Readingstart

Choosing Books for Kids

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Most adults with a passion for reading can readily recall their favourite books growing up, whether they’re tales and rhymes they went back to time and time again, stories they wish to share with their own children, or just narratives that left a lasting impression. As parents, caregivers or teachers, we often wonder how to choose books for children that will mean as much to them as they did to us. How do you choose quality books, and most importantly, how do you choose them for infants and toddlers under six years of age? In this post you will find advice gathered from various sources[i] and compiled into “by age” tips.

Here’s what to look for when looking for books…

Babies age 0 to 2

  • Sturdy board books with cardboard pages
  • Soft cloth or soft plastic books that are waterproof (great for bath time)
  • Pop-up books, books with flaps or windows, books with different textures
  • Short simple sentences with pictures explaining the text
  • Poems and rhymes
  • Bright, high contrast illustrations
  • Books featuring animals or machines that invite movement and sound effects
  • Alphabet and number books
  • Books with mirrors or pictures of other babies

Toddlers age 2 to 4 

  • Books with clear and interesting illustrations
  • Fast paced short books that you can finish in one sitting
  • Books containing rhymes and songs your child can learn
  • Funny books that invite you to use silly voices and exaggerated gestures
  • Books about events your child can relate to (ex: trip to the zoo)
  • Books about concepts such as letters, colors, shapes and numbers
  • Books about children of a similar age group
  • Books that contain everyday experiences in the plot (ex: dressing, brushing teeth)
  • Books about playful animals

Young Children age 4 to 6

  • Books tailored to your child’s interests.  All you have to do is ask them
  • Books with clear, easy to read text
  • Books your child enjoyed when younger and can now provide a gateway to reading on their own
  • Easy to follow “How To” books, cookbooks and craft books
One thing to keep in mind is that the book should be interesting to you. Children mirror adult behaviour, and as a result they will mirror your enjoyment of the book. There’s no faking it here.  As a general rule, a “good book” is a book you and your child enjoy and connect with. This does not necessarily mean that the book has won an award or is a classic; it just simply means your child is interested in reading it, most likely over and over again.

[i]  www.rif.org; www.reachoutandread.org; “What makes a good second grade book: A letter to parents” by Robin Smith in The Horn Book Magazine, www.hbook.com

  1. Thank you so much for this article on how to choose books for your children. I agree with you on the importance of the parent liking the book because children mirror adult behaviour. I am a great admirer of eighteenth and nineteenth century novels. A a consequence, I used to read short extracts from my favourites to both my children. They have both fortunately grown up as genuine lovers of good books. I will never forget my eight year old daughter explaining to a colleague why Jane Eyre was right in going back to Rochester! Delightful.

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