How to Choose the Right Book for Your Child

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As a parent, it can be rather hard to find the right books for your children, books that are not too difficult to read but also not too easy. It can be tricky to balance both, your child’s reading level as well as their interests. Here’s how you can identify the right book for your kids…

Consider Your Child's Age

Naturally, your child’s age will dictate (to a large extent) what books are appropriate for them. As a general rule of thumb…

  • Infants and toddlers: Books with lots of colourful pictures, familiar everyday objects, short and simple sentences, and poems/rhymes are the best.
  • Pre-schoolers: Colourful illustrations, stories that encourage thinking and questioning, animals, and fast-paced (but simple) stories are recommended.
  • Young readers: ‘How-to’ books, books that invite discussion, stories with multiple characters, books with your child’s favourite characters, etc.
  • Young adults (adolescents): Books about characters who are the same age as your child having similar experiences, fact/trivia books, books about your child’s interest area (cars, trains, music, magic, drawing etc.), classics and biographies.

PICK Method

A fairly common method of identifying appropriate books for kids is the PICK method which considers four factors:

  • Purpose: What is the purpose of reading the book? Learning or fun/entertainment?
  • Interest: What interests does your child have? Ask your child what s/he wants to read about. Once you narrow down a specific interest, shop around across categories. For example, if trains interest your child, encourage him/her to pick up books from the fiction genre but also non-fiction such as history of trains, design and construction etc.
  • Comprehend: Can your child understand most of the words and think about what s/he is reading? Can s/he have a meaningful conversation with you about the book’s content and topic?
  • Knowing words: Have your child read the second page of the book and hold up one finger for every word they don’t understand. If there are five or more words that s/he doesn’t understand, your child isn’t ready for that book yet.

Find out for Yourself

Many parents will read (or skim) a book themselves to determine if it’s appropriate for their children. So, go ahead, pick up the latest children’s best sellers for kids and see if you think your child is ready for it.

Kids who read all year long have better learning outcomes and develop stronger communication/comprehension skills. However, kids will discover the joy of reading only when they're reading the right books for their age and reading level. Keep in mind also that every child is unique and that some kids will be able to read above or below the recommended reading level. 

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