LPB Educational Services & East Baton Rouge Parish Library
Even tiny infants love to hear familiar voices. As children begin to grow and develop mentally and emotionally, they love adults to talk to them, listen to them, about practically anything -- from favorite foods and colors, to what they see on TV and what they can do to help you around the house.
Children also love having you read to them, and this encourages them to read on their own as they grow older. Children who are read to in their earliest years are often the children who are best prepared to acquire reading skills in school. Both before and after they learn to read on their own, reading aloud to children helps them to make a positive connection with books.
Why not make reading aloud a part of every day? Here are some tips to finding great books for children of all ages.
Infants & Toddlers
- Look for books with sturdy bindings and thick pages which can be wiped clean. Boardlike pages can help little ones learn how to turn pages.
- Look for vivid pictures and short, simple sentences in books with words.
- ABC books should have pictures of familiar objects such as toys, people and animals.
- Poems and rhymes are fun to read aloud. Mother Goose rhymes are a good choice.
- Try sensory appeal books with textures and smells.
Prereaders (Ages 3 to 6)
- Look for stories with everyday things and experiences. Characters should be about the same age as your child.
- Look for playful animals, both real and imaginary, in ridiculous situations.
- Stories should move along quickly and be read all the way through in one sitting.
- Illustrations should become more detailed as your children mature. They should also show a variety of objects such as tools, clothing and transportation.
- Books should have catchy lines that your children can repeat with you.
Young Readers (Ages 6 to 9)
- Illustrations should match text and give clues to the meaning of unfamiliar words.
- Stories should have just a few sentences per page to start. As skills increase, gradually introduce longer stories. Repeat words and phrases are helpful.
- Look for topics of interest to your child. Involve them in the selection process and honor their choices when possible.
- Look for books which were read aloud when the children were younger. Let them read those same books on their own now.
- Look for "how-to," recipe and craft books with simple instructions and clear illustrations.
- Stories should feature kids (or animals) dealing with fears and feelings similar to those your own children experience.
"In Betweens" & Preteens
- Children at this age are fascinated by odd or unusual facts. Look for books with accurate information on any subject about which your child is curious.
- Books should present a variety of settings, both in time and place.
- tories should show young people actively solving problems and overcoming odds. There should be a bond of loyalty between characters.
- Look for out of the ordinary experiences, in non-fiction and fiction. Mysteries and ghost stories are popular at this age.
10 Extra Tips for Finding Books for Children of All Ages
- Have your children help select books as soon as they start indicating preferences. Let them browse in a library or bookstore and choose for themselves.
- Get to know the children's section of your local library. Children's librarians are knowledgeable about new and classic books and want to help you.
- Determine your children's interests and then help steer them towards books on their favorite subjects.
- Ask relatives and friends about books their children have enjoyed. You may even want to borrow books.
- If your son or daughter doesn't like a book, put it away. Forcing books on a child will defeat your purpose and turn reading into a battle of wills.
- Understand that your children may want to hear (or read) favorite books again and again, even after you think they've "outgrown" them.
- Look for books you will enjoy reading aloud. This will allow your enthusiasm to come through.
- Experiment. Offer variety, but above all, trust your youngster's reactions, and your own.
- Watch Ready to Learn programs like Reading Rainbow and Between the Lions to hear new stories and increase interest in books.
- Remember that you are trying to introduce your children to the pleasures of reading -- so have fun!