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How to Choose Books for a Young Child

— The Parent-Child Home Program
Updated on Feb 29, 2008
Reading together is a very special activity to share with a child. With age-appropriate books, children can become enthralled with reading at a young age. Here are some ways to select books preschoolers will enjoy!
 
For 2 year olds select:
  • Books with things to touch, move and play with – pop-up, lift-the-flap and texture books.
  • Simple, short stories about familiar topics, like babies or animals.
  • Stories with repetition or rhyme, and simple colorful pictures.
  • Sturdy board books, with pages they can turn by themselves.
Three and four-year-olds have longer attention spans, and may be able to sit for 20 minutes or longer while reading and talking with you about a book. Remember that children in this age group still have difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, so while they will enjoy fantasy books, some fantasies might frighten them.
 
For these preschoolers choose:
  • Stories about things or activities that are familiar to them (a trip to the zoo, a birthday party, etc.)
  • Picture vocabulary books and alphabet books – they love to learn new words and recite their letters
  • Books about animals and adventures;
  • Funny books with riddles or jokes
  • Books with rhymes and repetition which they will often memorize and recite along with you.
  • Simple factual books, particularly for those children who have very specific interests like trucks, trains, dinosaurs, fire engines or fish.
Tips for Making Reading with A Child A Special Time:
  • Sit in a comfortable place, close to your child, or with your child on your lap. A young child will associate the warm feeling of being close to someone who loves them with the pleasure of reading.
  • Read or look at the book at a pace with which your child is comfortable.
  • Even the youngest two-year-olds enjoy selecting their own books. Let your child pick what she/he would like to read from the family collection, or go to the library and let your preschooler select books to borrow.
  • If your child does not want to be read to, don’t force the issue. Reading time should be fun, not stressful. Some children will happily enjoy having a conversation with you, or they might prefer to play a word game or enjoy making up a story with you. The oral communication and the one-on- one time are often equally valuable to looking at a book.

New & Recommended

That’s Not My Train by Fiona Watt — This is a book for very young children. The colorful pictures include patches of different textures. Babies and toddlers will love turning the pages and touching the “feely” parts of the train.
 
Where’s Rusty by Heather Amery— Help Poppy and Sam look for Rusty all over Apple Tree Farm by lifting the flaps on each double page. The hidden pictures reveal lots of surprises – and some dirty paw-marks. Adults and children, ages 2-4, will find
lots to share and talk about in this book.
 
There’s A Mouse About The House by Richard Fowler — A cardboard character takes readers on an exciting adventure as it passes through a slot on each page. Where will they go next? What will they see? As children follow the character through the
book, they are learning about the story-building process. Appropriate for ages 3-6.
 
First 100 Words in Spanish — For families that are bilingual and families that would like to be, this picture-word book contains a basic vocabulary of a hundred words in Spanish. Each double page shows a familiar scene with a row of pictures from the scene
labeled in Spanish and English. The book also includes a Spanish/English word list with a pronunciation guide. A little duck hiding on every page provides children with an activity as they explore the book and learn new words. Appropriate for ages 3 and up.
 
 
Recommended books and toys are available on our website by clicking on the Amazon.com link: www.parent-child.org
 
 
© 2002 The Parent-Child Home Program, Inc.
The Parent-Child Home Program
1415 Kellum Place, Suite 101
Garden City, New York 11530
www.parent-child.org
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