating

    Aliki, . Ah, Music!. HarperCollins, 2003. 4 pages. Ages 5-9

    Creech, Sharon. Love That Dog: A Novel. Joanna Cotler Books / HarperCollins, 2001. 84 pages. Ages 8 - 12

    DePaola, Tomie. 26 Fairmount Avenue. Putnam, 1999. 56 pages. Ages 7 - 9

    Gerdner, Linda and Sarah Langford . Grandfather's Story Cloth = Yawg Daim Paj Ntaub Dab Neeg. Illustrated by Stuart Loughridge. Shen's Books , 2008. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

    Hopkinson, Deborah. Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements . Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Anne Schwartz / Atheneum, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 7 - 10

    Jones, Bill T. and Susan Kuklin . Dance. Photographed by Susan Kuklin. Hyperion, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 3-9

    Livingstone, Star. Harley. Illustrated by Molly Bang. SeaStar Books, 2001. 64 pages. Ages 5 - 7

    Pringle, Laurence. Sharks! Strange and Wonderful. Illustrated by Meryl Henderson. Boyds Mills Press, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Ransom, Jeanie Franz. What Really Happened to Humpty?. Illustrated by Stephen Axelsen. Charlesbridge, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Sayre, April Pulley. Dig, Wait, Listen: A Desert Toad's Tale. Illustrated by Barbara Bash. Greenwillow, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Stevenson, James. The Castaway. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 9

    U'Ren, Andrea. Mary Smith. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8


Synthesizing

    Bunting, Eve. One Green Apple. Illustrated by Ted Lewin. Clarion, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Casanova, Mary. The Hunter: A Chinese Folktale. Illustrated by Ed Young. Atheneum, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 9

    Cocca-Leffler, Maryann. Jack's Talent. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-7

    Diakité, Baba Wagué. The Magic Gourd. Scholastic Press, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Falwell, Cathryn. David's Drawings. Lee & Low, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    hooks, bell. skin again. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Hyperion, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Jean-Pierre, Siméon. This Is a Poem That Heals Fish. Translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. Illustrated by Olivier Tallec. U.S. edition: Enchanted Lion Books, 2007. 40 pages. Ages 6-10

    Jimenez, Francisco. La Mariposa. Illustrated by Simon Silva. Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 40 pages. Ages 8-11

    Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. The Water Gift and the Pig of the Pig. Illustrated by Linda S. Wingerter. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    McDonald, Megan. Judy Moody Saves the World. Illustrated by Peter Reynolds. Candlewick Press, 2002. 144 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Muth, Jon J.. Stone Soup. Scholastic Press, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Myers, Walter Dean. Looking Like Me. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. Egmont, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 9

    Ormerod, Jan. Who's Whose?. U.S. edition: Greenwillow, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Paterson, Katherine. The Smallest Cow in the World. Illustrated by Jane Clark Brown. HarperCollins, 1991. 64 pages. Ages 4-7

    Raschka, Chris. John Coltrane's Giant Steps. A Richard Jackson Book / Atheneum, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 10

    Reiser, Lynn. The Surprise Family. Greenwillow, 1994. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Rumford, James. Calabash Cat and His Amazing Journey. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Wong, Janet S.. Apple Pie 4th of July. Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine. Harcourt, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 9


Using the Strategies Together

    Ada, Alma Flor. My Name Is Maria Isabel. Illustrated by K. Dyble Thompson. Atheneum, 1993. 57 pages. Ages 7-9

    Ahlberg, Allan. The Cat Who Got Carried Away. Illustrated by Catherine McEwan. Candlewick Press, 2003. 80 pages. Ages 7 - 9

    Arnold, Caroline. Birds: Nature's Magnificent Flying Machines. Illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne. Charlesbridge, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 7 - 11

    Bechtold, Lisze. Buster, the Very Shy Dog. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. 48 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Browne, Anthony. Voices in the Park. DK, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 7 - 10

    Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses. Illustrated by Bruce Degen. Scholastic Press, 1999. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Creech, Sharon. The Unfinished Angel. Joanna Cotler Books / HarperCollins, 2009. 164 pages. Ages 8 - 11

    Crowley, Joy. Chicken Feathers. Illustrated by David Elliot. Philomel, 2008. 149 pages. Ages 7-10

    Lechner, John. Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest. Candlewick Press, 2007. 54 pages. Ages 6-10

    Macaulay, David. Black and White. Houghton Mifflin, 1990. 32 pages. Ages 4-12

    Perkins, Mitali. Rickshaw Girl. Illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Charlesbridge, 2007. 91 pages. Ages 8-10

    Resau, Laura. Star in the Forest. Delacorte Press, 2010. 149 pages. Ages 8-11

    Sis, Peter. The Three Golden Keys. Doubleday, 1994. 56 pages. Ages 5 and older

    Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Indian Shoes. Illustrated by Jim Madsen. HarperCollins, 2002. 66 pages. Ages 6 - 9

    Sobol, Richard. Adelina's Whales. Dutton, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 7 - 10

    Thompson, Kate . Highway Robbery. Illustrated by Jonny Duddle and Robert Dress. U.S. edition: Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2009. 118 pages. Ages 7 - 10

    Williams, Vera B. . Scooter. Greenwillow, 1993. 147 pages. Ages 4 - 11



This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.



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