• Wendy Richardson

Choosing Books for Children – Some General Guidelines

There are thousands of wonderful books available for you to enjoy with your child, although not all children will like the same ones.

And some books are better than others. So how do you know what to get?

I hope the following ideas and guidelines will help you to know.

Join a library

This can be an inexpensive way of finding out what your child responds well to, before you purchase books. Ask the librarian for suggestions and read my upcoming series of blogs on specific needs for different age groups.

Don’t aim too high

Think about what your child seems to understand and what you tend to say to them. Perhaps keep around this level. Too many words, especially unfamiliar ones, and vague or busy pictures will not be attractive to young children.

Find what appeals to your child

Start with a few books and notice what engages your child. Do they look at the pictures and pay attention to you as you read or speak? Are they excited and happy when you get the book out?

See what educators are using

Watch quality programs for young children, such as the ABC’s Playschool program for ideas on books to get and how to read stories to little ones. Your local Kindergarten may also be able to show you books that children respond well to.

Don’t get too caught up in books based on recent movies

Stories based on movie characters tend to be full of direct speech (in quotation marks) and are generally lacking in vocabulary or interesting new ideas. While your child might relate well because they are familiar with the character, these books typically do not extend their thinking or imagination.

Match the complexity of language and the story to the child’s thinking.

Books can stretch a child’s knowledge, but only if they can relate to a fair amount of the story.

The bottom line

If your child is paying attention, enthusiastic and eager for more, you probably have chosen a good level and type of book for them.

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