For Parents

How To Choose Books For Your Child


To introduce new words into your young child’s vocabulary and to bring new ideas, experiences and fun;

new books should be introduced on a regular basis while still retaining your child’s favourites.

To develop children’s interest and enthusiasm for reading, books must capture their attention,

captivate their imaginations and make them want to return to them again and again.


Get to know the children’s section of your library and ask the staff for recommendations. They work with books all day and see a lot of great titles!

  • Choose books with big, bright, colourful pictures of familiar objects.
  • Look for durable books made of cardboard, plastic or washable cloth. These books are usually small, a good size and shape for small children to handle.
  • Babies love books that appeal to their senses, books with textures, scents and sounds, made either by the book or yourself. Woof!
  • Start with stories told in short, simple sentences with pictures that explain the text.
  • Rhyming texts are fun for both you and your child. As you read aloud you will explore the rhythm of language.
  • Look for books with illustrations and photos that are clear, colourful and engaging.
  • Try simple, fun plots. The action should move quickly, so each book can be read in one sitting.
  • Choose books you can enjoy too because you will need to read it over and over again.
  • Lively rhymes and repetition will encourage children to repeat the story with you and help memory retention.
  • Don’t shy away from books that have a few harder words. If used in context these help your child’s vocabulary grow.
  • Kids love stories about everyday life and events. Reading about events that they relate to should encourage children to ask questions and explore their world. Sometimes the right book at the right time can provide reassurance such as soothing the first day of school jitters.
  • Try stories that review basic concepts, such as letters, numbers, shapes, and colours.
  • Main characters who are your child’s age or slightly older will help engage your child with the story.
  • Stories about playful animals, both real and imaginary, will also hold a child’s attention.
  • Look for clear text that is easy to read.
  • Be on the lookout for colourful, attractive illustrations and photos that bring the text to life and give clues to the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  • Find books that appeal to your child’s interests like factual books.
  • Simply worded ‘how to’ books with helpful illustrations such as craft and recipe books are brilliant ways of empowering kids to read for themselves and be constructive at the same time.
  • Follow your child’s favourite authors and illustrators because they are obviously feeling a connection with them.
  • There are also books with your child’s favourite characters whether from TV, comics or movies.
  • Reread stories your child enjoyed hearing when he or she was younger. Confidence grows as they realise they know the words.
  • Explore books that encourage discussion because talking helps kids practice their growing vocabulary. Ask questions yourself like: What do you think will happen next? or Why do you think that happened?
  • Gradually build up to reading longer stories by venturing into chapter books that can be read over several days instead of in one sitting.