” A book is a dream you hold in your hand”- Neil Gaiman
Kids love books, and I have to admit that even now as a mom I love looking at the pictures. It warms my heart each time Ezra pulls a book out of his basket and brings it over to me to read. He points to each picture and turns the page. Every animal is a “cat” and each new page is pure amazement. Reading is a wonderful habit to have with your child, it engages literacy skills and serves as an opportunity to bond. Choosing a book is easy, as there are a bajillion books out there, but choosing the RIGHT book can sometimes be difficult and overwhelming. So how do you pick the right ones?
1.Don’t purchase every book. Head to your local library to try a book on for size, then keep your library books in a special bin. Even at 1 year old Ezra has his favorites, and your child will have his too! If he or she keeps reaching for the same book, that may be a good one to purchase. New books are often not cheap, and you don’t want to waste money on one your child never reads.
2. Choose Developmentally Appropriate books (DAP)– Say what?! Your child may not be engaged with a book that isn’t appropriate for their developmental level. Too many words they don’t understand, too many words at all, or a book with too many pages are big turn offs. Help them to pick a story that won’t be too hard or too easy to read or understand.
3. Familiarize yourself with children’s lit awards– Award winning books have printed stickers on the cover. Ever see a silver circle with “Caldecott Award” but not sure what it means? Here’s a quick intro to children’s book awards:
- Caldecott Medal: Awarded for best illustration/ children’s picture book
- John Newberry Medal: Outstanding children’s literature
- Batceldor Award: Outstanding children’s literature in foreign language
To learn more visit Association for Library Service to Children
4. Read it first- Never read a book to your child you haven’t read through first. Having to explain to them why there was a naked boy on that page can get a little awkward. Reading it through first allows you to know the content, and assess if it is appropriate as a read aloud.
5. Tie it in to real life- Is there a holiday or special event coming up? Find a book that fits the theme! Get kids in the spirit of Thanksgiving with a story about the Pilgrims. Trying to teach them manners? Grab ‘Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners‘. Kids love relating to stories and having the ability to apply it to real life will help them learn even more.
6. Pick what they like- If you know your child is really into something, animals, colors, sports, use that to your advantage! Head to the library and find DAP books about what they like! If it’s something they enjoy they will be more engaged when it comes to story time.
These 6 tips are simple steps that improve child engagement. Literacy is an important skill that you have a hand in creating, so take the time to read with your child daily. Hate reading? Check your local library or book stores for story time 🙂 You are what you read, keep em reading and keep em smart.