1. Think about age when choosing an appropriate book:
0-2 Years - Board Books
The content ranges from basic concepts to simple stories. Board books are made from hard cardboard, a durable choice for babies who like to rip pages out of books.
2-5 Years – Picture Books
Picture books are typically 32 pages long with illustrations that are integral to the story. These are often meant to be read aloud while the listener pores over the pictures. This collection includes alphabet and counting books.
5-7 Years – Readers
These are books with limited vocabulary and scattered illustrations, designed to be friendly for those learning to read on their own. These are often sent home from school as home readers.
7- 12 years – Juvenile Fiction
This is a collection of novels for children, often called chapter books.
This is mostly a popular collection, including comics and manga. The main difference between juvenile fiction and teen fiction is subject matter, not reading difficulty.
(Description from Westerville Public Library)
2. Chose the right level of difficulty: It is important to find the right level, so your child feels challenged, but not frustrated.
* Try using “The 5-finger rule” when choosing the level of difficulty. Open a book to a random page and have your child read the page. If they struggle with 4-5 words on the page, then it is probably too difficult for them.
3. Teach your child how to pick the right book: You cannot always be there to choose the book for your child, so it is important to teach them how to be independent.
Encourage your child to ask these questions:
* Is it interesting?
* Can I read most of the words and understand what they mean (only have trouble with 2-3 words on the page)?
* Can I retell what happened in the story to someone?
4. Find out where to look: Traditionally, we would just go to a library and this is still a great option. Librarians and teacher-librarians have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to choosing books for your child. This may be difficult during this time of COVID 19, when many libraries have been shut down. The internet is also a wonderful option and there are many online resources, like Reading Eggs and Wushka for parents to explore levelled readers for their school-age children. These websites also offer pre-tests to gauge what level to start your child on.
5. Do your research: You may want to try reading a national favourite? These books were voted the top 10 favourites in the nation if you wanted to try one of these (obviously it depends on your child’s age):