How to Choose Books

Reading check-up

Reading is a fun activity for the whole family and we use more than books. Take a look at the world around you and take the opportunity to read the words you see.

Reading is Fundamental provides “checkups” for various ages. Use these as guidelines because every child’s development is different and we want to achieve a love for reading that grows and grows. If you have concerns speak with your doctor or your child’s school.

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.

Quick Tips!

First of all… Reading is fun, not a chore and knowing how to choose good books is a skill your children will keep for the rest of their lives. Take time to show them how. There are no hard and fast rules on what your child should read just that they enjoy the experience. Encourage them to select books on their own as soon as they show preferences. You can even let them pick two kinds of books—one to read with you and one to read on their own.

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!

Birth - 2 years

  • 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 a good size and shape for small children to handle
  • Babies love books that appeal to their senses, such as fabric books, books with textures, books with 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

Ages 3 - 5

  • 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
  • Your enthusiasm for a book is important too, especially if you read it over and over again. Choose books you can enjoy too
  • 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

Ages 6 - 11

  • 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
  • Simply worded ‘how to’ books with helpful illustrations such as craft and recipe books are brilliant ways to help kids with reading while being constructive
  • Follow your child’s favorite authors and illustrators because they are obviously feeling a connection with them
  • There are also books with your child’s favorite 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
  • 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 

12 and up

  • Experiment with factual books about subjects that interest your child eg Dinosaurs, crafts, world records, sports and inventions
  • As your child matures their own life experiences are taking priority of their thoughts. Look for novels that might help your child cope with the daily challenges of growing up by featuring characters dealing with similar experiences
  • Introduce your child to books that introduce new experiences and opportunities
  • Branch out with biographies, classics, folk tales, historical fiction and mythology
  • and most importantly DON’T STOP READING WITH YOUR KIDS!!!