Selecting Books for Young Children
Infants and Toddlers
Preschoolers enjoy books that have a lot of actions, pictures and repetitions, and stories about themselves or other children their age. They like to hear the same book over and over again. While this may seem tiresome to the reader, it is very beneficial to the child's learning. Select books that are quality literature. A good variety of books from different genres is also important such as wordless, participation, fairy tale, picture books, and predictable books. Preschoolers like:
- Real life stories (fire engines, animals, weather, bulldozers, seasons, tractors, etc.)
- Stories about what animals really do and what people think animals mean by their sounds (e.g., "Cut-cut-cut-ca-daw-cut! I just laid and egg!"
- Repetition of sounds, words or ideas ("Daddy Bear climbed the tree. Mommy Bear climbed the tree. Baby Bear climbed the tree.")
- Stories containing funny-sounding words ("Bzzz went the honey bee." "Clickety clack, clickety clack went the train along the track." "The farmer walked through the snow - crunch, crunch, crunch.")
- Stories that can be read in 5-10 minutes with one or two printed lines on the page.
- Stories with happy endings.
- Books with pictures that almost tell the story:
- Large, colored pictures with little writing
- Pictures showing real-life objects and situations that children readily recognize
- Pictures in color, with few shadows, details, and lines
- Pictures showing action, especially in books for children over 2 ½ year olds (cars racing, animals playing, children climbing)
- It is best not to show books with pictures depictinging actions you do not want children to imitate, such as fighting or breaking toys.
Additional Resource Books for Selecting Books
Many resources can help you make informed choices for quality literature. These include recommended book lists, teachers, school and public librarians, and book sellers. Suggested resource books that can be found at the library or book store include:
Books Kids Will Sit Still For by Judy Freeman
Choosing Books for Children: A Common Sense Guide by Betsy Hearne
How to Choose Good Books for Kids by Kate H. McMullan
The New Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Read to Me:Raising Kids Who Love to Read by Bernice E. Cullinun
The New York Times Parent Guide to the Best Books for Children by Eden Ross Lipson
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