We have chosen these picture books for preschoolers focussing on early action words (verbs).  When learning new vocabulary it helps to simplify everything else so that you can really emphasise the new word.  For this reason, although younger children may enjoy this list, we have specifically chosen simpler books that are still wonderfully engaging for kindy children with language delay.

tips for reading

  • Read the books many times
  • Act out the verbs
  • Talk about the actions (not just reading the words)

9780230706477One Mole digging a hole.  This is a counting book with one action on each page.  It also has a rhyming text, but you can change this if you need to.  Action words included are; digging, picking, pulling.

Verbs – dig, pick, pull, prune.

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I Can do that.  Using natural gestures to support early vocabulary development has been shown to help children learn new words more quickly. I Can Do That provides children with multiple opportunities to hear, see, say, and sign early verbs. With built-in interactive reading strategies, strong rhythm and rhyme patterns, and engaging illustrations, I Can Do That provides a multi-modal reading experience to support early word learning.

Verbs – eat, drink, hug, cry, sleep

Buy it here.




Jump, jog, Leapfrog.  An excellent teaching book for verbs.  Best suited to kindy aged children.  On each page is a scene with the accompanying verbs labelled.  For instance, there is a space scene with the verbs explore, walk, somersault, float.  A spy scene with the verbs search, whisper, tiptoe, catch.  A lake scene with the verbs plunge, dive, splash, paddle, skim, laze.

Verbs – plunge, dive, splash, paddle, skim, laze.

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9780140567182Grandmas are for giving Tickles.  This easy lift the flap book is about all the things grandmas do with kids.  There are many pictures throughout the book of activities they do together.  Action words include;  dressing up, peeling, taking, tickling, playing.  The verbs can be adapted as you read to make them easier or harder.  (e.g. Peeling potatoes could also be cutting potatoes).

Verbs – dress up, peel, take, tickle, play.

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Grandpas are for finding worms.  Similar format to the previous book.  Action words include;  finding, singing, building, cooking, ringing.

 Verbs – find, sing, build, cook, ring.

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41 Uses for a Grandma.   This is a delightful book about all the things that grandmas do!  It is suitable for 3 years up as the pages can be a bit busy.  However, each page has a few things grandmas do such as –  swimming instructor (playing at the beach), towel rack (holding kids towels at the beach), builder (of sandcastles).  Although all the actions are written as ‘jobs’ they can be adapted into action words in a repetitive fashion.

Verbs – ‘grandma builds sandcastles’   or ‘grandma swims’

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9781743313275Run Like a Rabbit.  This is a board book for toddlers or young children.  On each page is an animal doing an action.  Swim like a fish,   Nibble like a mouse.  It is very simple and can be used as a direct instruction for learning action words like – run, jump, wriggle, swim etc.

Verbs – swim, fly, play, creep, paddle, slither, waddle, prance, leap.

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9780192735058Wilbur’s Book of Actions.  This is a board book from the Winnie the Witch series.  Wilbur the cat is doing something different on every page.  The pages are very simple with not too much distracting background.  A great way to focus on the verbs.

Verbs – stand, walk, crawl, stretch, sit, fly, yawn, stretch, chase, hide.

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Peppa’s Busy Day.  The Peppa Pig series is very popular with 2-4 year old children.  Most have simple pictures and text which is helpful for learning new words.  In Peppa’s Busy Day, there is a novelty clock which children can move as they turn the pages.  This can help to keep attention on task as lots of new action words are learnt.

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9780340997581Wibbly Pig likes to have fun.   These board books for toddlers have some lovely easy action words.  Eating icecream, making sandcastles and splashing.  You can adapt them to the child’s level if needed.

Verbs – eat, make, splash, dig.

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9781406329513 Maisy Goes on Holiday.   Lots of action words here around the holiday theme.  Packing cases, driving cars, writing postcards and eating dinner.

Verbs – pack,drive, write, eat.

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books with verbs


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